– Virtual environment improves the efficiency of control program debugging –
Yokogawa Electric Corporation (TOKYO: 6841) announces that it has developed Virtual-M3, a simulation software tool for the Yokogawa FA-M3V range-free multi-controller, and is releasing it on this date. With this simulation software, a virtual debugging environment can be established on a PC to debug application control programs for the FA-M3V without having to use an actual multi-controller and I/O devices.
Yokogawa’s FA-M3V range-free multi-controller is a high-performance programmable controller (PLC) that can be mounted on the various types of equipment used to assemble electronic products and components and in the equipment used to produce semiconductor devices.
Manufacturers of production equipment have been striving to develop products with functions that will allow their end users to increase efficiency on production lines. As ever more sensors and other types of devices are mounted on this equipment, the more sophisticated a PLC control program must become. Normally, the debugging of such control programs requires the use of a PLC, target devices, and a PC, and is a very time consuming process. Equipment manufacturers want to improve the efficiency of this debugging process so that they can bring products to market more quickly. In response, Yokogawa has developed a simulation software tool that can establish a virtual debugging environment on a PC and perform the same sort of simulations that in the past have required the use of the actual hardware.
1. Dynamic I/O generator
Virtual-M3 constructs a debugging environment that consists of a virtual CPU module and virtual I/O modules. The former simulates the behavior of the CPU module on an actual FA-M3V unit and the latter reproduces the behavior of the I/O modules on the FA-M3V and the target devices. Without having to use the actual devices, Virtual-M3 performs the same kind of simulations done using the conventional debugging technique. Thus, this simulation software is ideal for developing new equipment. Also, there is no need to shut down the actual equipment to debug their control programs or conduct failure analyses.
2. Link with HMI software
When debugging control programs for the FA-M3V, Virtual-M3’s virtual CPU can be linked with the application software for the HMIs of programmable indicating controllers and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) software. The programmable indicating controller software can also be debugged in this configuration.
3. Step operation
Using a step operation function, Virtual-M3 can perform debugging operations that are impossible using conventional debugging techniques that require the actual hardware. These operations include running repeated tests on selected program segments; the execution of command, circuit, and scan operations one step at a time; and the skipping or restarting of programs.
4. Real-time monitoring of program execution
Yokogawa offers the WideField3 program development tool for writing, debugging, and managing FA-M3V applications. WideField3 now supports Virtual-M3 and Windows®10, the latest version of the Windows operating system. Using both Virtual-M3 and WideField3 with Live Logic Analyzer, which is a near real-time logic analysis function, it is possible to display data showing the status of a PLC program as it runs on a sequence CPU module. This improves work efficiency by enabling engineers to monitor a program’s execution status while they collect the program execution data.
About the FA-M3 Series
In September 1989, Yokogawa entered the PLC market with the FA500 mid- to large-range model. In December 1992, Yokogawa introduced the FA-M3 range-free controller series to cover the full range, from small to large, and the latest FA-M3V was released in November 2010. (The V is from the French word vitesse, which means speed.)
Yokogawa’s global network of 114 companies spans 59 countries. Founded in 1915, the US$3.7 billion company engages in cutting-edge research and innovation. Yokogawa is active in the industrial automation and control (IA), test and measurement, and aviation and other businesses segments. The IA segment plays a vital role in a wide range of industries including oil, chemicals, natural gas, power, iron and steel, pulp and paper, pharmaceuticals, and food. For more information about Yokogawa, please visit http://www.yokogawa.com/za
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