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3 min read

Big changes to PCS7 could affect your system (business?)

PCS7 is Siemens’ flagship DCS system and since its release a couple decades ago it has evolved to meet the changing needs of users in the process and manufacturing spaces. If you have a PCS7 DCS, Siemens recently announced two big changes that may affect your installed system. One of the changes affects the software side of PCS7, and the other affects the hardware.

PCS7 imageThe first change relates to Siemens' support of older versions of PCS7. Currently Versions 8.2(2016), 9.0 (2017) and 9.1 (2021) are within Siemens Support. Prior to the release of PCS7 version 10, anticipated to be in Q1/Q2 2024, versions 8.2 and 9.0 of PCS7 will be transitioned into Legacy Support at the end of Q3 2023. It is important to note that this date will come before the release of Version 10. What this means is that customers who maintain legacy versions of PCS7 will require what is known as a Legacy System Services (LSS) contract to receive Siemens technical support for their PCS7 system. The alternative to purchasing and maintaining a yearly LSS contract is to modernize your PCS7 from a legacy version to a supported version. Siemens offers a Software Update Service (SUS) contract, which is a yearly paid subscription tailored to your specific PCS7 system(s) which entitles you to all upgrade licenses necessary for your system(s).  The one caveat is that to purchase an SUS agreement for your system(s), you must own licensure for the most recent major version of PCS7 for your system(s), which is currently 9.1. See the following links for more information from Siemens on the PCS7 Versions 9.0 and 8.2 phase out timeline and specific software affected.

The second change relates to supported I/O hardware going forward. Siemens has announced that phase out for the ET200M family of I/O devices will begin in October of 2023. The ET200M family of I/O were the flagship family of I/O module for the PCS7 system until the release of ET200SP HA and PCS7 version 9.0. Step 7, the foundation of PCS7, was released in 1995. At that time and until the release of the ET200SP HA family of IO, the ET200M family of IO was the most installed family of IO in the Step7 (and PCS7) family. Siemens has defined a retirement timeline where customers may continue to acquire new ET200M modules for new installation through 2025, and customers will be able to continue procuring spare parts for an additional 8 years through October of 2033. Siemens has additionally defined a hardware migration offering to migrate from ET200M to ET200SP HA I/O while maintaining your field IO wiring. You can work with your Siemens distributor or your Siemens Solution Partner to map out the upgrade path.

Depending upon the specifics of your PCS7 installation, the ability to perform the hardware migration may be intertwined with your PCS7 version. As stated above, support of ET200SP HA began in PCS7 version 9.0 meaning that any systems looking to upgrade the hardware, but currently based in PCS7 version 8.2 or below must be migrated to 9.0 at a minimum. It is recommended that any system being migrated be moved to the latest versions of PCS7. One of the many benefits of doing so is to ensure that the most up to date operating systems are provided for the upgraded system. To see more information pertaining to the benefits of migrating your ET200M hardware and resources and tools to help you plan your migration, follow this link.

ACE is a Siemens Process Automation Solution Provider and has a long history of PCS7 software and hardware modernization. To see more about how ACE is able to help you on your PCS7 modernization journey, click here.