AS-Interface software for troubleshooting and testing has been around for years, but new licensed versions are now available. This licensing is primarily due to additional software, which is included and added to the suite, and easily pushes new software fixes directly to the consumer. All new software licenses come with free lifetime software upgrades. The old software can still be used and is still supported, but the software revision is frozen. Any new gateway produced will be supported only with the new software.
There are two software packages to consider purchasing. The first is for diagnostic and testing, and the second is for safety. The safety software also includes all components of the diagnostics and testing suite plus a safety software simulator.
VAZ-SW-DIAGNOSTIC – Software for testing and troubleshooting an AS-Interface system. Will connect to all AS-Interface gateways and masters from Pepperl+Fuchs.
VAZ-SW-SUITE – Safety programming software for all safety monitors and gateways with built-in safety monitor. Also includes the above diagnostic software.
Each item is good for a single-user license. When installing the software, connect to the internet and enter the purchased coupon code. Licensing is then completely controlled by the license manager program on your PC. This program can’t be installed on any other computer.
There are 30-day trials available to anyone who asks. There are no restrictions with this software, and it has the full functionality of the purchased version. It just stops working after 30 days. Contact anyone in our Pepperl+Fuchs applications group for details and download instructions.
Control Tools – This is a software package that has been around for years. It is used to set addresses, read error counters, and visualize the entire network layout. You can also use it to set outputs, read inputs, configure the power-up and current parameters, and configure the AS-Interface master. All features that can be completed on the graphical display and keypad can be done here in this software as well.
Software for diagnostics, service and approval measurements – This is a great tool to use at the end of the AS-Interface installation. It takes a complete picture of your AS-Interface network including a list of configured addresses, slave profiles, firmware revisions of all components, and error counters. The software also runs for a specific length of time while the machine is running. This checks the network health and generates a report. This report is critical in making sure your customer didn’t make unauthorized changes to your network. If you have to come back on a service call, it proves to upper management that the system was running during the sign-off stage of the machine build.
ASIMON – This is the safety programming software that easily programs all of your safety monitors on the network. It is a universal software package that connects to monitors over USB, Ethernet, or RS232. It is programmed using a function-block style graphical interface. All components are dragged and dropped on to the active window creating the program. See Figure 1. Once completed, the software is downloaded and monitored live. The live view makes it easy to find programming and wiring mistakes and to test out your system. Because many gateways are programmed over Ethernet, the software can be used remotely from offsite to make last-minute changes based on customer feedback.
Figure 1: Simple safety program with one e-stop, one start button controlling a safety contactor
ASIMON (service) – This is the same software as the normal ASIMON software except no changes can be made to the program. It is designed to be used by a maintenance person or service technician who wants to view and troubleshoot the installation but is not authorized to make safety program changes.
Safety Monitor Simulator – This is a great new tool that allows the user to work out any software bugs without ever downloading to a real safety monitor. It creates a simulated AS-Interface network that allows you to force inputs and outputs and even simulate a single safety contact opening. Before this software was available, working the bugs out required all safety nodes to be connected to a working AS-Interface network in the released state (e-stops pulled up, light curtains not blocked, safety gateways closed…). This can be difficult when you are first starting up a machine because of the possibility of wiring errors, non-connected inputs, open gates, and blocked light curtains. This frequently happens during machine set up because the install crew is busy getting everything mounted and ready to go.
Availability and group pricing
Once ordered, the software license is handed out immediately over the phone or via email. You don’t have to wait for any special software packages to arrive by mail. The pricing is per license, but if a large amount of licenses are required, please contact Pepperl+Fuchs for group discounts. Instead of having only one PC for safety programming just buy a license for all your programmers.