Does Virtual Commissioning Make Sense for Your Business?

By Stephanie Aldrete

Picture1There are not many industries in which businesses can simulate processes in a virtual environment in order to validate their thinking. Manufacturing is one such lucky industry through the process of virtual commissioning. Virtual commissioning is the practice of replicating the behavior of a physical manufacturing environment with a software system.  The ultimate goal of the emulation is to provide an environment for the manufacturing automation controls engineer to validate their PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) ladder logic and HMI (Human Machine Interface) files prior to system debug in the manufacturing production environment.

Five Important Facts about Virtual Commissioning   Picture2                                                             

  1. Virtual Commissioning is not limited for a specific industry or manufacturing branch. In fact, any manufacturer can benefit from it. Whenever a company builds manufacturing systems or lines with a certain level of automation complexity, virtual commissioning should be considered. A successful virtual commissioning project is one that brings tangible savings in engineering effort and in physical commissioning time.

  2. The return on investment is great. It is possible to achieve reductions in total engineering time for office and shop floor, in the amount of shop floor errors, in the amount of tested safety failures, in waste of prototype parts, and reductions in time to production volume and its economic benefits.

  3. There are many benefits to virtual commissioning the most of which is the ability to debug PLC code in a virtual environment before downloading it to real equipment. By simulating and validating automation equipment virtually, one can confirm that they will work as expected and significantly reduce system startup time. Manufacturers who have used virtual commissioning have reported reductions in engineering time by as much as 30 percent. .

  4. When selecting a virtual commissioning solution, a very important factor to consider is its reliable collision detection support (clash avoidance).

  5. When selecting your virtual commissioning software partner, look for those that are able to provide a great software tool with high-fidelity graphic performance, real-life signal-based simulation, reliable collision detection and strong discrete event simulation capabilities.

To learn more about virtual commissioning, read Siemens’, “Virtual Commissioning, A Practical Guide.”

Looking for solutions?  We can help.  Read Tecnomatix Virtual Commissioning solutions.


You are invited to the Plant Simulation Worldwide User Conference, June 15 – 17, 2015, Stuttgart, Germany. The 2014 Plant Simulation Worldwide User Conference was one of the most successful events in Plant Simulation discrete event simulation history! Participants from 17 nations joined the event to share the experiences of their daily work, exotic use cases, and tips on how to increase modeling speed and efficiency using Plant Simulation. This year’s conference is poised to deliver once again. You can learn more about the conference here.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at