An HMI Conversion Project - Quincy Washington
Patti Perspective
January 2019

Hi there,

Happy 2019!

Software conversions can be a huge, complicated undertaking.  This month, we're featuring a Rockwell to Siemens HMI conversion with a few tips to make the process simpler.

In our spotlight, meet Quincy Washington.  Quincy is a bright new engineering star who just celebrated his first year at Patti Engineering.

Feature Article
Rockwell to Siemens HMI Conversion
Rockwell to Siemens HMI Conversion

Article written with Joe Palace, Senior Electrical Engineer

Control Conversions happen all of the time when new tooling is replaced in plants. Cost is always a factor when the type of control platform is selected. Creating a clear plan and using the available features on TIA Portal will help to alleviate some of the stress when considering a Rockwell to Siemens PLC/HMI conversion.

The Challenge

A machine builder received an order from a customer in Germany.  The machine had been built on Rockwell/Allen Bradley for previous customers.  In the European facility, the control standard and architecture was Siemens, not Rockwell.

Our task was to recreate the existing screens with almost identical functionality on a totally different controls platform – Siemens TIA Portal 15.

The Process

The reference project used for conversion was built on a Rockwell RS View Studio platform. This reference project had many screens, recipes, and many macros controlling these screens. It was an application that had been well developed - many man hours went into the original development of this program.

Each screen was virtually picked apart and re-created with Siemens TIA Portal. Using the full toolbox available within Siemens TIA Portal made process more manageable. Rockwell multi-state indicator control tools were replaced with Siemens animation and event tools like text and graphic lists and user defined process tags.

No macros were created for this conversion. Having well-defined structured tags, transparent to the PLC and HMI, the PLC would determine which button was clicked or which event took place and make the decision to properly display the correct information on the HMI display. Most of the screens were developed in this conversion with the intent of being modular, saving development time. For instance, the data would only change if a different station or carriage was selected.


In doing a project like this,

  • Plan with the Full Picture. Make a good attempt in getting a complete understanding of the application
  • Re-create what can be re-created
  • Use Tools. Take advantage of the HMI tools and functions available in TIA Portal, such as:
    • PLC and HMI tag utilization
    • Text and graphic list capability
  • Think Efficiency when developing an HMI program. Customization is okay but modular is better!
  • Consider Replication. Make it so this project can be used again and again on other projects. A well-built HMI program with templated screens will save hours of development time in the end.

To discuss your conversion needs, 

Quincy Washington

Quincy Washington

Quincy Washington recently celebrated just his first anniversary at Patti Engineering, but he is already making an impression.

“Quincy has found his place at Patti and hit the ground running.  His strong ability to take his technical expertise and pair it with his applicable view of automation has been noticed by his Patti Engineering colleagues and customers.”

Quincy graduated from Michigan Technological University with a degree in Electrical Engineering Technology and a minor in Data Acquisition and Industrial Controls.

In the last few months, he has had the opportunity to apply both aspects of his collegiate focus.  One recent project was data-focused; he worked on storing data for actuators for exhaust assemblies.  Another project was more controls-focused.  Quincy removed most of the obsolete equipment in a sorting facility and replaced it with Siemens control systems.

“Here at Patti Engineering I’ve had a great variety of control systems as well as different industry environments,” Quincy said. “It definitely helps make me more versatile in different situations.”

Based out of our Auburn Hills office, he has tackled projects involving a variety of control systems and data acquisition including Siemens, Allen Bradley, Wonderware, SQL, Schmersal, Red Lion and several others.

Originally from Michigan, Quincy grew up with two older brothers and a younger sister who all live in the area. Quincy is a sports fan, following the North Carolina Panthers and the Golden State Warriors fan. He also enjoys playing competitive video games and pick-up games of football.


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Georgia Whalen

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