Sometimes I have been asked the question if zenon compatibility is something like a dedicated feature that I have to kind of “switch on” or consider in the design of my projects?
The straightforward answer is “No”. Compatibility is something deeply integrated into the zenon Product Family. Any zenon user automatically profits from it.
There is only one possible project property a use can choose: “Create RT Files for”.
Per default the zenon Runtime Compiler is set to the actual Editor version. But any user of a zenon Editor can choose to compile the loaded project for a specific, older, zenon Runtime version. The Compiler then automatically compiles zenon Runtime files which can be loaded by older runtime systems. The advantage for the engineer is obvious. He gains the possibility to always use the latest Editor version with latest engineering features and there is no need to install / maintain different versions of the engineering tool. Use of the Compiler guarantees that even features that are not available in an older Runtime version are not causing any problems in the old Runtime. The worst thing that could happen is that a screen element, for example, is not visible in the old version. Other than that the engineer has nothing else to consider when designing his HMI / SCADA applications. The rest is done automatically by zenon and works backwards to zenon version 6.20 SP4.
COPA-DATA also offers a concept for the Runtime compatibility. This is also a built-in feature and nothing the user has to configure. The zenon Runtime system in a client server structure can use different runtime versions. For example, the Server and Client Runtime versions can be different. A zenon Server can be updated to the latest zenon Version 7.10, while the Clients remains on the “old” zenon 6.51. The user obtains full flexibility to choose which technology is installed in his facility. A mixture of versions on different clients is also possible – the zenon Runtime Servers will talk to all of them. Again, the zenon Runtime automatically regulates that only items / data are communicated that is fitting to the client version. This is nothing that needs to be considered while engineering the HMI / SCADA application. The only recommendation COPA-DATA gives is that both Servers (Main & Standby Server) run the same zenon versions to ensure the data integrity.
In terms of Network Compatibility there is one restriction to consider. Since version 7, zenon is one of the few systems that is already supporting and addressing IPV6 based IT networks. It is possible to activate an IPV6 based communication for all the zenon Servers and Clients in the zenon startup tool.
The restriction to consider is: A mixture of IPV4 and IPV6 based Clients or Servers within one zenon network architecture is not possible. That means that all the communication within one zenon network must follow one technology. Either IPV4 or IPV6. Also important to know: up until now there are no PLC’s that support IPV6 that we are aware of, so PLC communication is still based on IPV4.