A digitally controlled system is a radically novel concept that emerged in the industrial sector around the mid-1970s. Digital controls come with many benefits, but the risk is too high. In case of a hardware or software malfunction, the entire operation might halt. A digital control System (DCS) addresses this dire concern by having multiple control systems. Wherein each one is responsible for a few PID loops. These control systems are distributed throughout the facility and connected to share data and display it on the operator consoles.

Understanding Distributed Control System (DCS system)

A DCS system can be described as a process plant in which controllers controlling certain operations are distributed throughout the facility. A DCS is used to combine several features into one automated system. These features are Human machine interface (HMI), logic solvers, a common database, alarm management and a common engineering suite.

Distributed control panels allow each section in a facility to be operated by a dedicated controller. It has many local controllers throughout a facility and is connected by a high-speed communication network, allowing for a quick and efficient communication chain among these DCS systems. Though each controller works autonomously, there is still a central supervisory that an operator controls. These control systems are employed in many industrial fields, such as food processing industries, nuclear power plants, water management plants etc. DCS is best suited for large-scale processing or manufacturing plants that require monitoring and managing many continuous control loops. The benefit of separating control jobs for distributed controllers is that if any component of the DCS fails, the plant can still run regardless of the failed section.

Data acquisition and control operations in a DCS control system are performed by a series of DCS controllers, which are microprocessor-based units spread functionally and geographically throughout the plant and located near areas where control or data-gathering duties are done.

The Structure of a DCS System

A DCS has three main characteristics: The first is the distribution of several control units; these are semiautonomous and are interconnected through a high-speed communication channel. The second feature of DCS is the automation of production processes through advanced control techniques. The third attribute is the organization of things as a system. The DCS system arranges the entire control structure as a single automation system, with disparate subsystems unified by a correct command structure and information flow.

The engineering workstation of a DCS system is a supervisory controller over the entire DCS system. This workstation can be in the form of a PC or any other computer installed with dedicated engineering software. The primary function of an engineering station is to offer powerful configuration tools that allow engineers to perform several functions, such as making changes in the sequential and continuous control logic, creating new loops, etc.

What Makes DCS Different From SCADA?

SCADA and DCS are made for monitoring and control mechanisms in industrial installations, but their goals differ. There are many similarities between a SCADA and a DCS system regarding hardware and other components. But there are some major differences as well; for example, DCS is process-oriented software, whereas SCADA is a data gathering software.

Distributed Control System for a Streamlined Process

DCS systems can make the life of a user much easier by streamlining several processes; one feature that makes DCS systems better than other digital control is that it has multiple control systems, which does not risk the overall operation. If you want to install an efficient DCS system in your facility, you should contact some leading service providers.