What is DCS?

A Distributed Control System (DCS) is an automated control system that monitors and provides instructions to different parts of a machine. Commonly used in manufacturing equipment, a DCS utilizes input and output protocols to control distributed equipment. DCS systems are commonly used in process industries controlling breweries, refineries, chemical plants, paper mills, etc.  The elements of a DCS may connect directly to physical equipment, such as controllers, historians and to Human Machine Interface (HMI) via SCADA.

The different types of DCS include:

  • Conventional DCS: a pure “process-only” control system. Typically purchased from one vendor and arranged into categories; small, medium and large.
  • PLC-based DCS: a network of PLCs used to perform the task of conventional DCS and programmable functionality when required.
  • Hybrid DCS: Performs both process and sequential control.
  • Open DCS System: A Field-Bus control. Advantages include: low wiring costs, less failure, lower expansion costs and multi-vendor interoperability. DCS and can be more interconnected.

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