Browse Definitions :
Definition

distributed control system (DCS)

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

A distributed control system (DCS) is a digital automated industrial control system (ICS) that uses geographically distributed control loops throughout a factory, machine or control area. Unlike a centralized control system that operates all machines, a DCS allows each section of a machine to have its own dedicated controller that runs the operation. A DCS has several local controllers located throughout the area that are connected by a high-speed communication network. While each controller works autonomously, there is central supervisory control run by an operator.

DCS are used to control industrial processes and increase their safety, cost-effectiveness and reliability.

DCS are commonly used in serval processes, including:

  • Agriculture
  • Chemical plants
  • Petrochemical (oil) and refineries
  • Nuclear power plants
  • Water treatment plants
  • Sewage treatment plants
  • Food processing
  • Automobile manufacturing
  • Pharmaceutical manufacturing

A DCS includes both software and hardware elements. Installation costs are minimized by the simplicity of local installation with most controllers. Reliability is improved by onsite, low-latency automated control; human oversight is enabled for central control functions and remote control options. Individual processes have their own controllers with separate CPUs, so other processes can continue in an individual failure situation, unlike a central controller system.

A DCS is functionally similar to today’s supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA). SCADA is also used in power plants, oil and gas refining, telecommunications, transportation, and water and waste control. SCADA tend to be used in situations where the control center is more remotely located.

Other ICS technologies include industrial automation and control systems (IACS), programmable logic controllers (PLCs), programmable automation controllers (PACs), remote terminal units (RTUs), control servers, intelligent electronic devices (IEDs) and sensors.

This was last updated in September 2017

Continue Reading About distributed control system (DCS)

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • compliance framework

    A compliance framework is a structured set of guidelines that details an organization's processes for maintaining accordance with...

  • regulatory compliance

    Regulatory compliance is an organization's adherence to laws, regulations, guidelines and specifications relevant to its business...

  • privacy compliance

    Privacy compliance is a company's accordance with established personal information protection guidelines, specifications or ...

SearchSecurity

SearchHealthIT

  • telemedicine (telehealth)

    Telemedicine is the remote delivery of healthcare services, such as health assessments or consultations, over the ...

  • Project Nightingale

    Project Nightingale is a controversial partnership between Google and Ascension, the second largest health system in the United ...

  • medical practice management (MPM) software

    Medical practice management (MPM) software is a collection of computerized services used by healthcare professionals and ...

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • crisis management plan (CMP)

    A crisis management plan (CMP) outlines how to respond to a critical situation that would negatively affect an organization's ...

  • disaster recovery (DR) test

    A disaster recovery test (DR test) is the examination of each step in a disaster recovery plan as outlined in an organization's ...

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

SearchStorage

  • kilobyte (KB or Kbyte)

    A kilobyte (KB or Kbyte) is a unit of measurement for computer memory or data storage used by mathematics and computer science ...

  • megabytes per second (MBps)

    Megabytes per second (MBps) is a unit of measurement for data transfer speed to and from a computer storage device.

  • zettabyte

    A zettabyte is a unit of measurement used by technology professionals and the general public to describe a computer or other ...

Close