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

  • Whistleblower Protection Act

    The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 is a law that protects federal government employees in the United States from ...

  • smart contract

    A smart contract, also known as a cryptocontract, is a computer program that directly controls the transfer of digital currencies...

  • risk map (risk heat map)

    A risk map, also known as a risk heat map, is a data visualization tool for communicating specific risks an organization faces. A...

SearchSecurity

  • buffer underflow

    Buffer underflow, also known as buffer underrun or buffer underwrite, is a threat to data that typically occurs when the ...

  • digital signature

    A digital signature is a mathematical technique used to validate the authenticity and integrity of a message, software or digital...

  • denial-of-service attack

    A denial-of-service attack is a security event that occurs when an attacker prevents legitimate users from accessing specific ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • virtual disaster recovery

    Virtual disaster recovery is a type of DR that typically involves replication and allows a user to fail over to virtualized ...

  • tabletop exercise (TTX)

    A tabletop exercise (TTX) is a disaster preparedness activity that takes participants through the process of dealing with a ...

  • risk mitigation

    Risk mitigation is a strategy to prepare for and lessen the effects of threats faced by a data center.

SearchStorage

  • secondary storage

    Secondary storage is storage for noncritical data that does not need to be frequently accessed.

  • Pure Storage

    Pure Storage is a provider of enterprise data flash storage solutions designed to substitute for electromechanical disk arrays.

  • yobibyte (YiB)

    A yobibyte (YiB) is a unit of measure used to describe data capacity as part of the binary system of measuring computing and ...

Close