The distributed control system (DCS) is a specially designed automated control system consisting of geographical control elements distributed in the plant or control area.
It differs from a centralized control system where a central controller controls the control function, but in DCS each element or process machine or machine group is controlled by a specific controller. DCS consists of a large number of local controller at various parts of the plant control area and is connected through high-speed communication networks.
In the DCS control system, the acquisition and data control functions are carried out through several DCS controllers whose microprocessor based units are distributed functional and geographically over the plant and are located near the area where the control or data collection function is carried out. These controllers can communicate between them as well as with other controller such as supervisory terminals, operator terminals, historians, etc.
Distributed automatic controllers are connected to terrain devices such as sensors and actuators. This controller ensures the sharing of data collected to other hierarchical controllers via different field buses. Different field buses or standard communication protocols are used to establish communication between controllers. Some of them include Profibus, HART, arc net, Modbus, etc.
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