SCADA Vs DCS | Difference | Comparison

If you work with an enterprise-level network for industrial automation, you have probably heard of supervisory control and data acquisition(SCADA) systems and Distributed control systems (DCS). If you are evaluating which system is best for your monitoring project, it is important to know the similarities and differences between them. So, what are the differences between SCADA and DCS? To answer that question let's look back to the fundamentals of both systems. Let's look at some aspects of SCADA and DCS systems and analyses both similarities and differences between them. Continue reading of this article, we compare SCADA Vs DCA systems to determine which is best for your needs.

What is SCADA?

SCADA is an acronym that stands for supervisory control and data acquisition. SCADA is a software and hardware-based system that allows industrial companies to interface directly with equipment such as sensors, valves, pumps, motors, and others using HMI software. SCADA systems are used to regulate and monitor physical processes such as electricity transmission, gas, and transportation in pipelines, water distribution, traffic lights, and other systems that support contemporary civilization.

Related article: Arduino vs Raspberry Pi

What is DCS?

DCS stands for Distributed control system. DCS refers to a control system for processes or facilities such as chemical plants, power plants, water management systems, and so on. DCS does this by incorporating a variety of autonomous controllers distributed throughout a network.  Although there is no central supervisory control in this distributed network, high-speed network connectivity allows for the linking of numerous controllers.

Related article: PLC Vs DCS

SCADA Vs DCS | Difference between SCADA and DCS:

  • SCADA stands for supervisory control and data acquisition. While DCS stands for Distributed control system.
  • SCADA is data gathering oriented. DCS is processed-oriented.
  • SCADA systems are more adaptable. DCS systems are more integrated and capable of higher-level tasks.
  • SCADA system is event-driven. DCS is a process state driven.
  • DCS comprises one or more controllers that are utilized to apply advanced process control techniques. Whereases SCADA systems are unable to do so.
  • SCADA is software that integrates with multiple PLCs and RTU for controlling and monitoring purposes. While DCS is dedicated to solutions providing for large and complex process industries.
  • DCS is a process control technology that links sensors, processors, operator interfaces, and actuators via a network. A DCS usually has one or more processors for control and communication using proprietary linkage and protocol, Whereas SCADA stands for human-machine interface. SCADA sensors are used to monitor and control chemical, physical, and technological processes.
  • Redundancy is possible in the SCADA system. While in the DCS system redundancy is possible at every level
  • In the SCADA system is multiple vendors available in the market. In DCS software is provided only by the DCS vendor company.
  • The implementation cost of the SCADA System is higher than PLC but lower than the DCS system. 
  • Complex control strategies are implemented in the SCADA system. While in DCS complex and more advanced control strategies are implemented.
  • In the  SCADA system advanced and fostered communication structures are used. While in the DCS system advanced and complex communication is used with high-speed communication.
Thank you for reading this article. Still, if you have any questions or queries in your mind on SCADA VS DCS then please ask us in the comment section below.