Advantages and disadvantages of DCS

A distributed control system(DCS) serves as an industrial facility central nervous system. It is a central computer that independently and in real-time controls the various subsystems, situated throughout a facility. DCS is very useful for regulating complicated processes or big continuous production operations where top-down control coordination is critical for efficiency. In this article, you will learn the advantages and disadvantages of DCS(distributed control systems).

Related article: PLC Vs DCS

Advantages of the DCS system

  • DCS allocates flexibility and simplicity by allowing central control
  • DCS is scalable
  • Individual component and process monitoring and reporting
  • Possible to control through dynamic graphic
  • Eliminating human error by logging data
  • The alarm system can be regrouped
  • Complex computation, analysis, etc. Can be carried out easily
  • Operator action can be logged, thereby eliminating confusion
  • Hardcopy provides the actual dynamic printing at a certain time
  • The data is presented in a systematic way, allowing for a simple comparison of various factors and decision-making by a printer.
  • Management information can be generated at regular intervals
  • The superimposed trends help in the analysis of plant parameters 
  • The controlling software utilized is extremely basic and the application is easy the software modified in one unit has no effect on other units and consequently the system becomes very flexible.
  • DCS are frequently modular in design, making it simple to maintain, update, or replace system components.
  • DCS can be easily integrated with other systems, such as SCADA systems, PLCs, and MES systems, to provide a compressive control and monitoring solution
Related article: SCADA VS DCS

Disadvantages of the DCS system

  • Failure of one controller affects more than one loop
  • DCS required skilled operators because the all information hidden behind CRT
  • DCSs may not have advanced data visualization capabilities, which can make it difficult to analyze and understand process data
  • In an emergency, decisions have to be taken single-handedly as few operators are there in the control room
  • When one controller fails, it impacts more than one loop. As a result, it necessitates a high MTBF (mean time between failures) and a high level of redundancy.
  • Certain DCS have restricted mobility, which might make remote access and control problematic
  • Some DCS have limited scalability which can make it difficult to expand the system as the process grows
  • DCSs are vulnerable to cyber attacks, which can cause the system to malfunction or shut down
  • DCSs can be expensive to purchase, install and maintain
  • DCSs may be complicated systems with several components, making them challenging to comprehend and run
  • DCSs require specialized training to operate and maintain, which can be costly
  • DCSs rely on networks to communicate between controller and servers, if the network goes down the entire system will not work
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