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DCS: Centralized Control For Complex Plant Processes

Mike Jeffries | May 9, 2018

Mader Electric

Centralizing control and monitoring of complex processes in varying geographical locations, as well as throughout a large complex plant, such as a nuclear power facility, for one example, is the mission of the Distributed Control System, or DCS. DCS provides the highest system availability using network control elements which are distributed strategically throughout the plant or network to provide redundancy and advanced control.

Related Blog: What is the Difference Between SCADA and DCS Systems? 

Distributed Control Systems go beyond the limited decision-making logic of PLCs (Programmable Logic Controls). DCS is a configuration suite which includes setting up of the database, control logic programming, graphics for human operator interface, as well as system security. Controllers and distributed input/output devices operate through a redundant communications network connecting operating and engineering stations with graphics displays for data monitoring and logging, as well as control and alarming functions.

DCS Scalability and Versatility

DCS systems are capable of running system diagnostics and they are scalable and can be added to as needed to meet expanding plant demands. Control logic is programmable and easily changed or adapted when new controllers or input devices are added throughout the plant. New systems can be integrated into the DCS and automatically updated by the controlling database.

DCS Applications in Industry

DCS For Petrochemical Plant Modernization

In one of Russia's largest petrochemical plants, DCS is part of the modernization program which allows the Angarsk Petrochemical Company to improve the coking process that is used for extracting fuels from heavy oil residues. DCS improves fuel and steam consumption while enabling the extracted product to meet tougher Euro-5 emission standards using an intuitive operator graphics display to simplify and centralize plant control.

DCS Reliability for Power Generation

In the global power generating industry, the Westinghouse Ovation DCS platform has achieved an incredible 99.9% system reliability in 3,000 installations worldwide, using commercially available, off-the-shelf technologies. This makes the DCS adaptable to new technologies in a "forward design architecture" with a projected 25-year working compatibility.   

Wastewater Treatment with DCS in Multiple Locations

DCS was the centralizing control solution for the Narragansett Bay Commission (NBC) which operates two wastewater treatment plants on opposite sides of the bay, 5 miles away from each other. Each plant had its own differing control system technology and vastly different human-machine-interfacing.

A microwave link using gigabit Ethernet was used to connect the two locations, in an integrated DCS which now hosts more than 1,000,000 I/O points distributed over 10,000 objects. NBC operators are able to configure each of the 10,000 objects in either plant via an Excel spreadsheet, eliminating the need for manual configuration to save time and money.

DCS in the Thermoplastics Industry

Polyamide is a high-quality thermoplastic construction material, and Grupa Azoty is one of the largest polyamide producers in Europe. The company uses an ABB Freelance DCS system to optimize production of 180,000 tons of polyamide annually.

The Freelance DCS system controls the manufacturing and pneumatic transportation lines, electrical equipment and drives, and monitors analytics and measurements, all from one centralized location. The plant uses redundant DCS system elements to minimize unscheduled downtimes in the complex polyamide manufacturing process which involves multiple interrelated installations. This redundancy in the Freelance DCS system allows a line to operate continuously in cases of interruption to operations in the primary system.

DCS at Mader Electric

Mader Electric has been keeping businesses up and running since 1903, and our team of experienced professionals has the expertise to provide the solutions for all of your plant's motor and control needs. We stock a full inventory of motors, pumps, and controls from industry leaders such as ABB and more. We provide in-house repair service and control troubleshooting and we can rebuild all brands of motors and pumps, so look to Mader Electric as your best resource for all of your plant's electrical needs.

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Topics: motor and control expert, industrial controls, DCS

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