Summary
An industrial control system (ICS) is an electronic control system and associated instrumentation used for industrial process control. Control systems can range in size from a few modular panel-mounted controllers to large interconnected and interactive distributed control systems (DCSs) with many thousands of field connections. Control systems receive data from remote sensors measuring process variables (PVs), compare the collected data with desired setpoints (SPs), and derive command functions that are used to control a process through the final control elements (FCEs), such as control valves. Larger systems are usually implemented by supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, or DCSs, and programmable logic controllers (PLCs), though SCADA and PLC systems are scalable down to small systems with few control loops. Such systems are extensively used in industries such as chemical processing, pulp and paper manufacture, power generation, oil and gas processing, and telecommunications. The simplest control systems are based around small discrete controllers with a single control loop each. These are usually panel mounted which allows direct viewing of the front panel and provides means of manual intervention by the operator, either to manually control the process or to change control setpoints. Originally these would be pneumatic controllers, a few of which are still in use, but nearly all are now electronic. Quite complex systems can be created with networks of these controllers communicating using industry-standard protocols. Networking allow the use of local or remote SCADA operator interfaces, and enables the cascading and interlocking of controllers. However, as the number of control loops increase for a system design there is a point where the use of a programmable logic controller (PLC) or distributed control system (DCS) is more manageable or cost-effective. Distributed control system A distributed control system (DCS) is a digital process control system (PCS) for a process or plant, wherein controller functions and field connection modules are distributed throughout the system.
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Current loop
In electrical signalling an analog current loop is used where a device must be monitored or controlled remotely over a pair of conductors. Only one current level can be present at any time. A major application of current loops is the industry de facto standard 4–20 mA current loop for process control applications, where they are extensively used to carry signals from process instrumentation to proportional–integral–derivative (PID) controllers, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, and programmable logic controllers (PLCs).
Piping and instrumentation diagram
A piping and instrumentation diagram (P&ID or PID) is a detailed diagram in the process industry which shows the piping and process equipment together with the instrumentation and control devices. Superordinate to the P&ID is the process flow diagram (PFD) which indicates the more general flow of plant processes and the relationship between major equipment of a plant facility. A piping and instrumentation diagram (P&ID) is defined as follows: A diagram which shows the interconnection of process equipment and the instrumentation used to control the process.
Distributed control system
A distributed control system (DCS) is a computerised control system for a process or plant usually with many control loops, in which autonomous controllers are distributed throughout the system, but there is no central operator supervisory control. This is in contrast to systems that use centralized controllers; either discrete controllers located at a central control room or within a central computer. The DCS concept increases reliability and reduces installation costs by localising control functions near the process plant, with remote monitoring and supervision.
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