If you own or manage a manufacturing unit, you are well aware of the importance of monitoring and keeping track of every process. One single mistake and your production unit can come to a standstill. DCS and SCADA are some of the control systems that help you to monitor and keep track of every process and operation effectively. Understanding the difference between both these control systems is important so that you can select the one that is suitable for your process. Here are some points that differentiate between DCS and SCADA systems.
Distributed Control Systems (DCS) have autonomous controllers that are installed across a manufacturing or production unit. With these controllers, you can remotely monitor and supervise a unit. Here are some of the most distinctive features of a distributed control system.
The DCS is known to be process oriented. By process-oriented, we mean that the DCS performs all its tasks according to the sequence that is pre-decided or pre-fed into the control system. On account of the process-orientation, the host takes up too much load as the DCS has to be connected constantly with the unit. This is done to ensure that when a change takes place, it gets scanned by the DCS and gets reported to the handling station.
The distributed control system focuses on scanning the processes on a regular basis. It transmits the operation status to the operator as and when required.
Connection to The I/O Systems
As the DCS is process oriented and state-driven, it has to be continuously connected to the I/O systems. This is because DCS provides live updates to the controller.
The distributed control systems do not require a database as it is constantly connected to the I/O. This feature is required when the control system is not connected to the controller and requires to update the operators on everything that is happening.
Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) is applicable in power plants where controlling operations based on real-time information is vital. A benefit of this type of control system is that it can operate remotely and still have optimum efficiency on the system. Here we have listed some of the striking features of SCADA systems.
SCADA systems are more information oriented as they store more information about the processes. It collates the information about the personnel who is responsible for handling specific tasks. SCADA systems consist of a software technology designed to display information, display why an alarm went off, and depict charts that relate to every event that took place during the process. The information is usually displayed in graphical and tabular format.
SCADA systems are considered to be beneficial than DCS in this aspect as it decreases the load of processing on the host. SCADA systems wait for an event to occur and then respond accordingly. As SCADA systems are event-driven, they can easily track any problem in the process. When SCADA control systems find any problem or error in operations, the process parameter triggers and appropriate action is taken to continue with the process.
Connection to I/O systems
SCADA systems need not be connected to its I/O systems all the time. As it is completely event driven, it merely needs to store information about events and make changes accordingly.
SCADA systems need to maintain a database. This is because as it is not always connected to the I/O, it can refer to the previous values for reference if the operator is unable to gain remote access to new values. Its database stores all the information about the events that have occurred before.
Every system has its specific features and understanding which suits your requirements is of utmost importance. Now that you know the differences between DCS and SCADA systems, you can choose either one of them based on your requirements. If you want to invest in a control system, you should get in touch with a control system providing company in your area.