Distributed Control Systems (DCS)

This module is intended to familiarize the student with the most important aspects of Distributed Control Systems. Topics covered in the module include remote terminal units (RTUs), HMIs and an introduction to LANs. The student will also learn the differences between star, bus and ring topology and their applications in automation systems. In addition to covering system architecture and algorithms, the module also provides detailed information on practical applications for DCS. Emphasis is placed on design, problem solving and analysis of industrial automation systems.

Learning Outcomes:

Upon completion of this module the student will be able to:

  • Differentiate between DCS and SCADA.
  • List the three main elements in a DCS.
  • Identify the difference between uptime and system latency.
  • Explain the purpose of a remote terminal unit (RTU).
  • Define task architecture and hardware architecture.
  • Describe the reason why algorithms are popular in DCS.
  • Name four common uses for HMI in DCS applications.
  • Explain the principles of DCS communication.
  • Identify three components of quality of use in HMI.
  • Differentiate between, suppressed, nuisance and cascading alarms.
  • Compare software-based alarms with hardware-based alarms.
  • List five applications for DCS.
  • Name the four elements in a typical OTS.
  • Explain the primary benefit of DCS simulation
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