Process Control System (PCS)

With a process control system (PCS, internationally also known as Distributed Control System or DCS), it is possible to control a process installation. This includes chemical plants, installations of the food industry or even refineries. In the broader sense, PCSs can also be used in installations that are, strictly speaking, not associated with the process industry, such as municipal water works, but whose operating processes can be controlled with a PCS. The PCS is used for controlling and monitoring the automated installation and its components. This also includes pumps whose status can be controlled and manipulated. For this purpose, the generated process data are acquired, analyzed, and visualized. Process-oriented components control actuators for this purpose and record measured values. Besides options for alerting and logging, an add-on automation is also possible, e.g. in the sense of a recipe operating mode for the batch production. While the process-oriented components are generally located in switchgear cabinets in the field, the components for operating and monitoring are controlled in a control room (also referred to as switchboard gallery) by the operator. For several years, standard PC hardware and software has been used for this purpose. Both parts of the PCS are connected with each other via a bus system that is more and more based on industrial Ethernet. Significant advantages of the use of a PCS compared to manual operation are increased security and traceability, lower demand on personnel and reduced risk of installation personnel as well as uniform processes and results. Furthermore, installation components such as process pumps can be saved if they are operated according to specified, safe parameters and warnings are issued in case of a fault that enable a premature maintenance.