With its high visibility, sophistication and connections to historians, advanced control and business systems, the distributed control system (DCS) tends to get all the glory in process control applications.
But in plants both with and without a DCS, much of the logic execution, local HMI support and I/O communications are carried out by plant-floor programmable logic controllers (PLCs), process automation controllers (PACs) and controllers based on commercial personal computer (PC) architectures and operating systems.
All three forms of controllers have shrunk in size while gaining enormous computing power, software flexibility and industrial strength, and now can capably perform the hardware functions of any but the largest DCS. In our latest State of Technology report, we present our past year’s articles describing innovative applications of PLCs, PACs and PCs.
Among the key points explored in the report:
- PLCs and PACs can solve the protocol translation problem
- Four ways to collect process plant data
- Creative ways to cut costs in hazardous areas
- How PLCs of critical facilities are protected from cyber attacks
- Case Study: Process automation, controls boost production at yogurt plant