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SCADA and Communications

People new to the industry often use the terms SCADA (Supervisory control and data acquisition) and DCS (Distributed Control System) interchangeably. Although there's no sharp line separating these two categories of control systems, and specific implementations often have characteristics of each, it is useful to distinguish between them because of their unique strength and weaknesess.

The most significant factor differentiating SCADA system and DCS today is the "human in the loop". Well, enough about those explanation. It can be more technical and quite difficult to absorb for some people who are not really familiar with both control system.

To makes thing simpler and easier to understand what are SCADA and DCS, lets see their characteristics:

SCADA System
1. Geographic span: Large
2. Point count : Large
3. Data acquisition rates : Moderate - seconds to minute
4. Data acquisition network : Slow with moderate error rate
5. Graphic User Interfase (GUI) : Full featured
6. Alarming subsystem : Full featured
7. Control actions : Human initiated

DCS System
1. Geographic span : Small
2. Point count : Small
3. Data acquisition rates : Very fast - miliseconds to seconds
4. Data acquisition network : Fast with low error rate
5. Graphic User Interfase (GUI) : Basic
6. Alarming subsystem : Basic
7. Control actions : Programmatically initiated

Perhaps, later I'll slowly explain about these type of control systems...We must know and appreciate these system as it smoothen our process control and operation. These control system are applied in the oil & gas as well as in refineries too serving the oils and fats industries.

posted by Kipas Repair JB @ 9:42 PM,


At Thursday, October 12, 2006, Blogger rOadbill said...

Remote Monitoring & Networking 2006 -- SCADA, Data Acquisition, Device Networking, M2M and Security for Remote Sites and Onsite Power -- Offgrid, Standby and Back-up Power for Mission Critical Operations will be held November 9-10, 2006 Long Beach, California at the The Westin Long Beach.

These technology-driven and solution oriented conferences bring together the innovators and users from multiple industries, including utilities, power, oil & gas, telecom, industrial, water & public utilities, agriculture and facilities management.

Remote Monitoring & Networking 2006 will focus on the leading advancements for the monitoring and management of distributed equipment and facilities, remote assets, automated process & system controls and device networks. Large-scale users and industry experts will speak on SCADA, security, control, automation, M2M, networking, telemetry and condition monitoring.

Onsite Power 2006 will cover the latest advancements in back-up, UPS, emergency and standby power systems, and design strategies for monitoring & controlling distributed, remote and mission-critical equipment and facilities. MORE INFO AT:


At Saturday, October 14, 2006, Blogger Kipas Repair JB said...

Thanks for the input. Great stuff. Wish and hope you can continue providing informative input like this. I'm actually working on the centralized control room for my company group. It's a huge task and we're in the planning stage. For a new person like me, I'm a little bit confuse but we're still gathering info to decide which centralized control system best suit our environment. Thanks again.


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The Author


I’m Zaki. I used to be a project, process and chemical engineer. Few years ago I successfully became a Chartered Engineer (IChemE) and Professional Engineer (BEM). I'm now employed as a chemical engineering educator/researcher/consultant. Hope you like reading my blog. I welcome any feedback from you. My email: zaki.yz[alias]gmail.com. TQ!

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