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AutoDCS (Industrial) (OP)
6 Jul 05 9:38
Firstly would like to say that this site is incredible and such an eye opener for people like me who are just starting out... recently I have been invited to an interview with ABB and really trying to find out some info about their control systems and products.

AC800xA Industrial IT has been rumoured to have a grown 20% in the first quarter of 2005 for ABB. This to me sounds maybe a bit weird especially since I know that they are experiencing migration problems....

Well Yokogawa is thriving in Asia and to my surprise also have plans to operate in the European DCS market which I expect is going to give ABB a run for their money...

By the way is ABB still the leading supplier of DCS worldwide or what?

Please share your knowledge...much appreciated.

Helpful Member!  ScottyUK (Electrical)
6 Jul 05 10:26
Check out some of ABB's competitors...

Emerson Process Control

Also the high-end PLCs are rapidly closing the gap on true DCS systems. Siemens, Telemecanique, A-B, etc all have PLC technology which is approaching entry-level DCS in performance terms and for a fraction of the cost.

In Europe I would not have guessed that ABB are the market leader.


If we learn from our mistakes,
I'm getting a great education!

Helpful Member!  CMfgE1 (Mechanical)
7 Jul 05 1:05
I have worked with both DCS and PLC systems and have found strenghts in both.

Siemens has seemed to tank on there DCS, although some proper management could change that.

A fairly new system called Delta V hit the market about 5yrs ago(?) and has done well. Its had several owners but is marketed by Emerson Process currently.

ABB is still a competitive system but seems to need an interface upgrade.

Allen Bradley seems to corner the PLC market and is very reliable.

So any company that has its feet on the ground and is stable in the process control market should do well. There will always be a need for controlling the manufacturing process.

Good luck and hope to see you post from your new desk!

Quote: "Its not what you know, its who you know"  
Everythings a learning experience-Everything

Helpful Member!  FrancisL (Computer)
7 Jul 05 17:13
A small comment about DeltaV
It has not had several owners and was always an Emerson product (Emerson = Fisher Controls etc). Parts, such as the batch manager and I think the graphics, were originally from other companies but have been largely rewritten by Emerson. It is much more than 5 years old.
In the pharmaceutical and chemicals market it is probably market leader, possibly it leads the entire DCS market.
CMfgE1 (Mechanical)
9 Jul 05 1:17
Side note: Delta V originally started out being developed and manufactured by MTL. In fact Emerson contracted MTL to make components for them. Then Emerson and MTL had a falling out. MTL dropped the line and Emerson continued development. MTL makes intrinsically safe barriers.

Just my .02

Quote: "Its not what you know, its who you know"  
Everythings a learning experience-Everything

FrancisL (Computer)
9 Jul 05 7:24
I think that it was only the IO that MTL was involved in I think not the controllers, and certainly not the graphics.
CMfgE1 (Mechanical)
11 Jul 05 0:51
Not the graphics not. That was developed by invensys.

But MTL made the hardware. I had the pleasure of installing all the cards, backplanes, power supplies and such. They all came together from MTL with there logo. Is it possible they didnt design some of the components. Yes it is and probably so.

It is still a very good control system and has great benefit for the technician troubleshooting.


Quote: "Its not what you know, its who you know"  
Everythings a learning experience-Everything

FrancisL (Computer)
11 Jul 05 5:36
DeltaV Graphics are based on Intellution - not Invensys.
Emerson bought Intellution and then later sold it to GE.
Here's a recent quote
“I don’t think that will ever happen.”
Dr Graeme Philp, CEO, MTL on when a major DCS vendor will give up making its own controller

Ashereng (Petroleum)
16 Dec 05 23:49
World wide, Honeywell is also a big player.

I am familar with their TDC2000, TDC3000, GUS, Experion, and Plantscape systems. I have seen their systems in the oil and gas, refinery, chemical, pulp and paper, and gas fired power generating industries.
FrancisL (Computer)
17 Dec 05 8:37
Top 50 Suppliers of Process Instrumentation and Controls

connector1 (Industrial)
25 Jan 06 15:40
Does anyone have any data on the # of DCS units shipped in a year?
Ashereng (Petroleum)
25 Jan 06 16:44

A DCS is a collection of many parts, and usually "shipped" in various permutations and combinations.

When you say "units", are you trying to compare various vendors, or are you trying to gauge size?

For process control revenue comparison, Francist's link is good.

For installed sites, you can contact your local vendor sales rep - they all seem to have an installed list. Oh, by the way, most sites usually have more than one vendor's equipment in them, so the sum of the sites of all DCS vendors will be more than total sites.

connector1 (Industrial)
25 Jan 06 16:50

I'm sorry, I'm very knew to this industry.  What do you mean when you say a DCS is a collection of parts.  Can you define those parts?

Ashereng (Petroleum)
25 Jan 06 17:27
A very limited list of DCS components:
- I/O modules
- back plane
- main processors
- data highway
- interface modules
- data historian (usually a hard disk, although some are like a PC)
- operator station
- alarm/panel board
- converters
- power supply, batteries
- cabinets

Lots of people consider some things as part of a DCS. Lots of people consider the same things as not part of a DCS. It depends who you talk to.
LJAUTOMATA (Mechanical)
20 Feb 06 14:39
Ah!, DCS and PLC's. Yes, I agree that a good portion of the PLC market is approaching DCS controls. Unfortunately, DCS controls are still VERY expensive.

DELTA V, very nice DCS. Even though some people still call it a PLC. VERY EXPENSIVE!

As far as who is the leader, I think there is not one leader on the market HONEYWELL, SIEMENS, JOHNSON CONTROLS ARE AT THE TOP OF THE FOOD CHAIN.

I think, the Chinese will catch up to this and the big boys in DCS controls will have to DROP their prices to stay competitive.

I personally like to stick to PLC's even if you are limited to size of the I/O network and complexity on the jobs. At least they are relatively available on the market and not a monopoly like the big DCS companies.
JLSeagull (Electrical)
21 Feb 06 13:18
Systems engineering is among the real differences between a DCS and a PLC.  PLC supplies sell parts in a box.  DCS suppliers provide the cabinets, cables and related stuff.  The engineering to provide a system is among the cost issues between the DCS and PLC markets.  PLC users provide the engineering.  DCS users buy it from an integrator.

As with other generalizations, ...  grain of salt ...
FrancisL (Computer)
21 Feb 06 13:42
Even that is a simplification. I have known DCS suppliers who use small panel bashers for the panels and even sub contract some engineering, and there are many 'PLC Systems Integrators' who engineer DCS systems.
The DCS companies are arguably the ones who can do global projects - but even then you can find the standards of DCS Supplier X are quite different from one of their offices to another.
One difference I have noticed lately is the PLC suppliers put their manuals on the net, for anyone to read. DCS suppliers do not.
So, in a sense, PLC's are open systems whereas DCS's are closed.
Ashereng (Petroleum)
21 Feb 06 14:34
I have found that most sales reps for most DCS/PLC vendors will send you the book sets on CDs if you ask.

I think the division between PLC/DCS is blurring. PLC's are coming into tradition DCS vendor territory, and vice versa.

LJAUTOMATA (Mechanical)
23 Feb 06 8:23
Agree with most of you guys. I am personally a contractor doing PLC and trying to get back into DCS market. I worked for over 10 years with DCS's and I really like the technology.

Unfortunately it is extremely difficult to make it in the DCS industry if you are a small company and do not think is because of the complexity or difficulty.

I personally designed very large DCS systems (over 30,000 I/O points) under my pervious employer and I agree that is the best way to learn technology.

Professionals that have concentrated in PLC’s only, I think do not have a deep understanding of TCP/IP, Servers, LAN’s,WAN and all aspect of telecommunications that make a large and complex DCS systems, especially if you throw DATA MINING into the equipment and strict regulatory codes for data tampering prevention.

Engineers that have worked on large DCS systems have, for the most part, a clear understanding on how all these elements are tied together.

I even know small companies that are making the effort to design their own DCS systems in order to avoid the difficulties and monopoly of the large manufactures of these equipments.

PLC’s will undoubtedly reach and be an equivalent for DCS, especially if the increase their processing power, memory and give the ability to multithread simultaneous programs in a high level language format.

When this day comes, they will be no more monopoly. The other item is that PLCs’ are still mainly used for process control (small programs, small memory) while DCS’ are used Building/Plant, Security and Fire control.
Note. If you guys know of any overseas (outside the USA) DDC company that has a good product and growing, please let me know.

Thank you.
LJAUTOMATA (Mechanical)
23 Feb 06 8:58

Just want to reiterate, does some one can recommend an overseas (outside the USA) DDC systems with WEB based interface and a robust server back end?

I am really fed up with all the bull going on here in the USA with all these DDC manufactures.

The prices here are OUT OF THE ROOF!!

FrancisL (Computer)
24 Feb 06 13:55
Hey LJ, what exactly is it that you want to control?
And what do you mean DDC. Direct Digital Control ?
I thought the topic was the DCS market.
Maybe it is expensive but in proportion to the plants they control it is only a few percent. Good stuff is not cheap.
LJAUTOMATA (Mechanical)
1 Mar 06 11:04
Hi FrancisL,

Actually DCS or DDC or BAS or BMS, I believe they are all used interchangeably.

They are all used mainly for Building/Plant control with systems over 500 I/O’s or systems requiring central HVAC systems.

Either way, I found a Web site with the top tier DCS Control companies.

Note. These are NOT PLC’s.
Ashereng (Petroleum)
1 Mar 06 13:11

The site seems to be for HVAC Home/Building control vendors only.

I normally do not lump BMS (Burner Management Systems) with DCS (Distributed Control Systems).

I am not familiar with DDC (Direct Digital Controls), nor BAS (Building Automation Systems). However, I would not say that they are used interchangeably with DCS or BMS - at least not in my industry.

I have not seen a DCS used to control HVAC, regardless of I/O count.

I have seen a DCS used to control a burner instead of a dedicated BMS. It is still rare for me though.

I have only seen BMS control the burner, and nothing else. They are pretty specialized.
ScottyUK (Electrical)
1 Mar 06 13:47

That site completely omits most if not all of the major DCS manufacturers. The companies it does list are building controls manufacturers, equipment which is an entirely different species to DCS. DCS is pretty much confined to process control in the power generation, chemical and petrochemical, pharmaceuticals, and nuclear industries where the high capital cost of DCS is justifed by either the high value of the product or of the plant, or the high risk of the process being controlled. DCS has a specific and distinct meaning, as has BMS: the terms are not interchangeable.

  I don't suffer from insanity. I enjoy it...

Ashereng (Petroleum)
1 Mar 06 19:13

You can also add DCS to pie factories, in your list. smile
ScottyUK (Electrical)
2 Mar 06 1:48
Really! Wow - never dreamed of that as an application.

Is this a fairly young DCS installation or have you had a DCS for a long time? The (two) food plants I've visited were almost all PLC based. Is it a very large plant, or are these just the best-made pies in the world?

  I don't suffer from insanity. I enjoy it...

Ashereng (Petroleum)
2 Mar 06 11:19
I wouldn't say young - the ovens, rollers, packaging, etc. are about 7 years.

I don't know about the best pies in the world ... that's a whole different forum.
LJAUTOMATA (Mechanical)
2 Mar 06 22:22
Ok guys.

Can someone point me to a DCS site to study their hardware/software config?

Please, don't tell me DELTA V falls under this category.
ScottyUK (Electrical)
3 Mar 06 0:40
As a starter, check out Foxboro's I/A series...

Or Emerson's Ovation...

  I don't suffer from insanity. I enjoy it...

Ashereng (Petroleum)
3 Mar 06 10:27
Delta V is currently the most commonly sold DCS system in our area, for upstream, gas plants, power plants and especially in retrofit/migration of existing legacy DCS systems.

I don't know why you belittle it - I am sure the reasons are many and valid - but if you would like somthing else, there is also Honeywell Experion, ABB/Bailey Infi90 and Yokogawa Centum.

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