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Posted on 21st Dec 2022

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What is Industrial Control System?

Industrial Control System also known as ICS is a group phrase used for describing a different kinds of control systems and correlated instrumentation. It includes the networks, devices, controls and systems used for operating and/or automating industrial processes.

The functioning of each Industrial Control System depends on the industry and its design to manage electronic tasks efficiently. In almost all industrial sectors and significant infrastructures, for instance, transportation, production, water treatments, and power, industrial control systems are used.

Here is the list of Industrial Control System technologies:  

  • SCADA (Supervisory control and data acquisition)
  • DCS (Distributed Control Systems)
  • IACS (Industrial Automation and Control Systems)
  • PLCs (Programmable Logic Controllers)
  • PACs (Programmable Automation Controllers)
  • HMI (Human-Machine Interface)
  • RTUs (Remote Terminal Units)
  • Control servers
  • IEDs (Intelligent Electronic Devices)
  • Sensors

What are the types of Industrial Control Systems?

ICS are categorized into several types. It depends on the working and difficulty of the control action. CM Industry Supply Automation shows a list of the most popular control system used:

PLCs (Programmable Logic Controllers) - It is known as a Solid-state control system. PLCs have a user-programmable memory to store instructions and implement precise functions. Some functions include logic, I/O control, timing, three modes (PID) control, counting, arithmetic, communication, file processing, and data processing.

DCS (Distributed Control Systems) - DCS is an industrial control system that is deployed and controlled in a distributed way. That means a variety of distributed control systems or procedures are controlled independently. In DCS control is attained by intelligence instead of a centrally located single unit.

SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) - A generic phrase for a computerized system. It is capable to gather and process data. In addition, it is capable to apply operational controls over extensive distances. Its usual utilization includes pipeline systems, the distribution system and power transmission. SCADA was made for the exclusive communication challenges such as data integrity; delays created by the several media, which must be utilized for instance satellite, microwave, and phone lines. It is generally shared instead of dedicated.

RTUs (Remote Terminal Units) - It is a microprocessor-based electronic device used for connecting various to DCS (distributed control systems) or SCADA. RTUs are even called remote units of tele-control or remote units of telemetry. It passes input stream sensor data in the control loop to an output stream. That data is then further transmitted to the Industrial Control System centralized command.

IACS (Industrial Automation and Control Systems) - It includes safe infrastructure to permit information transfers and communications. Also, it allows smart devices to collect information. It all becomes possible with the help of sensors present on machines and machinery. IACS also include software, hardware, and communication options to change sensor information into information.

PACs (Programmable Automation Controllers) – This phrase is used loosely to describe any automation controller including higher-level instructions. The PACs are used for devices in a wide spectrum of sectors. Few of them are ICS and critical infrastructure.

IEDs (Intelligent Electronic Devices (IEDs) - IEDs is electronic component that has a microprocessor. Circuit control and regulator are a few of the Intelligent Electronic Devices. It can communicate, usually digitally using real-time ethernet, Fieldbus, or other industrial protocols.