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Distributed Control Systems In The Process Control Laboratory

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Instrumentation and Control Applications

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.447.1 - 8.447.8



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Paper Authors

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James Rehg

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Peter Shull

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2259

Distributed Control Systems in the Process Control Laboratory

James A. Rehg, Dr. Peter J. Shull Penn State Altoona


Industrial process control, which moved from Direct Digital Control (DDC) to Distributed Control Systems (DCS) in the late 1970s, is now making another transition to Field Control Systems (FCS). While FCS is just a form of DCS, it adds additional dimensions to the control function through the use of networked systems and smart control elements. Foundation Fieldbus (FF), an implementation of FCS based on international standards, was introduced in 1994 and is becoming an established technology for use in industrial control systems. This paper describes the development of a FCS process control laboratory that includes FF and other networked software products to enhance the learning in a control based laboratory. In addition, the paper compares process control issues using the older DCS model with the Fieldbus solution, and it describes the hardware and software used at Penn State Altoona to build a fully networked FCS process laboratory.


Foundation fieldbus is a digital control network that inter-links "smart" sensors and actuators in a manufacturing environment. It is one of the latest technologies used to automate the capture of process data and the control of production systems. The evolution of the system architecture from Direct Digital Control (DDC) to Distributed Control Systems (DCS) and now to Field Control Systems (FCS) is illustrated in Figure 1. The y- axis indicates when the normal distribution of the adoption of the different system architectures peaked in use. In every step of the evolution, the control of the process has moved closer to the sensors and actuators.

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Rehg, J., & Shull, P. (2003, June), Distributed Control Systems In The Process Control Laboratory Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12408

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