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The Pc Based Distributed Control System Simulator

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.573.1 - 3.573.4

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Paper Authors

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Wayne L. Brown

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

Session 1559


Wayne L. Brown, P.E DeKalb Technical Institute


This paper is intended to provide faculty, who teach control system principals, with a conceptual approach to the design of a personal computer-based distributed control system simulator employing industry-grade components in lieu of prepackaged trainers.


Until recently, personal computers were never considered to be employable as the host computer in distributed control system (DCS) schemes. These systems relied on mini computers, loosely called mainframes, and proprietary DCS units. Therefore, the use of DCS schemes were restricted to companies that could afford the large capital outlay required. Due to this constraint, many small companies have not incorporated this type of system in their manufacturing processes. However, with the advances in PC technology and control system software or supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) software, distributed control system schemes have become more affordable for the small company. Since the DCS system reveals instantly accurate patterns and trends based on real-time data, advantages such as reduced waste and product consistency can be obtained. In addition, management can receive production data, recorded by the host PC, through a local area network (LAN) or a wide area network (WAN). With this, management decisions can be made using real-time data. Therefore, the small company can compete with the large company product on the quality scale.

With an industrial-grade DCS simulator that has been designed on-site by students in their laboratory classes, participating students will be better prepared to design and implement PC- based distributed control systems on the job. In addition, introducing small and medium size companies to the relatively inexpensive PC-based distributive control system can be a great opportunity for graduates.


A simulated manufacturing system with two continuous processes must first be selected. Since it is easily accessible, a suggested process is the conditioning of tap water with the continuous processes as temperature and pH control. Tap water can be heated inexpensively and its pH can be altered easily with household

Brown, W. L. (1998, June), The Pc Based Distributed Control System Simulator Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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