Distributed Control System

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The DCS largely came about due to the increased availability of microcomputers and the proliferation of microprocessors in the world of process control. Computers had already been applied to process automation for some time in the form of both direct digital control (DDC) and setpoint control. In the early 1970s Taylor Instrument Company, (now part of ABB) developed the 1010 system, Foxboro the FOX1 system, Fisher Controls the DC2 system and Bailey Controls the 1055 systems. All of these were DDC applications implemented within minicomputers (DEC PDP-11, Varian Data Machines, MODCOMP etc. ) and connected to proprietary Input/Output hardware. Sophisticated (for the time) continuous as well as batch control was implemented in this way. A more conservative approach was setpoint control, where process computers supervised clusters of analog process controllers. A workstation provided visibility into the process using text and crude character graphics. Availability of a fully functional graphical user interface was a way away.

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