Types of Industrial Control Systems

28th Mar 2023

The industrial control system is actually a general term used to describe the entire combination of hardware and software with the network to control the overall critical industrial infrastructure. 

It makes use of many technologies, including programmable logic controls (PLCs), servo motor control units, digital electronic motors, and electronic control units. 

A number of other technologies are sometimes incorporated into this system as well, such as distributed control and load management. 

There are many types of industrial control systems used by different industries for operations. If you want to know about them, follow this guide. 

What Are Industrial Control Systems?

The industrial control system is a broad term encompassing many industrial control systems and related instrumentation used for industrial process management. 

These systems include plant control panels, thermal controllers, water controllers, power supplies, voltage and current limit alarms, and many other types that affect the operation of businesses. 

These industrial control systems have evolved over the years to ensure the smooth functioning of an entire industry or of a business in general. Control systems provide an enabling environment for the planning and execution of industrial programs, as well as provide improved safety at the workplace.

Control systems such as these have many applications in various industries, from simple systems that monitor basic factory processes to highly complex ones that are capable of monitoring processes involved in delicate equipment manufacturing and other critical infrastructure. 

Control systems help to ensure the smooth flow of information and communication to all sections of the organization, whether internal or external.

Types of Industrial Control Systems:

Many individuals have a general understanding of what industrial control systems are but are not aware that there are actually several different types of industrial control systems out there. 

When you are looking into new industrial machinery, it is important to consider what exactly each type of control system does. Here are some of the most important types of industrial control systems.

  • Programmable Logic Controllers: Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) are a very special form of computer technology. They are used for all sorts of tasks, from input and output control to microcontroller development. They are programmed using standard software. A PLC is much more than a simple digital processor. It has many special features and is often used in embedded systems where it is programmed directly.
  • Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition: It is an open-source software platform for controlling and analyzing the flow of information in large networks and computerized systems. Supervisory control means the management of the interactions between systems and people within an organization. It also refers to control of the transfer of information and commands in a system. 
  • Distributed Control Systems: A distributed control system is one that involves a number of machines all working together to provide a controlled environment. A great example of such a system would be the facility where a manufacturing line is in place. The entire line can be programmed to run when the machine is idle or if something needs to be done. 
  • Remote Terminal Units: It is an industrial device that can communicate with industrial machinery and is usually controlled by a computer. Generally, a remote terminal has a keypad that can be used to program a command into the machine and also has a serial port for connecting to a computer or other piece of equipment.
  • Programmable Automation Controllers: These are devices that allow you to program specific actions and events to take place in your factory or warehouse environment. It can range from simple LED lights, motion detectors, or a computerized video screen and LCD display to more complicated robotic arms. 
  • Intelligent Electronic Devices: It is basically an integrated microprocessor-based control of electrical system components, including circuit breakers, transformers, etc. It can be a fully automatic or a semi-automatic device. These devices can communicate digitally.  
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