Distributed Control Systems

Making a world of difference with automation

Future of automation

For more than a century, automation systems have been enabling industries that provide the basic building blocks of our everyday lives – energy, power, water, metals, minerals, chemicals, and transportation – to meet the needs of a growing population. And for more than 40 years, ABB has built and maintained a leadership position in Distributed Control Systems (DCS) that are at the heart of some of the largest and most critical operations on our planet. How? By preserving its customers’ investments, providing new capabilities and accelerating innovation to meet ever-changing demands. This paper outlines ABB’s vision to continue to make a world of difference for process automation users for decades to come.


Distributed Control Systems

Addressing increasing unpredictability

Producing profitably while striving towards greater sustainability is a top priority, especially for energy and resource-intensive industries. Businesses must agilely produce goods that meet market demands while mitigating the impacts of fluctuating energy prices, disrupted supply chains and higher compliance costs. Fresh thinking on the design and application of control systems that can resolve issues through data analysis will help address this unpredictability.

Enabling energy transition

For many producers, a key action is to electrify processes formerly powered by combustion and fossil fuels, to enable a transition to greener energy sources. Integrated process and electrical control and power management increase energy efficiency of operations, and reliably incorporate renewable energy sources. Digital technologies furthermore allow experts to cost-effectively design and deploy such integrated systems for efficiency, ease-of-use and energy optimization.


Evolving production needs

To maximize economies of scale, many plants today produce single commodities. At the same time, demand for customization drives smaller, specialized plants that are close to the customer. Automation must scale to address these varying needs through.

Adapting to next-generation workforce

The generation joining the workforce wants all the familiar benefits of digitalization, yet will not want to sacrifice the reliability, availability and security that current systems provide. Suppliers must continue to offer these attributes while employing new ways to apply the digital knowledge of today’s workers. Machine learning and artificial intelligence will help to identify and mitigate production interruptions, and support remote, autonomous operations. Workers will spend less time troubleshooting in physical environments and more time addressing issues remotely.


Driving digital transformation

Automation is a significant asset base for producers, often the digital core of the business. As digitalization progresses, operational and information technology will converge, allowing value-adding applications to run on the “edge” of the process, or in the cloud.

The control system of tomorrow will leverage new business models that facilitate change while conforming to workplace expectations. “Automation-as-a-service” with readily accessible and selectable applications will provide options alongside traditional business models.

Maximizing innovation while preserving continuity

To meet these challenges, suppliers must assure existing users of their systems’ continuity, while innovating toward flexibility, adapting to changing markets and meeting regulatory requirements.

ABB will separate automation into an evergreen robust core served by a modular architecture, prioritizing real-time response; with an extended, digitally enabled environment that securely connects to IoT, and enhances the collaboration of people, systems and equipment.


Automation – the brain of industrial operations

For more than a century, automation systems have been central to enabling the operation of industries that provide the basic building blocks of our everyday lives – energy, power, water, metals, minerals, chemicals, and transportation.
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