#1440 - Distributed Control Systems (DCS)

Course Objective

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to understand the architecture and operation of a DCS; specify and design a simple DCS, including sizing, network layout, and consoles; select the best DCS offering from several vendors; understand ergonomic issues; appreciate good alarm strategies; and understand the basic concepts of Advanced Process Control schemes.

Who Should Attend

Engineers and managers who are responsible for the selection and implementation of Distributed Control Systems, the application of Advanced Process Control systems, and control system revamps in older plants.  Also, personnel in technical positions who want to know more about DCS installations and projects.

Course Description

The course covers the practical application of Distributed Control Systems (DCS) in continuous process plants.

Within the past 15 years, we have witnessed lower costs and increased power of small digital computers, the emergence of the Internet, and a growing use of non-proprietary network technologies.  This has changed the mix of process control products on the market, both in terms of hardware and software.  In particular, new "smart" field transmitters have been developed that connect to the DCS via digital networks.  The course describes how these new technologies work and how they can be used to advantage.

With the increased computing power has also come more acceptance of Advanced Process Controls (APC) as a "standard" function in a DCS.  The various APC technologies available today are briefly discussed.

Over the past 25 years, The way the operator interacts with his processes has also changed.  The first DCS installations were commissioned in the mid-1970s and came with Video Display Unit (VDU) consoles that replaced wall-sized control boards.  Ergonomics emerged as a "new" science that deals with the Human Machine Interface (HMI) and the issues that arise with alarm systems and annunciation of alarms in general.

As the course unfolds, a practical design exercise is woven through the lectures.  A hydro-desulphuriser unit is used as a framework to size and lay out a typical DCS installation.  A Simplified Flow Plan (SFP) forms the basis of the Input/Output (I/O) instrument counts and DCS sizing, while a Plot Plan provides an opportunity to determine cabinet locations and network topologies.

Course Logistics

The course is presented in a suitable venue of the client's choice, using a laptop compuer and a digital projector.  Participants receive a Course Book of approximately 300 pages and a folder with Course Notes.  Knowledge of Higher Mathematics is useful to understand the details of the various equations in the book.  Participants will need to bring a laptop computer that has a spreadhseet and a presentation program such as Excel and PowerPoint.  Equivalent programs may also be used.  These software tools are needed while doing the exercises to document the various instrumentation and control loop counts and types.  The presentation tool is useful for presenting results to the participants and the instructor.

Course Outline

The course is designed to last four full days of about 5 to 6 instructional hours per day and one half day to wrap up.  The half day will be an opportunity for Questions and Answers among all participants and to interact in a group context.  Interaction is encouraged during the course and discussion is catalyzed by the design exercise that will be used in the course.  Although the Course Book contains a large body of material about instrumentation and regulatory control systems, the emphasis of this course is on the application of Distributed Control Systems.  Good process control practices and examples will be provided using proven control techniques.  Some discussion about loop tuning will also be included.  For more information about areas that are not discussed in detail during the lectures, participants may refer to the Course Book.

The course outline follows below.

Exercises

What the DCS Course does not offer

This course does not offer detailed material about the structure of the various databases, alarm annunciation techniques, or ergonomic issues.  Participants will not learn how to configure screens, control schemes, and control algorithms.  The various vendors of DCS hardware and software provide the system specific training courses needed for operators, technologists, and engineers who will design, use, implement, and maintain the systems on a daily basis.

Course Duration - Approximately 4-1/2 days