Best Practices for DCS Infrastructure

Feb. 25, 2014
Using separate DCS marshaling, server and operator rooms, but keeping the server and operator rooms close together, are some of best practices and human factors experience to keep in mind when implementing a DCS.

Using separate DCS marshaling, server and operator rooms, but keeping the server and operator rooms close together, are some of best practices and human factors experience to keep in mind when implementing a DCS. Other recommendations:

• Separate grounding for each room, instrument and signal and frame of the DCS.

• Need a good air filtering system for each room, depending on the plant or process hazards, to protect electronics.

• Make sure proper air conditioning is available all the time.

• Don’t mix MCC and DCS marshaling panels. These panels or rooms need to be kept separate.

• Have a dedicated UPS with the minimum required battery backup provided separately for marshaling, server and instruments.

• Use one communication protocol standard for electrical equipment and instruments.

• Choose a reliable communication protocol for critical loops, such as conventional hardware instead of an OPC server or system. If the OPC server hangs or stops, it makes a mess for controls.

• Educate everyone on the operational differences between a DCS and PLCs and where each should be used. Most people don’t understand why you need a warm start option for controllers with a DCS, for example.

• Use one programming approach for the entire system.

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