Many suppliers are touting their capabilities to provide both PLC and DCS functionality in their system to make their offerings attractive to the hybrid industries. As we have known, the technology difference between PLC and DCS is quickly disappearing, leaving only the domain expertise and experience of the supplier as a key differentiator. However, gaps in domain expertise are not closed overnight; significant knowledge has been accumulated by suppliers over the last 30 years, so beware of suppliers who are just recently claiming DCS or PLC capabilities in their portfolio. Users who want to ensure that their requirements can be addressed should consider selecting a supplier who has a long and proven track record for delivering both PLC solutions and a full-blown DCS for hybrid applications.
Many of the stereotypes at the past are being replaced, thanks to the convergence of PLC and DCS. This convergence has opened up hybrid applications of a new set options and for those process plants that used PLCs traditionally to control their electrical infrastructure such as Motor Control Centers (MCCs), motors, drives, and while utilizing DCS for regulatory control. Remember, it is not about the technology. Most importantly, it is about the application requirements and what supplier has the best solution, experience, heritage, and breadth of knowledge to meet your requirements, today and tomorrow.
Whatever you choose, we hope that you can feel like you have made a better and wiser informed decision based on the information in this paper. You may find that a traditional DCS or PLC no longer meets your requirements. If you have a hybrid application, then you may need a process control system which combines the best of the DCS and PLC, and a supplier who can provide a full offering of both discrete and process capabilities, all based on a common platform.