Automation Fair: Pharma engineer rates PLC system over DCS


Baltimore, MD —An Eli Lilly engineer gave a slight advantage to a programmable logic controller (PLC-based) system compared to a distributed control system (DCS) in a presentation made at a recent media event. The PLC versus DCS analysis was part of 'Manufacturing Perspectives,' Rockwell Automation 's educational forum held the day before its Automation Fair , which took place last week. Some 90 journalists, half from outside the United States, including editors from Control Engineering , Control Engineering Asia , Control Engineering China , and Control Engineering Poland , attended the day-long program.

The PLC versus DCS comparison showed 19 criteria and included uncensored advice for Rockwell Automation about additional improvements for its FactoryTalk and Logix systems. Even so, the analysis gave Rockwell's PLC-based system the advantage, 77 points to 73 for the DCS (1-5 points granted for each attribute).

'Two years ago, we chose a traditional DCS solution. We would not reach the same conclusion today,' said Mike Alward, lead system architect at Eli Lilly in Indianapolis, IN. Alward, no PLC stalwart, has 22 years with the pharmaceutical company, including work with systems from Foxboro, Fisher, Intellution, Wonderware, Emerson Delta V, and Aspen. A DCS rates higher, in Alward's opinion, for criteria such as advanced control, global tag and parameter accessibility, integrated hardware, and integrated software.

The PLC system scored higher in areas including scalability, cost, and available system knowledge from original equipment manufacturers and system integrators. Alward praised Rockwell Automation for controller-based alarming, upcoming add-on instruction capability, and new security. He asked the company to improve control module library functionality, make tags more global, add to plug-and-play functions, integrate system diagnostics, and integrate configuration.

For related resources visit Control Engineering Online. Click here for system integrators; connect with automation suppliers by clicking here ; or search PLC, DCS, or related terms atop any page of Control Engineering Online .

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Mark T. Hoske , editor in chief

No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Choosing controllers: PLCs, PACs, IPCs, DCS? What's best for your application?; Wireless trends; Design, integration; Manufacturing Day; Product Exclusive
Variable speed drives: Smooth, efficient, electrically quite motion control; Process control upgrades; Mobile intelligence; Product finalists: Vote now; Product Exclusives
Machine design tips: Pneumatic or electric; Software upgrades; Ethernet advantages; Additive manufacturing; Engineering Leaders; Product exclusives: PLC, HMI, IO
This article collection contains the 5 most referenced articles on improving the use of PID.
Learn how Industry 4.0 adds supply chain efficiency, optimizes pricing, improves quality, and more.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security