Autopro Blog

PLC vs DCS - How do I choose the best option for my facility? (video)

July 07, 2016


There are many factors to consider when trying to choose between a DCS and a PLC control system for your facility. In this video, Ian Shirt, Operations Manager with Autopro, discusses the difference between the two types of control systems, the benefits of each, and what factors need to be considered when making your decision.

What's the difference between PLC and DCS systems?

PLC systems are multi-vendor, highly flexible control systems where all the individual components (graphical user interface, historian, reporting, etc.) can be purchased separately as needed and integrated into the overall system.

DCS systems are single vendor, highly integrated control systems where all the components are already part of the overall system.

Benefits of PLC over DCS

  • Cost - The individual components of a PLC system are purchased separately on an as-needed basis, reducing the initial investment required.
  • Downward scaleability - PLC systems scale down well since they can be customized to include just the specific functionality needed.

Benefits of DCS over PLC

  • High level of integration - the comprehensive integration of a DCS systems results in exceptional quality control, as all components are tested extensively by the vendor to ensure they work together seamlessly.
  • Upward scaleability - As your system grows and more functionality is needed, it is easy to add since the integration of the individual components has already been tested and all that's required is installation.

How do I choose what's best for my facility?

There are many factors to consider when deciding between a PLC and a DCS system in industrial facilities. Some of these include:

  • System complexity
  • Facility size
  • IO count
  • Redundancy
  • Familiarity with a particular vendor
  • Budget

Autopro can complete an assessment of your facility requirements and evaluate them against all the factors mentioned above to help you determine what will work best for you. Contact us for more information.