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Distributed Control Library

Instrumentation Skills

This comprehensive interactive multimedia training program was produced in association with the Instrument Society of America (ISA). This program, consisting of two individual lessons, trains participants in distributed contra techniques, architecture and hardware as well as in the methods used to maintain and troubleshoot distributed control systems.

Audience: This program is excellent for training technicians, operators, control practitioners and engineers as well as for the multi‑craft training needs of process and manufacturing facilities.

Number of Courses: 1

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Distributed Control Fundamentals

Prerequisites: This lesson is designed for participants familiar with process operations, digital electronic theory, and test instruments and devices.

Description: This lesson provides an understanding of the fundamentals of Distributed Control Systems (DCS). The evolution of computer control systems is discussed and the architecture of contemporary DCS is described in detail. The lesson covers hardware, configuration, data communications, user interface and 1/0 devices.


  • Describe direct digital control
  • Describe a supervisory control system
  • Identify an advantage of supervisory control over direct digital control
  • Describe a Distributed control system
  • Identify the advantages of DCS
  • Identify some of the control functions of a distributed control system
  • Explain DCS terminology
  • Explain hardware requirements for distributed control systems
  • Describe how control loops are implemented in a DCS
  • Explain communications between modules and external devi
  • Describe two types of data transmission
  • Explain how signal integrity is maintained
  • Define system interfacing
  • Define communication protocols and their function in data transmission
  • Name two primary types of human interface
  • Describe DCS input devices and describe types of available displays