Industrial Control Systems (ICS) are critical to the operational success of virtually every industrial sector. Particularly critical infrastructure, such as the manufacturing, transportation, energy and water treatment industries. But what exactly is an Industrial Control System and what role do industrial control panels have within an ICS? Hitaltech explains the fundamentals of industrial control and what goes into creating an efficient ICS.
What is industrial control?
Industrial control is one of the four major applications of electronics and centres around the use of electronic components, circuits and equipment to operate machinery in manufacturing plants. Although industrial machines like robots are mechanical, they’re actually powered by electric motors and other actuators.
This makes controlling electrical power a crucial element of operating modern machinery. This is where industrial control electronics come in; allowing engineers to control when machinery switches on and off, how fast it operates, and all of its intended functions. At the heart of industrial control are industrial control systems.
What are Industrial Control Systems?
Industrial control system (ICS) is a general term that encompasses several types of control systems and associated instrumentation used for industrial process control. Some of the better-known ICS technology includes supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), distributed control systems (DCS), industrial automation and control systems (IACS), and programmable logic controllers (PLCs) to name but a few.
In the past, most manufacturing machinery was either dumb or computerised using proprietary protocols. Nowadays, the advent of cost-effective smart sensor technology and wireless networking have paved the way for greater automation. Distributed control systems have evolved, thanks to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT); a central pillar of the so-called fourth industrial revolution – or Industry 4.0 – that’s currently unfolding.
What are the main components of an ICS?
The main components of an Industrial control system include:
- Control loop – Consisting of actuators (such as valves), sensors and a controller for the actuators.
- Human-machine interface (HMI) – Enables operators to monitor and adjust the controlled process.
- Data historian – This logs all process control activity to allow detailed reporting at multiple levels.
- Remote diagnostics and maintenance – For diagnosing and correcting any operational problems.
Industrial control products from Hitaltech
An industrial control system typically consists of several industrial control panels housed in enclosures. Those industrial control panels will consist of power circuits, control circuits, or both, that provide signals to direct the performance of machinery or equipment. Here at Hitaltech, we can supply many of the critical enclosures and connecting technologies required to make a control panel and wider ICS perform optimally.
Within our extensive portfolio of products, Hitaltech has a wide range of enclosures, including DIN rail enclosures and IP-rated enclosures. We also offer a variety of board-to-board interconnect systems and terminal blocks in pitches ranging from 2.54mm up to 19mm. As industrial automation and data processing evolve, you can trust Hitaltech to deliver interconnection and enclosure products that keep evolving too.
If you would like to find out more about our products, including our enclosures and connecting technologies for industrial control panels, please contact us today on +44 (0)1253 899910 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Hitaltech team is always on hand to answer any questions you may have.