Distributed Control Systems

DCS suppliers are defining a new generation of products in which industrial control systems will be virtualized and “software-defined” to a much greater degree than today.  In parallel, the largely end user-driven Open Process Automation Forum (OPAF), an effort initiated by ExxonMobil in 2016, seeks to define “a standards-based, open, secure, and interoperable process control architecture that applies across multiple process industries.”  The functions of any DCS in today’s plants could be replaced by these new systems, which consist of both servers and small automation edge devices.  ExxonMobil sees its existing ICS applications moving gradually from the installed DCS to these small devices or to on-premise, high-availability servers that can virtualize them.

OPAF focuses on standardizing systems for ISA95 level 1 and 2 functions.  These are basic inputs and outputs from field devices and regulatory control function block execution.  Today, these functions are performed in proprietary DCS and PLC process controllers, which are sized to support roughly 100 to 1,000 function blocks each.  ExxonMobil and other end user firms envision automation systems with many more, but much smaller, process controllers.  These smaller hardware devices would control as few as one to two loops each, creating what are in effect microservices for process automation.

DCS Suppliers Continue to Invest in Virtualized Solutions

A growing set of ICS products are becoming available to develop application software and test systems in a fully virtualized environment.  To shorten and simplify field integration work, DCS and PLC suppliers have developed these virtualized solutions to be able to fully develop and test an ICS installation without requiring any of the target system hardware.  With this capability in hand, the ability to virtualize an operational (proprietary) DCS is not far off.  ARC expects multiple suppliers to offer it soon.  In fact, examples are already on the market.  In 2017, GE introduced a new “Industrial Internet Control System” (IICS).  While most attention has focused on GE’s new Predix platform, its IICS virtualizes many industrial automation functions formerly implemented in proprietary GE hardware.  ARC expects to see many similar automation products emerge in the future; one early example is the emulation/virtualization of 1980s era Honeywell LCNs (Local Control Network) in a product named the “ELCN.”
 

Distributed Control Systems Strategic Issues

Distributed Control Systems Market Data Workbook

In addition to providing a five-year market forecast, the Distributed Control Systems Market Research provides detailed quantitative current market data and addresses key strategic issues as follows.

Strategic Issue for Users: Become Involved in the Open Process Automation Forum (OPAF)

Following the success of the OPAF proof-of-concept project, ARC encourages end user organizations across the process industries to learn more about the initiative and – if deemed appropriate for their applications – join the OPAF as a member and, if possible, participate in the upcoming testbed research and on-process field trials.  This would provide both an opportunity to get a head start toward achieving a long-term resolution to the chronic automation system obsolescence and interoperability issues faced by many process manufacturers and influence the direction of this technology as it develops. OPAF is a forum of The Open Group.

Strategic Issue for Suppliers: Keep Your Eye on Cloud Software Development Technology

DCS suppliers should keep an eye on the developments made in cloud software tools and their potential impact on the DCS business, because what’s “up there” is not going to stay up there forever.  ARC envisions a convergence in the different classes of software (and software development) over the forecast period of this report.  Historically, the market has worked with several different classes of software development where each class required unique tooling and deployment.  ARC feels this will change as software development tools based on cloud technologies will come to dominate and drive convergence.  Furthermore, this convergence will take place at a pace driven by open source development, not the far slower pace of software development characteristic of the industrial automation industry.

Strategic Issue for All Market Participants: Economic Decline Due to COVID-19  

The COVID-19 outbreak has caused disruptions to global supply chains and business operations.  While the pandemic did not impact the 2019 demand for distributed control systems, the market projections do take into account industry trends with ARC’s best estimates for how the COVID-19 pandemic will impact the distributed control systems market in different vertical industries.  
 

 

DCS Study Formats and Editions Available

This market study may be purchased as an Excel Workbook and/or as a PDF File.  The Workbook has some unique features such as the ability to view data in local currency.  Regional studies include country and industry market data.  Country studies include market trends and industry data.  Studies and formats available are listed below:  

MIRA Workbook PDF File
Worldwide (includes regional data) Yes Yes
North America (includes country data) Yes No
Latin America (includes country data) Yes No
Europe, Middle East, Africa (includes country data) Yes No
Asia (includes country data) Yes No
Country Profiles (includes country data) No Yes

Countries included in each region.

Table of contents for these studies is shown in the following paragraphs.

Worldwide Research Focus Areas

Strategic Analysis

  • Major Trends
  • Industry Trends
  • Regional Trends
  • Strategies for Success

Competitive Analysis

  • Market Shares of the Leading Suppliers
  • Market Shares by Region
    • North America
    • Europe, Middle East, and Africa
    • Asia
    • Latin America
  • Market Shares by Revenue Category
    • Hardware
    • Software
    • Services
  • Market Shares by Hardware Type
    • Controllers
    • I/O
    • Workstations
    • Networking Hardware
  • Market Shares by System Size
    • Small
    • Medium
    • Large
  • Market Shares by Service Type
    • Operations
    • Project Management
  • Market Shares by Application
    • Batch
    • Continuous Process
    • Quality
    • Supervisory Control
  • Market Shares by Project Type
    • New Construction
    • Replacement
    • Upgrade/Expansion
  • Market Shares by Industry
    • Cement & Glass
    • Chemical
    • Electric Power Generation
    • Food & Beverage
    • Metals
    • Mining
    • Oil & Gas
    • Pharmaceutical & Biotech
    • Pulp & Paper
    • Refining
    • Water & Wastewater
  • Market Shares by Sales Channel

Market Forecasts and Histories

  • Total DCS Business
  • Shipments by Region
    • North America
    • Europe, Middle East, and Africa
    • Asia
    • Latin America
  • Shipments by Revenue Category
    • Hardware
    • Software
    • Services
  • Shipments by System Size
    • Small
    • Medium
    • Large
  • Shipments by Hardware Type
    • Controllers
    • I/O
    • Workstations
    • Networking Hardware
  • Shipments by Service Type
    • Operations
    • Project Management
  • Shipments by Industry
    • Cement & Glass
    • Chemical
    • Electric Power Generation
    • Food & Beverage
    • Metals
    • Mining
    • Oil & Gas
    • Pharmaceutical & Biotech
    • Pulp & Paper
    • Refining
    • Water & Wastewater
  • Shipments by Application Type
    • Batch
    • Continuous Process
    • Quality
    • Supervisory Control
  • Shipments by Project Type
    • New Construction
    • Replacment
    • Upgrade/Expansion
  • Shipments by Sales Channel

Industry Participants
Profiles of the major suppliers servicing this market are included.

Regional Research Focus Areas

Strategic Analysis

Competitive Analysis

  • Leading Suppliers in Region
  • Industry Shares in Region
  • Country Shares in Region
  • Leading Suppliers by Industry

Market History & Forecast Analysis 

  • Market History & Forecast by Country
  • Market History & Forecast by Industry

Industry Participants

List of countries & currencies included in each region: MIRA-Country

Contact us for the countries available for this study,

For More Information

For more information or to purchase the Distributed Control Systems study, please contact us.