Industrial Automation Control System

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Industrial control system (ICS) is a general term that encompasses several types of control systems, including supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, Distributed Control Systems (DCS), and other \control system configurations such as skid-mounted Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) often found in the industrial sectors and critical infrastructures. ICSs are typically used in industries such as electrical, water and wastewater, oil and natural gas, chemical, transportation, pharmaceutical, pulp and paper, food and beverage, and discrete manufacturing (e.g., automotive, aerospace, and durable goods.) [1].

While control systems used in distribution and manufacturing industries are very similar in operation, they are different in some aspects. One of the primary differences is that DCS or |PLC-controlled sub-systems are usually located within a more confined factory or plant-centric area, when compared to geographically dispersed SCADA field sites. DCS and |PLC communications are usually performed using local area network (LAN) technologies that are typically more reliable and high speed compared to the long-distance communication systems used by SCADA systems. In fact, SCADA systems are specifically designed to handle long-distance communication challenges such as delays and data loss posed by the various communication media used. DCS and PLC systems usually employ greater degrees of closed loop control than SCADA systems because the control of industrial processes is typically more complicated than the supervisory control of distribution processes [1].


Standard Definition


Collection of personnel, hardware, and software that can affect or influence the safe, secure, and reliable operation of an industrial process[2].


Collection of personnel, hardware, software and policies involved in the operation of the industrial process and that can affect or influence its safe, secure and reliable operation [2].

See also



  • ERNCIP's Thematic Group on Case Studies for the Cyber-Security of Industrial Automation and Control Systems [1]