History of DCS manufacturers

World's first distributed control system

Distributed Control systems have been part of the automation of processes in a large scale of production plants for years. The application of DCSs varies from energy, chemical, petrochemical, oil and gas,  and steel and paper plants. Many companies were involved in creating the DCS industry as it is today. Leading companies are ABB, Honeywell, Rockwell, Invensys, Siemens, Emerson and Yokogawa. These companies have all been developing control systems for more than 100 years (table below).

Company                             Founded
ABB 1851 (Merged to ABB in 1988)
Honeywell 1906
Rockwell 1903
Invensys 1819 (Merged to Invensys in 1999)
Siemens 1847
Emerson 1890
Yokogawa 1915


This first distributed control system was manufactured and implemented in 1975, 42 years ago. This concerns the first Yokogawa CENTUM. The functionality of the control system was divided in three components.

  • Human-machine interfaces
  • Control bus
  • Controllers

Yokogawa combined these components by naming it a distributed control system (DCS). The companies that were mentioned before followed in their footsteps and are now the world’s leading DCS manufacturers. Many DCS systems that were installed during the late 1980s and the early 1990s have officially reached the end of their natural lifespan, after 20 years of use. Some of these DCSs have functioned well for 30-40 years. The functions of new DCSs have made much progress throughout the years. For many companies, DCS migration will be inevitable in the coming years. Considering the costs of unplanned stops and the benefits of adopting the latest, more advanced functions that a new distributed control system will bring them.

5 reasons to start DCS migration now! »