D/3 Distributed Control System (DCS)

D/3 Version 16: Next-Generation Performance for the Long Haul

D3v16 opens new horizons of reliability and ease of use for the DCS with the highest lifetime value in the industry.

D3v16 is the first release to harness the next-generation Process Control Module 5 (PCM5) Series’ native Cyber Security and virtualization capabilities. Numerous enhancements to MDL Builder, D3Express, and other system software make it easier for users to develop control strategies and optimize system performance. D3v16 preserves existing investments while paving the way for the future.

Secure, Open and Fully Redundant Architecture

The D/3 utilizes off-the-shelf servers and network hardware along with our Process Controllers and 8000 Series I/O to create a remarkably reliable, scalable, Cyber Secure and fully redundant System Architecture.

Modular and Standardized Programming

D/3 uses Sequence and Batch Language (SABL) to manage sequential, batch and continuous processes together, allowing the complete integration of all process components into a single programming environment.  This makes changes much easier to develop and deploy than in distributed “Islands of Automation” topologies.   NovaTech Applications Engineers apply our own best practices and client’s corporate standards into programming standards that ensure the long term maintainability of all applications by incoming personnel.

Continuous Migration Path

D/3 is the only process control system to have never forced a platform migration on its end users. We’ve maintained backwards compatibility for user applications while continuously incorporating new technologies and capabilities in easy-to-manage, stepwise upgrades that can be implemented without process interruption.

“The D/3 has been controlling sterilizers, lypholizers, fluid bed dryers, coating pans, manufacturing tanks, air handling units, and much, much more on this site for over 30 years.  What other system… can make that claim?” – Gary D

System Capabilities

Integrated Continuous, Batch and Sequential Automation

The unit-relative and object-oriented SABL programming language offers a higher level of integration, granularity and application versatility compared to simpler control languages.  While new D/3 users may find it intimidating, experienced users often cite SABL as the most powerful and essential aspect of the D/3’s capability to handle the most complex process challenges, year after year. Users develop automation projects with graphical, object-oriented authoring of Master Device Logic for pumps, motors, valves. Thousands of devices can use (or “instance”) the logic of the master device, and users need only specify differences (such as tag name and I/O address) for each subsequent device, or “instance” the entire unit (including all of its logic) in “like” units, thereby using one set of programs for multiple units.  These features significantly reduce code generation, maintenance, and validation costs for new plants or plant expansions. As a result, new products developed faster, regulatory requirements are easier to meet, and products are manufactured consistently and at the lowest possible cost. FlexBatch users can develop, schedule, manage, document and centrally maintain recipes for globally distributed plants without engineering or IT personnel. FlexBatch exceeds the ISA S88 and IEC 61512 standards for batch control.


Plant operators, engineers, and managers can easily create, modify, and access process data through a combination information-dense process graphics, intuitive browser-like system configuration and maintenance dialogues, and web and mobile KPI dashboards. TotalVision HMI screens can mimic older style production graphics alongside modern High Performance HMI screens, and users can drag-and-drop Smart Graphical Objects from a library of thousands or easily create their own.  The ProcessVision console provides engineers with browser-like system navigation from the entire plant down to a specific loop.  The D3Express is a read-only thin client optimized for mobile views that tracks specific loops and other KPIs on-the-go.


Users can assign 256 alarm categories and 256 priorities, filter and sort alarms, display multiple alarm windows, inhibit downstream alarms and adjust alarm classifications based on the status of your process areas.  Systems are designed in accordance with ANSI 18.2 Alarm Management standards.  Additional audit and rationalization functions are available with our integration of PAS’ PlantStateSuite software.


The D/3 TrendR data historian securely and efficiently captures virtually any field related to TAG or batch or continuous plant operation into single or redundant archives.  Users track real time operational performance, analyze historical KPI data and create an unlimited number of trended data into meaningful displays.  Users can view multiple trend displays at each operator workstation and as embedded within TotalVision process graphics.


Reports are manually generated or automatically triggered based on plant operational status. Batch reports may be automatically started at batch initiation to capture all KPI data for each vessel, unit operations, a log of all events including operator comments, program print statements, and any abnormalities in allocated equipment. Diagnostic, informational and shift reports can be scheduled or manually triggered to identify abnormal system characteristics, find where a specified tag is used, or find spare I/O modules.  Shift change reports identify all tags in manual mode, all off-scan tags, all forced tags, all devices in override, and all devices with faults so that an incoming operator is quickly informed and can make better decisions.

Product Tracking

Product tracking displays allow users to determine key start and stop times, what equipment or process units are being used for a batch or production run, what recipe is being used, targets and actuals for each recipe variable, and what step of the process each unit is in.

Data Integration

All process data is made available in industry standard formats like ODBC, DCE, OPC, and standard C++ data access techniques to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Supply Chain Planning (SCP), equipment control and Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS). Legacy islands of automation within the plant can be accessed and integrated more easily than you might expect with the OrionLX automation platform.


NovaTech 8000 Series Ethernet I/O operates within a -40ºC to +70ºC temperature range and meets ISA G3 corrosion resistance, is HART capable and available in a 1-to-6 redundancy configuration. D/3 also directly supports I/O from Schneider and Siemens, and protocols include Modbus/TCP, EtherNet/IP, Foundation Fieldbus, and DF-1.


Ensure compliance with such industry recognized standards as S72, ODBC, OPC, S88, and IEC-61512. I/O hardware offered with D/3® is UL, FM, and CE approved for use internationally.

Lowest Total Cost of Ownership

D/3 keeps automation costs at a minimum through a “No Hassle” licensing policy, standard programming methodologies, embedded simulation capabilities, and the ability to modify and upgrade software without process interruption.  

  • Introducing FlexBatch 5.0

    FlexBatch integrates recipe management and the automation layer so operators can quickly and easily develop, scale up, modify and schedule batch manufacturing recipes for products ranging from beer to chocolate to specialty chemicals and more. FlexBatch delivers shorter time to first batch, reduced changeover times, increased throughput and production yield. New and existing products are brought to market faster and at lower cost, providing a strategic and financial advantage. Production staff can execute library procedures to overcome process upsets. All of which means a more nimble, responsive, and profitable process.

    July 5, 2017

  • Planning an Effective I/O Upgrade

    Reviewing the benefits, considerations, and steps required to migrate legacy I/O subsystems to NovaTech 8000.

    This webinar focused on NovaTech 16000 and Modicon Quantum, and touch on Siemens 505, Rockwell 1771, and Modicon 200.

    Topics Covered:
    * Hardware installation alternatives
    * Wiring options
    * Software considerations
    * Proven implementation strategie

    April 20, 2017

  • A one-minute-long, time-lapse video that shows the replacement of Quantum I/O with NovaTech 8000 I/O at the DAK Americas PET plant in Cosoleacaque, Mexico. By prefabricating fully populated and tested panels and then shipping them directly to the job site, NovaTech was able to utilize much of the existing field terminations and cabinet wiring, thereby reducing the installation time.

    March 28, 2017

  • D3v15 Webinar

    The latest release of the D/3 Distributed Control System includes new configuration tools that make the system easier for new and existing users. The webinar covers building tags with MDL Builder, writing automation code with D3Edit, web-accessible History and Reports, features to facilitate migration to High-Performance HMI, and OSIsoft PI integration.

    March 24, 2016

  • D/3 Distributed Control System Overview

    This video introduces the D/3, the Distributed Control System trusted by many Fortune 100 companies to keep their global operations’ continuous and batch processes running smoothly and efficiently. Part one reviews the system architecture and configuration tools.

    November 21, 2014

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