There are a lot of TLA’s — Three Letter Acronyms — to learn just to keep up with the conversation if two systems integrators are in the same room. This page attempts to alphabetically list and explain every technical abbreviation that you may come across in our industry.

  1. AFD – Adjustable Frequency Drive – Drives used to control equipment that require variable speed. Also known as ASD’s: adjustable speed drives, and VFD’s: variable frequency drives.
  2. CDU – Chemical Dispense Unit – these panels rely on a PLC to deliver various acids and chemicals to semiconductor etching tools.
  3. DHCP – Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol – Method computers use to auto-assign IP addresses so they can quickly join a network. Controls networks normally use static addressing schemes, in which DHCP is disabled on all hosts to give an integrator total control over addressing.
  4. DNS – Domain Name System – Network term describing how names can be translated into IP addresses.
  5. FAT – Final Acceptance Testing – Rigorous testing that occurs after the installation of new code or machinery to ensure that everything works as described in the drawings.
  6. FTP – File Transfer Protocol – This refers to any protocol by which two hosts can share share files with one another.
  7. HMI – Human Machine Interface – Controls term describing any interface that technicians use to operate equipment. Nowadays, this almost exclusively entails an LCD screen, now normally a touchscreen.
  8. HVAC – Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning – all processes relating to cycling air through an office or clean room fall in this category.
  9. I/O – Input/Output – The connections leading to and from a PLC via input and output modules attached to the chassis.
  10. IP – Internet Protocol. You really only hear this in the term “IP address,” which refers to a computers address in a network.
  11. IT – Information Technology – Repairing any part of a network or its hosts falls into this field of work.
  12. LAN – Local Area Network – The LAN is comprised of every host on the “inside” of your router on the same subnet as your reference device.
  13. MAC – Media Access Control – the number assigned to every network-capable device when they leave the factory, used in networking to determine device identity. Unlike IP addresses, MAC addresses cannot be changed without an immense effort.
  14. OCD – Obsessive Controls Disorder – Welcome to our world.
  15. PID – Proportional-Integral-Derivative – Method of using past, present, and predicted error to tune a feedback loop.
  16. PLC – Programmable Logic Controller – Lower tech, but ultra-high durability computer capable of managing input and output data for controls environments for several decades.
  17. SCADA – Supervisory Controls and Data Acquisition – Software that monitors activity in a PLC and reports it to a desktop or HMI for recording or operator manipulation.
  18. SI – Systems Integration – The art of making computers talk to each other.
  19. SQL – Structured Query Language – The de facto computer language used when working in databases.
  20. SSH – Secure Shell – Peer tunneling software that allows hosts to communicate securely using encrypted data over an otherwise insecure network.
  21. SSL – Secure Sockets Layer – A security standard that allows for encrypted traffic in the transport layer of internet communication.
  22. TCP – Transmission Control Protocol – Standard transport layer protocol for delivering ordered, error-checked data between two hosts.
  23. TLS – Transport Layer Security – Security standard created to fix the vulnerabilities associated with SSL. TLS 1.2 is the current web standard for secure traffic.
  24. UDP – User Datagram Protocol – A low latency data delivery protocol that does not do error-checking of any kind, nor acknowledgments of packet reception. This allows it to be faster for environments that can allow data to be lost. File transfers use TCP because it is lossless, but a video call would use UDP because not every packet is necessary to perform the task.
  25. VNC – Virtual Network Computing – Software that allows one host to operate on another computer over a network. VNC programs allow integrators to access important computers remotely for more quicker response times in applications that require them.
  26. VPN – Virtual Private Network – VPN’s allow distant hosts to communicate as if they were connected to the same private network, when in reality they are not. The implementation of a VPN is another way to enable remote access on controls networks.

Know another controls acronym that you think should be apart of this list? Send us an email and let us know!


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