Commercial control panel design and manufacture

Whether commercial or industrial, control panels by definition control the flow of electricity to the different machinery within each specific workplace. Whether a packaging factory or an industrial assembly line, such machinery is often very expensive, powerful and in need of a reliable means of control to ensure safety for the user and reduce the risk of machine breakages. There are a number of safety requirements and regulatory standards to be adhered to before a panel can be built, which is why we ensure a meticulous approach is applied to the design process.

Meeting all specifications set out by the client, adhering to the necessary standards whilst making functionality a priority, has to be a careful process. We take numerous elements into consideration during the development of each individual control panel, all of which should reflect the primary specifications. Below we will discuss the most common component considerations needed in control panel design and which aspects need to be weighed-up as part of the process.

How we approach commercial control panel design

With dangerous and expensive machinery involved in most of the processes our control panels are built to govern, safety is our number one priority, right from the design stage. The end goal is to have an interface which allows for the safe control of a particular process, often involving complicated machinery. Designing begins with an initial evaluation of the primary requirements and functions of the control panel. From which the schematics can effectively outline the specific configuration of components such as circuitry, switches, wiring and controls.

The detailed diagram created during this process will contain all of the necessary information for the control panel builder to correctly construct the panel, involving a design for the electrical components and wiring, but also include a diagram detailing how the panel should look physically.

Components for commercial control panels

The components ultimately incorporated into the control panel will have been carefully considered during the design stage. Which products are used will depend on the specifics of that particular project, output and load, functionality, environment and budget are normally the deciding factors in which components are included. Below, we explain how those things

Casing, size and environment

Both the type of casing and the size of the control panel will be governed by the intended environment. First and foremost, the actual physical space available on the factory floor will naturally dictate the overall size of the control panel. Warmer environments will need easily-accessed ventilation and cooling facilities, particularly for temperature sensitive panels. In harsh and cold environments, appropriate casing will need to be considered to ensure longevity. There are strict rules governing spacing between wires within a control panel, affecting the size of the panel. Whilst the space around the panel has to ensure comfortable operating room for the user, which will often be dictated by the workspace environment.

Wiring gauge and load current

Both the components and wire used in the circuitry within the control panel must be capable of carrying the necessary voltage and load current running through the control panel. The protection of the circuit is provided by the insulation surrounding each wire, that gauge of insulation is governed by the size of the current running through the circuitry. Appropriate insulation and spacing between wiring will ensure safe running operation of your control panel.

Means of control

The simplest and most traditional control methods include push buttons, levers and indicator lights. However, over the years, technology has improved, manufacturing processes have become more complicated as the products they create become equally, more complicated. To allow engineers better control over the processes in their industry, the means of control for panels has moved with these advances in technology. HMIs (Human Machine Interfaces) and PLCs (Programmable Logic Controllers) tend to drive the price of a panel build higher than simpler means of control – so to save going over budget, we ensure that expensive components are installed where necessary, not flippantly.

Control panel design, manufacture and installation

In some industries, designing, assembly (or manufacture) and installation are completed by separate companies. However, in our considerable experience, it often pays to have the company who planned your control panel assemble and install it too. Not all control panel companies offer such a comprehensive service, but DualTEC are a team comprised of time-served electrical engineers, with over two decades of experience in every stage – from start to finish. Whether using the latest EPLAN design software to plan your control panel, assembly in our purpose outfitted facility in West Yorkshire or delivery and installation to your facility – DualTEC have the capabilities to do so. If you have any questions or are looking to enquire about any of control panel services in 2020, get in touch on: 01535 609314 or email us on: 01535 609314 or email us at: info@dualtec.co.uk