Industrial Control Panel Design

What you need to know about industrial control panel design

Industrial control panels serve the same function as most control panels do – to control the flow of electricity to a variety of different machines and pieces of equipment. The machinery in an industrial environment 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 whole host of safety requirements and regulatory standards to be adhered to before a panel can be built, which is why industrial control panel design must be carefully considered.

Where to start when designing an industrial control panel

The control panel design process for industrial equipment cannot be underestimated, safety is paramount on the factory floor and as such – the control panels must reflect this from the very start, 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. Because of this, it isn’t quite as simple as choosing an enclosure for the control panel components and a back panel for housing the electrical components.

Proper configuration must be adhered to at all costs to avoid malfunctioning machinery, so the appropriate hardware must be mounted on to a back panel and then integrated into the machine itself. This way risk to the operator is minimised. Designing the panel should result in a detailed diagram containing the necessary information for the control panel builder to accurately construct a suitable panel.

This not only means including a design for the electrical components within the panel, but also the physical layout and how it should look. An initial evaluation of the primary requirements and functions of the control panel should form the foundation of the design process. From that then the schematics can effectively outline in detail the specific configuration of components such as circuitry, switches, wiring and controls.

Basic contents of an industrial control panel wiring diagrams

Specifications for a control panel diagram may differ from company to company, builder to builder. But generally speaking, the basic components of a control panel design are as follows:

  • There should be a functional diagram that details the components of the control panel and how it can be operated
  • There should also be a diagram detailing where, how and to what extent the input and output power enters and leaves the control panel
  • The distribution of power throughout the components within the control panels should also be included in the schematics
  • The layout of the cabinet and back panel should have its own diagram, this way the builder can create the panel to look the way it should as well as function correctly
  • Table of contents and an itemised bill for the cost of components – there can be a great many parts involved in an industrial control panel, so providing a contents of what goes where and how much each item could cost can be invaluable to a builder

Component considerations for industrial control panel design

Of course there are a plethora of considerations to keep in mind when choosing the necessary components for an industrial control panel, each of which depends on the requirements of that particular control panel. We’ll be going into more detail about the different choices a control panel designer is faced with regarding components next month. In the meantime, if you should have any further questions regarding control panel design for industrial applications, or any other sector, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. You can reach us via our website, by email or you can contact us on 0153 5609 314.