Electrical Control Panel Manufacturer and Installation, Services

Control panel & cabinet design serves as the fundamental that allows the users to efficiently interact with all the industrial processes at one single platform. Most electrical control panels comprise high-quality power circuits and/or intricately designed control circuits that provide signals to help your equipment or machinery’s direct performance. 

The electrical control panels do not include any main power. Not just that, they do not include any controlled equipment as well. Rather, its panel is actually mounted on its subpanel or back panel or even an enclosure with regards to its application. 

What is an electrical control panel

In general, the OEM or Electrical Control Panels are industrial enclosures that are fabricated from hardy sheet metal that can either be completely open, semi-enclosed or even totally enclosed. These panels direct as well as control the electric power from and to the appliances and equipment in any company or industry. 

These control panels are often flat and vertical, where the monitoring or control instruments are generally displayed. It can also be defined as an enclosed body that is a faction of the system that the users can access at any time.

Why is an electrical control panel important

The OEMs are an essential component in the industrial electrification process. These panels help regulate the overall functionality of your electrical equipment. These electrical panels are fitted with critical relays and are used for the protection of the electrical equipment to ensure there is no damage due to overloading or short circuit.

Additionally, the OEMs are enclosures that are fabricated from sheet metals. They indicate the critical parameters such as current, voltage, PF, or frequency on the panel face. Moreover, these panels can also help regulate the overall power supply through the aid of circuit breakers and switches. 

What are the types of electrical control panel

There are multiple combinations of electrical control panels, and the basic types have been listed down here:
  • High Tension OEM Panels
  • Low Tension OEM Panels
  • Instrument OEM Panels
  • Lighting OEM Panels
  • Motor OEM Panels
  • Generator OEM Panels

Switchgears & control panels tend to form a section of the power distribution machinery & are popularly used in electricity distribution and power grid distribution system. Medium and low-voltage switchgear has been used in several industries like oil-gas, paper-pulp, and so on. Additionally, the high-voltage electrical switchgear tends to be mainly used in the power substations. These electrical circuits make use of capacitors in several electrical devices & also in the power distribution faction.

Rise in Demand and Stats for Electrical Control Panels

The increasing demand for power capacity add-on is surely boosting the requirement for different kinds of distribution machinery like control gears and switch gears. Today, there is a massive demand for efficient switchgear plce panel applications and control panels across end-users such as the construction industry, power generation, T&D, and so much more. Exceptional growth in the sectors like petrochemicals, oil-gas, cement, steel, as well as telecom has led to the demand for the switchgear and control panel industry. 

Additional factors that led to the demand for automotive and electrical control panels stem from stringent safety standards & increased equipment electrification—also, the increase in overall purchasing power aided in the growth of electrical control panels.

What are the prime components of an Electrical Control Panel

Control panels make up for an important section of any manufacturing process that is automated. Basically, the control panels are known to house a range of electronic devices known to provide signals for directing the machine and equipment operations. While the electrical control systems function as a fundamental section of the electrical engineering faction, most individuals aren’t aware of any of the control panel segments required to reliably and safely function in an industrial environment.

Here are some critical components that make up an important segment of the electrical control panels.
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Circuit Breakers

The circuit breakers help protect the electrical circuit panel from getting damaged via the detection of any excess current inflow. They open or break the circuit in order to halt the flow of current. This ensures that there are no accidents or fire hazards.

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Transformers

In any electrical control panel, the transformers help reduce as well as increase the AC voltage requirement between the circuits. The most common application known for the industrial panel transformer is the conversion of the incoming 480V,

Alternating Current to 120V Alternating Current to ensure that the housed devices within the panel can use it.
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Power Supply

The power supply component converts the AC or Alternating Current-voltage to the DC current voltage. Now, in the control panel, its power supply shall typically be converted from 480V/120V AC all the way to 24V DC. 

Disconnect Switch

Normally, a disconnect control panel switch comes in a range of styles & form factors. Their general purpose is a complete disconnection of the electrical control panel that stems from the electrical supply. Now, the common use of any disconnect switch

present in the control panel is shutting off the power going to your control panel in order to complete the maintenance and repairs & for the emergency stoppages.
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Relays

The relay present in the control panel is a magnetically or electronically operated switch designed to break or make contact in order to turn off or turn on the device. Most relays are typically designed to allow the low currents for the activation of higher currents.

 It can achieve activation by moving the panel’s lower current flowing through the input circuit & activating the electromagnet. Eventually, the panel’s charged electromagnet pulls its output circuit to be closed. This allows the panel’s output circuit to be closed. Ultimately, it helps allow the higher current flow through its output circuit.
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Terminal Blocks

These blocks are the connection points designed to join two or more wires together. One can also arrange the terminal blocks in a compiled strip-like form to help direct the power coming from one particular source to the multiple devices present and associated with the electrical control panel.

Overload Relay

The overload relay helps protect the electric motors present in the panel from overheating. This helps prevent the motor machine from pulling in more amperes than allowed by the overload. This occurs when the circuit’s motor is being saved by the circuit

breaker flowing with the higher ampere limit as compared to the full-load rating of the engine. Additionally, the panel’s overload relay helps protect the panel motor by aiding in opening up the circuit. The current starts to rise from 115 percent to 125 percent of the motor’s full-load rating.
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Contactors

Similar to the relay, the contactor helps switch the electrical current flowing through the panel to the on and off situation. The prime difference between the relay and the contactor is that the latter is generally larger & used in certain applications requiring higher current flow.

On the other hand, the relay is designed for the lower current flows. The common use for contactors involves controlling the electric motors that often pack in higher current loads.
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Motor Drives

While the electrical control panels have multiple variants of the motor drives, with each serving a particular purpose, the ultimate function of the same is to help operate the connected motor. The common motor variant drives that are used in the control panels do include aspects such as VFDs, soft starters, as well as servo drives.

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Fuses

A control panel’s fuse is the safety device designed to help protect the electrical circuit from getting overloaded by a current that is way too high. After the fuse has started operating, it tends to function as an open electrical circuit & needs to be replaced immediately.

Programmable Logic Controller (PLC)

The PLC or Programmable Logic Controller is a computer of the industrial level that is specifically designed to ensure proper control over the manufacturing processes like moving the machines or equipment on the assembly line.

The Programmable Logic Controllers are designed to be used with a certain computer language & are also designed to function in factory conditions, including high vibrations and noise levels. Further, in order to control the processes and equipment, the PLCs are designed to monitor the overall status of the sensor inputs for controlling the output processes such as HMI displays, motors, lights, valves, & solenoids.
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Motor Starters

The electrical control panel’s motor starter is equipment that is a combination of contractor & the overload relay that allows you complete control over the electrical output coming from the device’s motor during the startup process. It also helps provide overload

protection as the motor keeps operating. The motor starters often come with a commonly seen modular assembly & come with a manual switch to help get it on or off.
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Ethernet Switch

The industrial-level Ethernet switch helps allow an efficient communication amid the devices present within the electrical control panel like VFDs, PLCs, HMIs, or networked devices present outside the panel like the SCADA systems and information systems.

Electrical Control Panels: Descriptions

If the electrical control panels seem a new thing to you, one must learn about the first important thing associated with such panels. You need to understand the terms that are used for describing them. So, what are its major descriptions & how are they defined? Here is the best example of the right way to describe the critical attributes of control panels.

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Safety Ratings 3rd Party Certification for Safety = cULus or UL508A SCCR or Current Rating for Short Circuit = 5kA
Enclosure Ratings Material: 304 SS or Stainless Steel
NEMA Rating Outdoor NEMA 4X Mounting Type: Wall Mount Door Mechanism Type: Lockable Handle + 3-Point Latch for Door
Main Power Outgoing: 480V Power
Incoming Power 480V Three Phase via the Prime Circuit Breaker 480V Fan with 5.0 HP power through the motor starter 480V Pump with 1.0 HP power through the motor starter
Control Power 24V DC and 120V
Transformer 480V to 120V
Power Supply 120V to 24V DC
Outgoing Power 120V
Chemical pump via the power relay

Operator Devices: Door Mounted

  • Power
  • Fan
  • Breaker operator for the main circuit
  • Hand-off automated selector
  • Fan-operated light
  • Low-flow panel light
  • Pump-run light
  • Low-flow pump light
  • Sump Signet pH Meter
  • Running light
  • Chemical pump
  • Hand-Off-Auto Selector
  • Tank Light (Low-Level)
  • Running Light

Interface for Remote Control

  • Digital Inputs
  • System enabled contact
  • Digital outputs
  • System selector for remote contact
  • Running contact for fan
  • Chemical tank with low contact
  • Analog Output
  • pH signal coming from the door Mounted meter for pH check

Most control panels comprise controllers. These controllers can be DCS, PLC, relay, as well as similar variants. The controllers are responsible for transmitting digital input signals to MCC panels to turn on the motor. The working of the control panels is centred on the DCS/PLC program. Usually, all instruments are connected to the control panels. Also, indications are provided for interlocks in the control panel. Currently, separate panels are used for MCC and control panels. 

What made the PLC Automation Control Panels better than conventional systems is the ease of modification in logic, medium of remote communications, reduced size, along advances in technology. Control System Engineers are now providing complex as well as small I/O applications. For effective remote communication in several protocols, the engineers have invented better communication software.

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MCC Panel

MCC or moto control center panel comprises feeders for blowers and motors. While designing the feeders, motor rating is taken into consideration, and then the design begins accordingly. You’ll find manual/auto-provision in most MCCs. Not merely that, you’ll also find indicators in the control panel indicating the operation of the motor. In the case of auto-provision, one needs to feed the motor with an external signal to turn it on, and these signals are provided by control panels.

MCC is a collection of more than one or one enclosed section containing control units and a common power bus. In the current world scenario, motor control centers are an assembly of various motor starters. It can include programmable controllers, frequency drives, and metering.
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PCC Panels

Be it any electrical system: PCC panels are considered as the most integral part as the entire power of the industry is controlled from here. PCC panels of premium quality are manufactured and designed as per customer specifications. To ensure efficient performance, only the best quality busbar and switchgear are used. The PCC panel’s current rate ranges from 630A to 6300A. Safety is ensured by providing the best quality insulators.

If the customer needs backup protection, a space heater and thermostat can be provided for effective use of the control panel.
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APFC Panel

APFC Panels

APFC Panels are equipped with a programmable controller based on a microcontroller, which alters the capacitor banks automatically in several stages by reading the RKVA or reactive load, which again works on the VAR sensing principle to regulate the PF to 0.99 Lag. Based on the load, the capacitor banks will be selected from 4/6/8 stages. The modern network of power comprises a wide variety of power electronics and electrical loads.

In circumstances of varying loads, the power also varies according to the load. Therefore, using fixed capacitors makes it difficult to switch as per the load variations as one needs to change the capacitor manually. Such situations can lower the power factor and increase the demand chargers and the levy of penalties for power factor. Apart from failing to achieve the desired power factor, fixed compensation might also lead to the power factor because of certain load patterns. It’s also quite not healthy for the establishment as it might lead to saturated transformers, penalties levied by electricity authorities, overvoltages, and maloperation of diesel producing sets. Therefore, it’s important to ensure automatic variation to meet the load requirements without any manual intervention.  Well, this can be achieved by bringing Automatic Power Factor Correction (APFC) into use, which ensures consistent high power without manual intervention. In addition to that, it’ll also prevent the risk of leading power factor. So, it’s highly recommended to install APFC panels. It’ll help you avoid penalties & help reap benefits. To make sure the power factor remains following the load factor, the suitable capacity of capacitors needs to be connected. Existing PF and load are the factors on which the value of the capacitors depends. It varies according to them.
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LT Panels

Cable laying services such as installation, testing, along with commissioning of LT and HT cables in trays, pipes, and trenches, are available. In the industrial complex, cable laying is carried out by engineers or expert technicians who work on cable preparation, termination, commissioning, jointing, testing, troubleshooting, and maintenance tasks. When it comes to differentiating cable laying services, they vary as per capabilities such as services of cable laying for medium voltage,

a high voltage that’s up to 33 kV, or low voltage. Basically, an LT panel is a board of electrical distribution that gets power from a transformer or generator and then distributes it to several distribution boards and electronic devices. Such kinds of panels are usually used for external as well as internal use in industries. Therefore, they have been made quite tough to withstand the fluctuating climatic conditions.
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Control Panel Manufacturing Process

This process requires time to produce the electrical control panel accurately to order. For the manufacturer to be successful in control panel manufacturing, it requires a flexible process that makes the production accurate and quick. Apart from that, the manufacturing should also be equipped with great software, automated equipment for production, and experienced people.

Every step of the manufacturing process should provide data for the very next step. The workflow should be as follows:
Order Entry:

When a quote is converted to an order of control panel manufacturing, various things happen automatically, such as:

A snapshot of all sold data in the database is stored

Creation of a Job order in the database

Creation of a new Job Directory on the File Server

Move the sold Quote into the Job Directory

Shooting email containing Order Acknowledgement to certain customer contacts.

Design & Submittal generation

This step usually occurs before an order comes in. 

During the design preparation, the estimated components of the panel are reviewed and revised appropriately. In the next step, a blank panel drawing is automatically created in the panel design software. After that, panel components are automatically loaded into the panel design software. In short, automatically drawings are created and filled with components. 

While drawing the design, all the panel components are located on the Layout drawings, and then they’re interconnected with the Control, Power, & Field drawings. The panel design software keeps track of all components and also adds cross-reference data. 

After getting done with the design, and engineering submission is created by clicking on Produce Submittal. The last step is to send the engineering submission via mail for approval and review.

Pre-Production Review

After the approval, the panel design is reviewed by the Quality Control for the last time to make sure it’s ready for production. Before any part is ordered, this lowers the production delay by eliminating all issues. 

When the review process is completed, the earliest production date is determined. The date which was fixed as the production date is sent to all the vendors considering it as the delivery date. Each vendor is allowed to confirm whether the pricing of parts is appropriate or advise on how to improve it further. 

Once all the vendors’ responses come in, the production is scheduled, and all purchase orders are sent to vendors with the desired date of delivery and confirmed pricing one week before the production begins. 

Selected customers receive an automated order delivery schedule via mail. 

Production Start

Now that all the required date for control panel manufacturing has been prepared, the important step begins before parts’ arrival. This enables the manufacturer to shift when they come across some control panel manufacturing aspects to facilitate a delivery schedule. 

Preparation of wires for Final Assembly

Equipment from industrial wire processing is used to manufacture all wires. The wiring calculation program is run into the panel designing software to estimate the required lengths of wire by types such as gauge and color. After the estimation, the wiring data is imported into the wire machine, which then produces all the required cables according to the sequence.

Preparation of Device ID/ Nameplate/ Terminal Labels

Equipment of industrial color graphic printing is used along with industrial label material to manufacture all the labels. 

  • Identification labels for panels
  • Manufacturer Identification labels
  • Labels reflecting operator device
  • Labels showing the component device
  • Labels for terminal block
Final Assembly

In order to accommodate all DIN Rail, components, and wire duct according to the design drawings, drill and punch are the major factors.

Quality Control

Quality control testing comes once the production is completed. As said above, quality control reviews all the designs before production. So, now the job of quality control is to focus on ensuring every control pane is assembled according to the design drawing. 

Every physical aspect of the panel is inspected. The location of every physical device is compared with the design drawing. It’s ensured that everything is mounted according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. The Device ID, Panel ID, Operator Device, and Terminal Block labels are checked to make sure they’re oriented and mounted properly.

All the electrical aspects are also inspected. As wire connection data is pre-printed and each end is again pre-stripped according to the manufacturer’s recommended strip length, it’s checked whether the wire has landed properly or not. 

Shipping

Once the OC testing is over, an automated release to the shipping email is sent. This is how the customer is notified that their control panel has been prepared for shipment. In this way, the customer also gets a chance to alter the address for shipping. Photos are taken for all the panels that are ready for shipment. 

Photos verify how all the panels looked before shipment and helps deliver better assistance for troubleshooting if some problem arises. According to the shipment type, the panel is packed and is weighed. To help the customers determine if any damage has occurred to the package, a Drop N Tell indicator is applied. In case the shipment is very tall, it’s transferred on one truck, without any tamper seal to make sure there’s no opportunity to mishandle the product during shipment. 

Control Panel Basics

People are sometimes very curious about what electrical control panels are, what equipment and devices are used, how all the devices are wired, the normal temperature of the cabinet, how to maintain the panel, etc. So, let’s get into the basics and understand in-depth everything about the electrical control panel.

Size of the Control Panel

Did you know that control panels are named after the number of doors they have? Yes, you read that right. Here we’ll be discussing 2-door control panels. Control panels come in one-door, two-door, and three-door enclosures. The more devices and equipment you have, the bigger the control cabinet you’ll require.

Switched on the Door

You’ll notice some switches that connect directly to the PLC outputs and inputs on the very front.

Mute Buzzer

The very first switch you’ll come across on the control panel door is the Mute Buzzer. Whenever there’s an active alarm, this button should be pressed. When an active alarm flashes on the panel, the engineer, technician, or responsible authority on the factory should press this button to mute the buzzer and acknowledge the alarm. 

Now you might be wondering why do you need to stop the alarm? Well, it’s very simple. You obviously don’t need that loud annoying sound around you while you’re trying your best to solve the issue. 

Emergency push and ESD Reset button

Also known as E-Stop, the big red button is used to shut down the entire system if any emergency arises. Not only this button saves the system from any damage, but it also saves lives. Also, the big red button is covered with a guarding, known as a shroud. This prevents people from using it unintentionally. 

 Now how do you restart the system again? All you need to do is press the ESD reset switch or set off the alarm and run the system. 

Why should be the Emergency switch closed

For instance, let’s imagine that this is a normally open switch. This signifies that in a normal state, the button will be open until it’s pressed. Let’s say that you’re not aware that a wire is connected with the lower part is disconnected. If an emergency arises at this point and you press the E-Stop switch, it doesn’t work. 

Why? This is because you were not aware, but the wire was disconnected. A situation like this is too dangerous for everyone, and no one wants to get into it. So, the solution here is to place a normally closed switch. In this case, there will be a 24-volt signal that connects to the PLC input, providing an E-Stop healthy signal to safety systems or the PLC. 

Once the switch is pushed, all healthy signals will shut, and the PLC gets to know that the whole system should be shut down.

Lock mode of the emergency switch

The E-Stop switch that’s installed over the system gets into the lock mode when someone presses it. In order to get it back to normal mode, one can twist the switch, and it’ll get back again to normal mode. 

How are the switches connected to the PLC

You’ll notice that a switch is wired up to the PLX input at the backside of the door. There will be dual-colored wires. For instance, the blue wires are output signals and digital input, while the white cables are output signals and analog inputs. All these wires are coming out of the actuators and sensors and are connected with the PLC. 

Obviously, only the switches over the panel door are connected with the PLC. The rest of the actuators and sensors will get connected once it’s installed in the field. The E-Stop switch over the door connects to PLC’s digital input card, and it only senses off and on signals to the PLC input.

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