Electrical Control Panel

An electrical control panel is a mechanism used in industries and organizations to expedite different processes through automation. These electrical control panels are custom-made for every organization based on their processes and requirements. Although these control panels are customized for a user’s need, the basic components of a control panel remain the same. In today’s article, we will talk briefly about the electrical control panel basics.

Important Components

1. Cables

Cables are wires that connect each component of an electrical control panel with each other. The cables that are used to connect the motor and panels to the main supply are known as power cables. The cables that are connected within the different components are known as control cables.

2. Overload Relay

An overload relay performs the task of protecting the main motor from getting over-loaded with the current. This relay trips when the current load exceeds the danger limit set by an engineer.

3. Timer

A timer is a component that is similar to the relay. The timer has a delay for actuation in which you can manually delay the time to start delta conversion.

4. Bus Bar

A bus bar is a component made of aluminum. It distributes the incoming supply to other parts of the control panel.

5. Miniature Circuit Breakers

A miniature circuit breaker is a component that is fixed before the feeder. Miniature circuit breakers should be selected based on the feeder’s capacity.

6. Mould Case Circuit Breaker

A mould case circuit breaker is attached to high capacity feeders for enhanced protection.

7. Earth Leakage Circuit Breaker

An earth leakage circuit breaker is another protection component that is used to protect the control panel against the earth leakage and residual current.

8. Starters

A starter is needed in a control panel to safely start the motors. A starter can either be direct-on-line or star-to-delta. A direct-on-line starter applies full line voltage to the motor and a star-to-delta runs a delta connected stator winding.

9. Incomer

An incomer is also known as a switch fuse unit. The current supply is connected to an incomer and allows the current to pass when turned on. In case of a fault, this incomer will automatically trip.

10. Selector Switch

A selector switch allows a user to choose the mode of operation and turn it on or off. These modes include automatic mode and manual mode.

11. Contactor

A contactor works as a connector in a control panel. It actuates the signals sent by the controller to different parts and initiates the process.

Design Basics

1. Decide the Structure

The very first step in designing an electrical control panel includes creating an exact structure of what you need. Create accurate physical layout drawings and also create the schematics. Check the physical environment of the place where you are going to place the control panel and accordingly create the structure with appropriate sizes. Ensure that you take into consideration all the electrical safety codes when creating a structure.

2. Decide Power Circuits

Next, you need to decide the power circuits for your control panel. Classify each power circuit available with you and accordingly decide what would be the size of the wire to be used with each circuit. If the wire is not sized appropriately, the load current delivery will be affected, and the control panel may get heated. You also need to choose the power component according to the type of function you want the control panel to perform and the voltage of the power needed.

3. Use Control Mechanism

The electrical control panel design should always start with first considering simple components such as timers and relays. If in case these components are not sufficient, you should consider programmable logic controller or programmable smart relay. However, if you do choose to use these advanced controllers, you will have to set up a computer to manage these controllers as these generally run through different software.

4. Decide Operation Device

After you have decided on a controller for your electrical control panel, you need to choose the operator type for your control panel. You can opt for simple operators such as pilot lights, digital meters of push buttons. However, if you plan to create a more sophisticated set up for your control room, you can use color screen touch display as a manual operator or the Human Machine Interface. Do keep in mind that if you opt for a color screen touch display, you will require a computer to operate the operator as it will be software based.

5. Do Not Compromise

You would not want faulty control panels to create havoc in your processes. So when you plan your electrical control panel, ensure that you only opt for the best products and components. There are multiple companies providing different variants of the same control panel components. What differentiates these variants are the voltages, sizes, build and performances. If you have the knowledge to choose the right one, then choose wisely. However, if you have confusions regarding what components to choose and which brand to select then taking professional help is essential.

An electrical control panel is an equipment that is needed in almost every other industry today thanks to industrial automation. In fact, control panels have quickly become a popular choice in manufacturing processes, mining processes, etc. So if you need to setup control panels for your industrial process, get an electrical control panel designed for your organization from control panel engineers in Edmonton.

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