Control panel enclosures: Custom VS. Standard
Most contemporary processing facilities have at least some automation in their equipment and processes. Engineering companies and technology telcos often create controls incorporated into packaged equipment provided by the original equipment manufacturer. Typically, control panels are built at a specialized facility and sent to the field for installation, or they are factory installed on original equipment manufacturers’ equipment.
CONTROL PANEL ENCLOSURE
For a control panel to be properly housed, it needs a particular enclosure. Suitable for indoor and outdoor use, it protects the control panel’s electrical components from damage and unwanted access.
Electrical, instrumentation, and control (EIC) system and panel design is a specialized work area.
Control Panel Requirements
While certain industrial control and instrumentation equipment do not require a protective enclosure, most EIC devices are mounted in control panels. In addition to protecting the equipment, control panels also safeguard personnel from the dangers of local ambient conditions, such as heat, cold, dampness, and pollutants.
The following is a list of major functions that are often performed by conventional industrial control panels:
- Providing an ideal context for control systems.
- Retaining workers from such gadgets to ensure their safety.
- Carrying out tasks involving the distribution of electricity and the transformation of voltage.
- It provides a centralized place that is easy to manage for human-machine interfaces (HMIs), programmable logic controllers (PLCs), input and output modules, and other associated components.
- Assisting motor control devices such as variable frequency drives (VFDs) and servo/motion controllers.
- It provides a space for communication channels and networking systems.
However, control panel designs must meet or surpass all mandates from specification papers, standards, laws, and other less formal techniques.
Components, Communications and Services
Control panel design essentials include electrical power requirements, input, output, networking signals, and a few other components necessary to accomplish these activities. This knowledge is essential for designers, but end-users should be able to synchronize what they have at the location with new control panels, including these fundamental requirements:
- The voltage and amps of the inbound electrical network and how these factors influence the short circuit current rating requirements. Usually, there will be a requirement for several electrical transmission circuitry or even a 480 VAC three-phase system that will be converted to various lower voltages inside the control panel enclosures.
- Digital I/O signal levels, 120 or 240VAC or 24VDC generated by the control unit, or dry connections for interface with various network types and configurations.
- Analog I/O signal levels between 4 to 20mA.
- Media and protocols for networking, such as serial, Fieldbus, Ethernet, and others.
- Motors and any other loads.
Panel designers typically find it beneficial to build a graphical representation depicting the interaction between these devices as they choose their components. After selecting the components to size the enclosure properly, it is necessary to design a rough layout estimate.
Understanding the thermal requirements is particularly critical for control panels. Most electrical and electronic components create heat, which can build up in an enclosure if not properly cooled. To keep the interior of the enclosure at the desired temperature and prevent humidity, designers must take into account all these aspects, frequently with the aid of sizing software.
Examination and Testing
Assembling and operating a control panel requires extensive testing to assure optimal operation. The panel manufacturer should be able to show that they have validated the parts used, the overall layout, appropriate labeling, and correct grounding when the assembly is done. For example, they should include evidence of point-to-point wiring testing, increasingly on interior components, and fundamental circuit and I/O signals being examined.
Beyond these basic tests, the most complex ones will exercise the functioning of PLC programs and verify communications to VFDs, HMIs, and other embedded systems. This analysis is more feasible for control panels placed on OEM equipment; however, several tests may be done on control panels for stick-built installation.
Once the dimensions and other relevant information have been gathered, it is time to select an enclosure that is appropriate for the location. Stainless steel and fiberglass choices may be necessary for wet regions or sites that must be cleaned and exposed to chemicals, while painted carbon steel is the standard and most cost-effective option. Special sterile enclosures may be required for food, drinking, and pharmaceutical installations susceptible to contamination.
CUSTOM OR STANDARD PANEL ENCLOSURE
OEMs must decide whether to purchase a standard panel or design a customized enclosure for heavy-duty equipment and machinery since the control panel enclosure affects protection, functionality, and economics. OEMs with engineering and metal fabrication skills can design and build custom enclosures in-house. Standard control panel enclosures may be purchased, or you can design your own and manufacture them by a third party.
We’ve weighed the advantages and disadvantages of both custom and standard control panel enclosures to assist OEMs in forming better opinions:
Custom Control Panel Enclosures
- The dimensions, apertures, hinges, and locking mechanisms will be precisely according to the customer’s requirements.
- The designers may give the enclosure more appealing aesthetics, which can be included in the corporation’s branding and contribute to an improvement in the machine’s comprehensive appearance.
- More Time Consuming
- Less Water & Weather Resistant in General
For today’s manufacturers, there are several advantages and disadvantages to customizing their products. An edge of a personalized enclosure is its ability to accommodate nearly any design concept beyond the box concept the OEM may have for the enclosure’s functionality, size, and aesthetics. Custom enclosures are more expensive and take longer to produce, but the added value they provide over a standard enclosure is usually worth the extra cost and effort. It is especially true if an OEM intends to employ the same custom control panel enclosure in large quantities. The enclosure’s price and lead time should stabilize once the design and production processes are in place.
Standard Control Panel Enclosures
- Easily accessible and even with shorter lead times
- Capable of withstanding water and other weather conditions along with other NEMA and IP Protocols
- Variations for dimension, style, and material are restricted to the basic set
- Secondary machining is typically required to add or resize holes to satisfy the OEM’s requirements.
Standard enclosures are far more readily available online and through a provider than custom enclosures. As a result, they may be purchased in larger quantities, and they’ll also be delivered more quickly. Though buying a conventional control panel enclosure up front may be less expensive and quicker, the OEM will almost certainly be required to complete the fabrication in-house before its installation. It’s crucial to consider the expenditures incurred when the conventional control panel enclosure arrives at the OEM’s site, whether the in-house work involves drilling a simple hole or something more sophisticated.
As a last consideration, the OEM should examine if the control panel enclosure will be visible on the product. So, if this is the case, a unique design can enhance the overall appearance. The OEM doesn’t have to spend any time or money on aesthetics if the enclosure is going to remain hidden.
YONGUBOX possesses the design and metal manufacturing capabilities necessary to supply OEMs with control panels and their enclosures of high quality, regardless of whether the enclosures are standard or custom.
YONGUBOX ELECTRONICS SUITED ALUMINIUM CASES
Now, the growth of the electrical need in every industry requires electrical control panel enclosures beginning in the middle of the 20th century and continuing ahead.
YONGUBOX’s aluminum enclosures enable manufacturers and designers to get the most out of the goods and projects they are working on by maximizing their potential.
It has 28 waterproof K series models, including the following specifications.
- K01A-K05A, full plastic protected plastic covers.
- K01B-K05B, half-protected plastic covers with aluminum end panels.
- K06-K10, half-protected plastic end covers.
- K11-K23, wall mounted flange and can use the sticker instead of the printing.
Structure & Key Features
- Good Extruded aluminum housing and ABS-protected covers.
- Excellent Shielding Attributes
- Dimensions, hole drilling, surface treatment, printing, etc., can be customized.
- Rugged and robust for heavy-duty use.
- Dustproof, Durable and can be used for a long time.
- Conductivity is achievable using contacts between unfinished inner surfaces.
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