Industrial control panels (ICPs) are a combination of control and/or power circuits mounted within an enclosure. Industrial control panels can include various components such as circuit breakers, fused disconnect switches, overload relays, motor controllers, and much more. At Turner Integrated Systems, we are a leader in industrial control system integration, and we can build a custom ICP based on your specific needs. With our design, fabrication, and installation capabilities, we can offer a full-service solution built to the highest quality standards.
Industrial Control Panel Basics
ICPs operate at less than 600V, and they rely on power and/or control circuits to provide the signals needed to direct the controlled equipment. However, ICPs do not include controlled equipment and do not provide the main source of power.
ICPs are typically mounted on or within a subpanel or enclosure. These enclosures must be designed to protect the sensitive electrical components contained within while ensuring easy access for troubleshooting and maintenance. Safety is crucial when designing an Industrial control panel. This is why various codes and standards exist for Industrial control panel manufacturers to adhere to, such as:
- Codes and standards. To ensure optimal safety and quality, ICPs must meet certain codes and standards. For example, UL508A is a safety standard that specifically applies to ICPs. There are also various NEMA and IP ratings that ICPs can be given based on their ability to resist the infiltration of moisture and dust.
- Worker Safety. Industrial control panels have to comply with standards set by NFPA 70E, OSHA, and other protection agencies to ensure employees are protected from high voltages required to run the Industrial control panel and related equipment.
- Short circuit current rating (SCCR). The NEC requires that all ICPs be clearly marked with its SCCR, which refers to the amount of fault circuit current an ICP can withstand before causing a shock or fire hazard.
- Equipment protection. To ensure the longevity and protection of your Industrial control panel equipment, it’s important to take the appropriate measures regarding maintenance, overcurrent protection, and grounding.
Understanding Industrial Control Panels
Even the best-designed ICPs can be found non-compliant with regulatory requirements. To ensure compliance, it’s crucial to carefully consider component selection as well as the panel’s specific application. Other key considerations include:
- Equipment heat dissipation/enclosure cooling. Heat is generated by the various electrical components contained within an Industrial control panel. Since this heat can be harmful to equipment, it’s important to incorporate enclosure cooling products that effectively dissipate heat.
- Space requirements. When designing an Industrial control panel, it’s important to consider the environment, placement, and space constraints of your application. There must be enough space around the panel to allow for wiring and wire bending. You must also account for swing requirements for the cabinet’s door.
- Wire sizing and component types. To ensure optimal safety and performance, wire size should be chosen based on load current, and wires should have the appropriate circuit protection. Component types should be chosen based on functional requirements as well as voltage and load current requirements.
- Control components and circuits. Control components can include terminal blocks, timers, relays, and more. When selecting the right control components for your application, choose the simplest option possible. Control circuits provide the signal needed to control equipment and are often low-voltage for safety.
- Operator devices. Operator devices include levers, indicator lights, pushbuttons, digital panel meters, and more. When choosing the best operator devices, select the option that provides ease of use while also supporting the functional requirements of your ICP. Industrial control panels should also incorporate an emergency stop to ensure safety.
Industrial Control Panels from Turner Integrated Systems
Industrial control panels provide control for your facility’s machinery and equipment. To ensure superior performance and compliance with strict industry standards, ICPs must be designed based on the specific needs of your application. At Turner Integrated Systems, we have experience providing custom-designed industrial control systems for customers in a range of industries. Our engineers work with you to develop the best possible control panel design for your needs. To learn more about our Industrial control panel, design, fabrication, and installation services, contact us today.