The basics of electrical control panel design
The basics of electrical control panel design are pretty simple. What most people seek is a cost-effective system that looks good, has simple controls and offers reliable operation. A simple panel design is cheaper to make and far easier to operate and maintain.
Design is a process and what you think you want at the offset, often morphs into something else along the way and when you complete the design. Remember that design is an ongoing process that takes time to perfect.
Plan out what you want at the start, so your thoughts are clear and organised and written in clear language. That’s when you can proceed with the real hardware design.
- Begin with the physical
A control panel design includes both electrical and physical needs. You should always start with physical layout drawings as part of the design process. Switch between the electrical and physical until all possible issues have been solved. Accurate physical drawings help to lessen potential problems occurring that might present themselves during production or testing.
- Analyse power circuits
Identify all the power circuits and decide which wire size and circuit protection to use. Choosing the right wire size makes sure the circuit can provide the desired load current. Having the right circuit protection also ensures that wiring can’t overheat and cause a fire.
It is then time to decide which power component type should be used depending on the function, making sure the right size is chosen for load current and voltage.
- Using the best control type
Simple control components should come first, such as timers and relays, for example. If these don’t provide enough functionality, consider using a Smart Relay or a Programmable Logic Controller. These components require access to a computer and programming software, and someone who understands how to program in the required functions.
- Use the best products
Take the lead from experienced control panel designers and always choose the best Electrical Control Components in each category. This is subjective based on experience and reviews, but quality Electrical Control Components Ireland can be found at OSM Electrical.
- Choose the best operator device
It’s always best to start with simplest operator devices, such as pilot lights, push buttons and digital panel meters, for example. If you desire a more stylish appearance, consider a Human Machine Interface like a colour touch screen display. This gives greater functionality, but also does require software, programming and an understanding of how to do this.