The NEC or National Electric Code defines industrial control panels as an assembly consisting of two or more components forming power-circuits. It may also be any other combination of control and power circuit components. The panels often come in pre-assembled forms, and the factory-fit and wired assemblies include different and multiple control equipments like the motor controllers, switches, relays, and other components. One important aspect to note here is that an industrial panel listed in UL (Underwriters Laboratory) will not have an externally connected load.
The panels can be used for a wide number of processes and machinery in different industrial environments. For instance, the UL-NITW industrial panel product category is used in the tasks and processes that involve the use of pumps, lighting, motors, and heaters. Other panels may be dedicated and used specifically for controlling equipment like refrigeration units, cranes, etc. Some of the crucial classifications and categories of industrial panel use are:
- HVAC systems
- Access control systems
- Motor control centers
- Packaged pumping systems
- Factory automation equipment
The enclosed electrical and industrial control panels commonly used in industries consists of:
a. An enclosure
b. The components kept in the enclosure.
c. Components mounted on the enclosure’s walls.
Clients and purchasers should review the panels critically and in-depth to ensure that they possess the right set of features and specifications and can well suit the given operational and industrial environment. Panels need to function for given loads and in the specific and particular range of voltages. However, the investigation is not for checking the panel’s ability but to know whether it has the relevant UL certifications or not. Other aspects checked included the load-related specifications and presence/absence of damages.
On the other hand, the open industrial control panels consist of internal wiring, field wiring terminals, and the components that have been mounted on the sub-panel. The closed panels also need approval in some additional areas like:
- Mechanical strength and enclosure durability.
- Safety related aspects and factors.
- Suitable placement and installation so that the conductor termination and wire bending spaces do not infringe.
It is essential to follow the NEC regulations and the UL standards while buying and procuring a panel for your operational scenarios. Industries can also reach out to the leading panel manufacturers to procure customized products that best meet their needs and are safe and reliable.