A control panel is a piece of equipment that comes in a variety of layouts and styles. However, it contains certain standard components that make up its core. Without these critical parts, it’s impossible for control panels to function in a normal manner. Hence, it becomes imperative to understand these components if you are going to purchase a custom control panel or plan on designing one.
Let’s take a deeper look at these 3 components.
1. Communication Interfaces
Control panels are designed smartly. The way they dovetail with interfaces for communicating with not only other equipment but also with the control station is remarkable.
These interfaces are possible because of a “controller”, usually Programmable Logic Controller (PLC). It takes the input of various equipment and processes their data to provide meaningful information.
Moreover, many industrial control panels also have Human Machine Interfaces (HMI) for graphically representing the information for better understanding by the human operators.
2. Motor Control
One of the essential functions of any control panel is to manage the motor control and oversee its working. Industrial control panels, as well as others, are usually complemented by Variable Frequency Drive (VFD). It helps in setting the motor’s functionality through programming.
With a contactor and overload setup, the control station can switch on or switch off their control on the motor.
3. Power Supply and Protection
Ensuring the protection of the integral parts of the equipment as well as a safe way of power supply are two crucial tasks that must be accomplished, whether you have a custom control panel or a regular one.
Usually, control panels are designed for conversion of alternating current to direct current, instead of vice-versa for safety purposes. Moreover, using fuses and circuit breakers ensures the protection of the equipment in case of peak load.
There might be numerous types of control panels available for fulfilling different purposes, each with some distinguishing feature which makes it worthier. Nevertheless, the core components like PLC, HMI, VFD, contactor and overload setup, power supply and protection, that decide the primary and most essential function of a control panel remain the same.