A Guide To Industrial Control Panel: Regulatory Standards, Maintenance Of Panel Enclosures And More

Industrial Control Panel – Integra Engineering

A Guide To Industrial Control Panel: Regulatory Standards, Maintenance Of Panel Enclosures And More Back



Industrial Control Panel is an enclosure of more than two power circuit components, control circuit components or a combination of both that help in providing signals of the overall function of the machinery.

As per the National Electric Code, it encompasses of switches, relays, auxiliary devices, motor controllers and other such control devices. This flat, verticle equipment mounted with the control instrumentation is normally kept outside or in an enclosed space in industries or factories. A panel enclosure is an essential part as it protects the electrical equipment with the surrounding impurities giving it better longevity.

These control panels are of two forms i.e. Enclosed and Open.

Open Panels: This type of enclosures includes internal wiring, field wiring, terminals and other components that are not enclosed. They are placed out in the open and is helpful when you need immediate shut-off.

Enclosed Panels: All the components are closed to protect it from outside components like dust, dirt and human contact. Normally, used in industries, these type of panels are placed away from human existence wherein all the components are intact.

Uses of control panels

  • It protects from dirt, dust and other natural conditions.
  • All the components are systematically placed in one panel wired and arranged properly that makes it easy to manage and monitor.
  • It is a complete control solution that can be placed in a particular panel.

A control panel is used in industries, nuclear powerplants, ships, aircraft and likewise to monitor and control machines. Maintaining these control panels is a must as it ensures better functionality of equipment and reduces chances of human errors or accidents.

Before introducing an actual product, it is very important to plan out a layout to enhance its functions and work on improvising it more.

Control Panel Design: Things to be Noted

The design of the control panel holds utmost importance as it helps in controlling the machine or process. Thus, today we have an interface that has made work much faster and easier. Control Panel acts as a shield that protects electrical hardware. Proper placement of industrial enclosures is also very important.

The hardware should be mounted on a back panel and correctly wired into the machine. Before starting the design, thoroughly evaluate the specifications, requirements and regulatory standards. Placing safety measurements in your design layout will give a detailed outline of the final control panel.

Things to remember while designing control panels

  • Select the enclosure according to the environment of the industry.
  • The enclosure size needs to be determined properly.
  • Allow sufficient space for placement and proper wiring.
  • Make sure you add sufficient receptacles at specific locations.
  • Place it in an enclosed room with enough space, for less maintenance.
  • Calculate the dimensions and swing arrangements of enclosure doors.

The designs need to meet the necessary standards that make it safe to use. IPanels designed by Integra Engineering is tested under the IEC standards. Head down to know important international standards.

Regulatory Standards to be met by Control Panels: IEC

The panel enclosure ‘IPanel’ built by INTEGRA Engineering strictly follows the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). It is a leading standards organization that prepares and publishes International Standards for all electronic goods around the world.

The international standards examine if the control panels satisfy market requirements and are safe for use. Considering the growing uncertainty of electronic markets, the IEC examines control panels under various standards that need to be kept in mind during the construction of panels.

IEC 60204-1 ensures the electrical safety of the panels. A risk analysis should be carried out in for proper analysis IEC 60204-1, IEC 61439-1/-2 standards may help in proper designing of control panels.

Known to be one of the best panel enclosure manufacturers in India, IPanels adhere to all IEC standards and are tested to meet the industry standard. The features of this advanced panel enclosure include:

  • Zero Welding Structure
  • Modular Design
  • Unique Design For Easy, Fast & Safe Assembly
  • 3-Point Locking System
  • 180° Door Opening
  • Light Weight
  • Easy to transport

Panel enclosures are expensive. Poor maintenance of this electrical equipment can lead to shortened lifespan and there is another round of shelling money. Read below on ways to maintain your electrical equipment.

5 Factors to Protecting Industrial Control Panel Enclosure

We have mentioned the 5 key factors that will help in maintaining Industrial enclosures. Once you understand these factors, maintaining your equipment would be much easier.

  1. Ambient temperature

    We all know that electrical equipment is highly prone to damage if it exceeds the ideal temperature. To improve the lifespan of your electrical equipment, make sure the ideal temperature is 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35-degree Celsius).

    In case, the temperature increases use coolants like air conditioners or filtered fans to control.

  2. High humidity

    Just as temperature, water is also an enemy for these panel enclosures. Humidity can cause internal condensation that may result in a short circuit or an electric shock. In the case of running water caused due to gaps, corrosion can pose serious damage to the equipment.

    Using an air conditioner or enclosure heaters can maintain the required temperature.

  3. Air pollution

    Panel enclosures placed in highly polluted areas can be prone to harmful corrosion chemicals and other chemical contamination that can reduce the life of your equipment.

    Refrain pollution to reach your enclosures. Adhere to advanced closed-loop cooling systems that may be useful.

  4. The influx of water and weather

    The panel enclosure should not be exposed to both extreme weather and water. To prevent such harsh conditions, the enclosure should be fitted with filtered fans and cooling or heating systems to beat the cold and hot temperature.

  5. Dust

    In places of heavy wind flow, the dirt and dust can block the fan filters while blocking the free flow of air that can lead to overheating of your electrical equipment. Excess amount of dirt can result in a loose connection of wires.

    If you want to know the ways to combat these above factors, head down to know the cleaning methods.

5 Cleaning Methods that will improve the longevity of your industrial control panels

Maintaining electrical equipment should be a regular norm. This will save money and give extra service longevity.

Disclaimer:

  • Give sufficient time to dry when cleaning with liquid.
  • Make sure there is proper insulation before cleaning.
  • Never try to clean equipment while it’s energized.
  • Carry cleaning process under professional guidance.
  1. Cleaning dust/dirt particles

    DOs: Remove dry dirt or dust using a clean, dry, soft cloth. The areas to be cleaned should be easily accessible.

    DON’Ts: Refrain using rags as it will bring the dirt again.

    Beware while cleaning delicate parts, edgy parts or sharp objects.

  2. Removing grease/oil

    DOs: To remove grease or oil, you need a liquid solvent and water. Clean it with a slightly wet rag added with an inflammable solvent. Always wear protective apparatus like gloves, apron, mask or respirators and goggles while dealing with solvents.

    DON’Ts: Don’t rush, give sufficient time to dry.

  3. Cleaning using vacuum cleaners

    DOs: Vacuum type cleaners can help you to get rid of loose dust and dirt. Panel enclosures need to be cleaned regularly as it may get dirty soon. While filters should be cleaned or replaced at regular intervals. Cleaning your equipment on a regular basis can help in maintaining the efficiency of the equipment.

    DON’Ts: Compressed air may likely damage insulation.

  4. While sweeping or moping

    DOs: If you prefer sweeping and moping, then rather use a sweeping compound to clean without any damage.

    DON’Ts: In case you are using a mop bucket, keep it miles away from the switchgear.

  5. Using compressed air

    DOs: The place which is out of your reach, compressed air can be helpful.

    DON’Ts: Be cautious while using compressed air as it can be hazardous. Use proper equipment. If you are not professional, DON’T DARE TO TRY!

    Please Note: While using this method, prefer cleaning one apparatus at a time by taking it to a distant suitable location.

Cooling Methods for your electrical enclosures

  1. Passive Cooling: Heat always flows from high-temperature material to lower temperature. Using vents in the enclosures can help the air to escape and allow cool air to enter the enclosure.

    This method totally depends on heat sinks, heat spreaders, and heat pipes that help to maintain optimal temperature. Also, the location of the panel enclosures matter as it needs sufficient room space with a free flow of air from outside. Filters placed at the vent need to be maintained and replaced regularly.

    Advantages:

    • Energy efficient
    • Cost-effective
  2. Active Cooling: It means to use an external device to cool your equipment. They are of two types:

    Forced Convection: Fans or blowers that act as coolants. This method works on the principle of convection wherein warm air rises and cool air takes its places and cools down the system. Filters can be used to protect enclosures from dirt, dust and harmful particles.

    Air Conditioning or Heat Exchangers: This method works on closed-loop cooling. Humidity can be a factor hindering your equipment. Heat exchangers can cool the temperature even in cooler areas where air conditioners can cool air in hotter areas.

    Disadvantages:

    • Electricity consumption is high
    • Costly

    Other alternatives: Ventilator fans can be used and works well when the ambient temperature is lower than desired. This is the best alternative that allows a continuous flow of air that helps in maintaining temperature. Filters should be installed to safeguard your equipment from air pollutants.

    INTEGRA Engineering is a leading industry giant providing safe panel enclosures. Along with being a prominent panel enclosure manufacturer in India, it is also known as a reputed relay manufacturer in India serving the Indian and Konkan Railways. Check out our site to know more!