Control Panel: Basics!

Control Panel: Basics!

Be it industrial machinery, or domestic equipment, all machines require a control panel to control their mechanism. But what exactly is a control panel and how it is structured? In the series of blogs, we will discuss all that you need to know about your control panels. Today, let's start with the basics of knowing what exactly a control panel is!

A control panel is a combination of electrical devices which use electrical power to control the various mechanical functions of any equipment or machinery. It comes as an enclosure, usually a metal box or plastic moulding that contains important electrical components that control and monitor many mechanical processes of specific equipment. A control panel consists of the panel structure and electrical components.  

The panel structure further consists of an enclosure and a back panel. The enclosure is the body of the control panel which can either be a metal box, aluminium or stainless steel or plastic moulding. The enclosure comes with a UL safety rating (508A is typical) which is an IP rating, and/or a NEMA classification. These listings help users determine properties like Indoor/outdoor use, water proofing, dust proofing, hazardous conditions rating and explosion proof rating. These classifications are printed on the enclosure.

The back panel is a metal sheet mounted inside the enclosure that provides structural support for DIN rail mounting and wiring ducts. A DIN rail is a metal rail of a standard type widely used for mounting circuit breakers and industrial control equipment inside equipment racks.

The other components of an electrical control panel are incoming protection and switching, power distribution systems, circuit and load protection, thermal management, motion & drives, safety systems, programmers, timers & variable frequency drives, power supplies & transformers, power factor correction, surge protection & uninterruptible power supplies and relays & contractors. In our upcoming blogs, we shall discuss these components in detail and share views on the usage and maintenance of control panels.

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