Control Panel: Component Placement And Layout
The previous blog briefly described a control panel and listed its various components. As mentioned earlier, a control panel is an enclosure with various electrical components that help control the mechanism of the specific machinery/device. But how is a control panel arranged? Let's discuss the placement and layout design of a control panel to get a better understanding of the control panel.
Placement of the various components in a control panel plays a crucial role. To maintain consistency and help in troubleshooting, the power distribution across components in the panel should be consciously designed. For example, high voltage rated components should be placed near the main incoming power disconnect switch which usually is placed at the top. Hierarchy in schematics should be followed and accordingly the breaker for the specified power level, distribution breakers, fuses, and terminals should be arranged. It is suggested to place them in the same order as listed above. Considering that some components might expand with the temperature rise, adequate spacing should be allowed between each of the components. It's important to understand the heat sensitivity of each component and those with higher sensitivity should be placed away from high voltage rated components. I/O terminals and PLC racks are suggested to be placed below the power distribution components to all the passage of heat and help maintain the temperature of the control panel.
In addition to the placement, there are a few more points to consider.
- Labelling: Make sure all the wires, power supplies, breakers, and other panel components are properly labelled. Usually abbreviations, prefixes and numbers are used corresponding with the line number, PLC address, terminal group etc, which helps in identification.
- In-Panel Spacing: As discussed above, enough space should be allowed between the components to avoid heat concentration. While designing a panel, ensure adequate space both horizontally and vertically for effective placement of terminals, distribution breakers, I/O terminals, PLC racks and other components and proper arrangement of wires. Considering the in-panel placement, the size of the panel is decided.
- Organising the Wireway: The right amount and type of wireway defines a good control panel design. This will ensure convenience in terminating internal wiring to internal panel components, leaving room for additional wires to be added at the time of installation. This will also ensure that you have enough room for field I/O wiring and panel wiring to be routed to I/O terminals.
Now that we have some clarity on the panel design, its layout and placement of components, the next blog shall focus on the components. Stay tuned!