Why outsource your control panel? It’s not exactly what you may think! Industrial control panels are typically a smaller part of a much larger project. But the skills to build, design and support a control panel are very particular. In addition to the electrical and mechanical technicians that do the actual building of the control panel, it takes a very specialized support staff to support the manufacturing process. The Panel Pros support staff of engineers include electrical, mechanical and controls engineers, all of which are highly qualified and specialized. The experts also have the appropriate UL training and certifications required to design and build panels properly. Most companies do not have the workload to justify having this dedicated staff specializing in just control panels.
Let’s break down each discipline in an industrial control panel shop like Panel Pros and what makes each position so specialized.
On the shop floor building the units is the electrical and mechanical technicians. These technicians have been certified to standards like UL508a and NFPA standards. They have the specialized training to ensure they are routing wires, labeling, and installing sensitive high dollar components into your cabinet properly. They understand how to work around electricity, troubleshoot these systems, route the wires and cables cleanly. They know how to use specialized wire cutting and terminating tools. They appreciate and have the skills to minimize cable waste and have specialized know how to properly cut sheet metal cabinets. When it comes time, to power on a cabinet they know how to validate IO and get power to the cabinet without risk of frying expensive components. Specialization allows them to work fast without errors. It’s easy to understand how these panel professionals will outperform someone who dabbles in this arena.
Electrical engineers specializing in control panels are trained on proper layout and design practices. They are versed in complex troubleshooting techniques and understand how the various standards govern their designs. Their certifications symbolize rigorous training and dedication. Years of experience has honed their pan el design skills, so their designs work the first time. They have invested in building the CAD components libraries and know who and where to go for everything they need. Electrical CAD (ECAD) tools used daily have been configured around their disciple and specific workflows.
Controls Engineers in the panel shop focus on how the control panel operates and validated. They are the ones that know how computers, control architectures and devices should operate at the software level. They tend to have oversight to make sure units are working as designed. They routinely write test plans, power up and initialization procedures. Broadly speaking the controls engineer validates everything is working as intended and gives the final seal of approval when the test plans are executed.
Additionally, many Panel Pro clients also use our Control Engineers to program PLC’s, initialize systems and figure out upgrade paths for old and outdated equipment. They routinely evaluate customers equipment and determine the upgrade plan for the control system while directing the electrical and mechanical engineers on what to do.
A well-run panel shop also has the right dedicated tools to do panel work efficiently. From specialized calibrated tools to even more specialized test and labeling equipment, it takes a lot of specialized equipment and knowhow to make a control panel fast and affordable.
Next time you have a panel job consider outsourcing it to Panel Pros. Panel Pros designs, builds, and upgrades industrial control cabinets daily. We are passionate about well organized, clean, and professional control cabinets. Make it so your team can focus on what they do best and let us handle the rest. Give us a call. We’d love to help.