Industrial Control Panels can automate tasks, reduce costs, and boost performance for your facility. Incorrectly installed panels can generate many issues, and major problems could arise if you don’t maintain the control panel. You may have to deal with extensive repairs, unnecessary downtime, and lengthy disruptions.
How can you prevent this from happening? We will explore best practices for maintaining Industrial Control Panels and outline tips to help you keep your panel operating at its best.
Internal Temperature Reduction and Cooling
Heat is one of the most significant issues with control systems and electrical components. Ensure your Industrial Control Panel (ICP) can properly disperse heat to prevent component failures and keep the systems running.
You can prevent your control panel from overheating in many ways. Implement a machine monitoring system that will alert you when temperatures begin to rise. This system allows you to make changes before the temperature rises to dangerous levels. A temperature monitoring device is an excellent tool you can use for this purpose.
Another method is installing an air conditioning unit to help the panel maintain a consistent temperature. The AC unit should have enough capacity for the enclosure size. Ventilation or interior fans can also work if you don’t want to add an air conditioning unit. Don’t forget to clean out the dust and debris that builds up on your panel. A clogged vent and dirty air filter seem like small problems, but they’ll quickly overheat the system.
Maintenance is the key to ensuring your Industrial Control Panel runs efficiently. Proactive maintenance can prolong the life of the panel and reduce hazardous situations. Develop a regular maintenance schedule, and partner with a business that will send a professional technician to your facility to inspect the ICP and other equipment.
During the scheduled maintenance, look for frayed or faulty wiring, worn components, excessive debris or dust, and loose connections. Ensure the electrical components are grounded before moving on.
Make all the necessary adjustments and repairs after completing the inspection. Use a vacuum or compressed air to clear away dust and debris. Tighten all loose connections, and replace or repair the worn wires and components.
Device Labeling and Wiring Layout
The wiring and components of your Industrial Control Panel should be labeled and organized. This makes it easier to maintain and repair. Duct tape is excellent for organizing wires. Run the cables horizontally or vertically instead of diagonally, and set up the layout in a way that encourages you to use short wires instead of long ones.
Labeling is incredibly important for UL 508A control panels. Logical and consistent labeling techniques will help technicians work efficiently on your panel. They will be able to troubleshoot problems and make modifications quickly when they can identify all components. Ensure the labels are visible to make things even more organized.
Labeling Tips and Tricks
Create and follow a consistent labeling system for your Industrial Control Panel. If you find a technique that works more efficiently than your current one, use it! Avoid adding too much information to your labels because it can become confusing. A rule of thumb is to list where the wire comes from and where it goes.
Follow these tips when labeling hardware: All IP addresses should be on network equipment, radios, and programmable logic controllers (PLCs). If necessary, list the amperage or voltage for the hardware.
The main panel ID should contain information regarding short circuit rating, input voltage, full load amps, and fuse legend. The labeled wires should match the provided drawing.
The Panel Should Have Sufficient Room
Many Industrial Control Panels are in confined spaces. Unfortunately, a technician will have a hard time working in a smaller space. This could cause maintenance or repairs to take longer than anticipated. Professionals recommend setting up ICPs in large spaces when possible. When you provide sufficient space, you can place all the parts inside the Industrial Control Panel and use the properly-sized wire ducting for your model. The more space you give the panel, the better. Doing so allows you to organize your facility, and your workers can move around freely when performing repairs and maintenance.
Your Industrial Control Panel should be in a spacious area in case you expand in the future. You never know where your business will be in a few years, so you should provide adequate space for prospective expansion.
Choose the Right Enclosure Type
Selecting the correct size for the enclosure for your UL 508A control panel is incredibly important. It all depends on the environment the Industrial Control Panel is in. The various designs and materials suit particular applications. For example, mild steel is perfect for non-corrosive, wet environments. On the other hand, stainless steel is ideal for enclosures that could come in contact with corrosive substances. This metal’s properties allow it to withstand destructive elements.
If you’re unsure which enclosure type is right for you, refer to the National Electrical Manufacturer Association’s (NEMA) rating guide. You can also seek out a professional company, like Xpect Solutions. Our expert team members build UL 508A control panels that our customers trust. We’ll help you decide which enclosure works best for your Industrial Control Panel.
Never skip on documentation or do it superficially, no matter how much time and money it saves you. Doing so could have unforeseen consequences that could cost you more money in the end. Correct documentation is essential for ICP modifications and repairs. Here are some things this documentation should include:
- Program copies
- Functional specifications
- Panel drawings
- Electrical schematics
It should also contain the information needed to troubleshoot issues, make modifications, and perform maintenance. Ensure you document any changes made to the panel, including scheduled service and alterations.
Follow these best practices to ensure your Industrial Control Panel works effectively. Doing so will make sure your ICP has a long lifespan. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact Xpect Solutions. Our knowledgeable staff will provide the answers you need and lead you in the right direction.