Your PLC, contractors, relays, safety systems, and every other piece of control hardware requires a safe & secure home for proper, uninterrupted operation. Specification of control enclosure is a process that requires consideration of several requirements from physical size to environmental ratings to thermal thresholds. A step by step approach is therefore well-suited to ensure all the required boxes have been checked.
Industrial environments are volatile. Things can go wrong within minutes or stay stable for months. Nonetheless, ample protection is necessary to make sure things keep going as smoothly as possible. Enclosures are vital for any industry as they provide a housing for all cables, electrical equipment and termination points.
Nowadays, industries are getting increasingly digitized, so additional equipment is required that serves as a gateway to manual controls. Enclosures also provide due protection against RF waves as well as from environmental factors such as moisture, sunlight, etc. Plant managers in oil, gas, material handling, and virtually any industry are therefore keen to make sure all their equipment is safe as break in operations can result in lost time, resources and reputation.
The smart revolution has begun.
From manufacturing industries to power grids, every piece of technology is on the verge of reaching the next level of automation. Same goes for circuit breakers, which are a major component of the field of power systems protection.
Circuit breakers alone are a billion-dollar market, rounding up $13-$19 billion dollars on a global scale by the end of the decade. These electro-mechanical devices are bound to evolve owing to the level of technological development taking place.
Electricity has been readily accepted for residential, commercial and industrial usage at an unprecedented rate. Today, almost all modern manufacturing plants rely on electric power as a utility for fabrication & production processes. Due to the level of complexity & interconnectivity of the current system, even seconds’ worth of offline time can result in monetary & material loss.
Any electrical system, no matter how small, will generate heat since it will contain a resistive element in one form or another. As the size of your load increases, so does the quantity of heat produced. Your system might be able to bear the increasing temperature initially but at some point, it will give in and the result can be fatal.
Electrical control panel design basics is a vast field, dotted with problems pertaining to management, visual appeal, reliability and safety. The design basics for control enclosures that house various components from Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) to high-voltage relays is dependent on several parameters, however, keeping down the cost is one that can’t be sidelined at any time.
Protecting Sensitive Sensors
Sensors that gather electronic data directly affect the reliability of electronic devices that use that data. With that knowledge, manufacturers tend to create protective housings around electronics using high-quality, delicate sensors. While control panel designs are often built to function in non-hazardous environments, a lot of sensors are required to withstand the strain of harsh daily weather elements: heat, cold, dust, moisture, etc. Sensors are not alone; many machines are required to survive in damaging surroundings5. Therefore, creating airtight housings is often the go-to solution for sensor protection. However, even with hermetic seals around the enclosure, sensors will still experience wear and damage from invasive contaminants.
The industrial environment is a tough one, and it takes its toll on all electrical equipment. For this reason, we make electrical enclosures to protect our sensitive electrical components from damage caused by elements such as water, wind, dust, dirt, heat, cold, humidity, and chemicals in the environment in which they’re located.
To the layman, electrical enclosures may all look alike: gray boxes that house the real concern, sensitive electrical controls. But control panels are only as valuable as the electrical enclosures that protect and preserve those inner workings. Selecting the best material for the enclosure when specifying a control panel maximizes the life of your equipment.
In the cold winds of winter or the heat of summer, electrical enclosures require temperature control.
More often than not, electrical enclosures must be cooled because internal components continuously radiate heat. Overheating within an enclosure can dramatically reduce the lifespan of the equipment (including PLCs, HMIs, and drives), and cause malfunctions or entire system shutdowns.
To regulate the temperature of your electrical enclosure, consider passive cooling design or active cooling technology.