Most of us have actually seen a tidy, well-organized control panel out on the factory floor-- you understand it when you see it! Alternatively, you also know an improperly designed panel when you see it-- not well laid out, crowded, messy, wires hanging all over the location, etc.
Whereas neatness is probably the first thing that jumps out about a properly designed panel, neatness is actually the spin-off numerous other well-executed aspects of panel design. Four of the main aspects of panel-design are discussed in this post:
Layout and Part Positioning
Panel Sizing and Part Spacing
Wire way design
Layout and Component Placement
In any control Panel, components or "component groups" need to be laid out in a logical-functional way. Since most panels have a primary inbound power disconnect switch, most commonly situated in the upper right of the panel, it makes both rational and functional sense to locate the components with the greatest voltage score at the top of the panel. From there, the power distribution to the power components at the most affordable voltage level (most typically 24VDC) ought to typically follow a left-right and top-bottom hierarchy.
Each group of power distribution components must start with the main breaker for that power level at the left, followed by circulation breakers, fuses, and terminals. This keeps each power distribution group constant and functionally sound and facilitates simple troubleshooting in conjunction with a good design bundle that shows this hierarchy in the schematics (another subject for another day). Enough area needs to be left between these groups to enable ease of expansion. This is easily possible when the control panel is sized appropriately for the application where it will be utilized.
The PLC racks and I/O terminals are typically placed below the power circulation components. This is excellent practice from a number of standpoints. For one, considering that heat rises, it makes sense to location delicate electronic equipment (such as a PLC) listed below the hotter power components at the top. A well-designed panel will integrate the methods for expelling the excess heat at the top of the enclosure. Secondly, field instrument I/O wiring is normally brought in from the bottom of the panel. When I/O terminals are located at the bottom of the panel, this makes it very simple to land the field wiring
The worth of proper labeling within the control panel cannot be understated! Not only must every component in the panel be identified, however, the syntax on the labels should make good sense, and the labels ought to be positioned such that everyone is clearly noticeable.
For wiring, labels should be applied at each end of the wire. For power distribution wiring that links to a power distribution terminal, the wire is labeled per the terminal number. For all other power circulation wiring and for "basic" wiring (i.e.-- non-PLC I/O wiring), the wire is identified per the matching line number in the schematics. For PLC I/O wiring (i.e.-- wiring that links to a PLC input or output), each wire needs to be identified per syntax that corresponds with its PLC address.
For panel components (i.e.-- power materials, breakers, and so on), the element is usually identified with a standard abbreviated prefix recognizing the kind of part, followed by the corresponding line number for that component in the schematics.
For Terminal Bank labeling, the Terminal Bank header identifier prefix normally starts with "TB", followed by a 2-5-character identifier recognizing the function (e.g.-- "DI" for digital inputs; "AC120" for 120VAC power distribution). This is then followed by a numeric value (usually starting with "1") which increments with each successive terminal group within that function. For the specific terminals, numbering normally begins with "1" for each group within the function.
When wiring and components are labeled in this way, it makes it easy for troubleshooting, since it's simple to recognize them in the schematics as well.
Panel Sizing and Component Spacing
For a properly designed control panel, the panel is sized to allow for "generous" component positioning (i.e.-- permits a lot of room in between components, both horizontally and vertically). Sufficient horizontal space will offer an area for addition/expansion for components such as power circulation breakers and terminals, PLC racks, I/O terminals, and so on-- and will likewise allow for correct heat dissipation for power components. Sufficient vertical space will offer a much-required area to land wiring into terminals nicely-- and therefore prevent crowding. Appropriate vertical space will likewise permit power components to dissipate heat correctly. In addition, lots of space need to be left at the bottom of the control panel to enable coiling up extra field wiring.
Wire way Design
The last product in this discussion is wire way design. A good control panel design includes the right type and the correct amount of wire way. The whole function here is to give lots of space for both internal panel wiring and for the field I/O wiring to be routed to the I/O terminals.
Wire way should be developed to permit ease of termination of internal wiring to internal panel components. As pointed out earlier, adequate space ought to be provided so that the wiring can be brought nicely to each panel component, and such that the wire labels are clearly clear. Likewise, the wire way should be sized appropriately to permit future wiring additions when components are added to the panel.
Wire way that will communicate field I/O wiring to its particular I/O terminals needs to be kindly sized to satisfy the presumption that field wiring will be brought in and terminated into every existing I/O terminal. In addition, the sizing should account for extra prospective I/O wiring in the future if components are added to the panel.
In conclusion, when it concerns producing a fantastic control Panel, these four main aspects cannot be neglected. Sticking to these standards will not just produce an excellent looking and organized panel, but it will also produce an extremely flexible panel that is capable of expansion and is likewise easy to troubleshoot when problems occur.