Each quarter, Control Design's editors pull together the latest online tools and resources that we can find in a specific topic area, and present them here. This installment's topic is panel building.
Compare UL and IEC Panels
"Industrial Control Panels for North America" is an interactive presentation that compares International Electrotechnical Commission and Underwriters Laboratories rules. The animation is based on two control panels in two control cabinets—one built conforming to the IEC standard, and the other conforming to the UL standard. Viewers can navigate through the animation interactively, thus gaining a better understanding of UL specifics in the context of industrial control panels.
Hardware for Panels
A useful selection of the many different types of components used in control panel building is featured on the ISE Controls' website. These products include motor contactors, pilot devices, programmable controllers, flow controllers, relays, light stacks and safety modules.
Design and Estimation Software
Users can try Online Panel Design and Estimation Tool free of charge. Just drag the required components, such as switchgears, instruments, meters, indicating lamps, fuses and accessories into your work area, and let your computer simulator design and calculate the various dimensions of your panel. The software allows users to make changes in size, and change placement of items to best suit them. The software accounts for various clearances when users place an item in the template, and then calculates final sizes by taking into consideration these clearances and other factors.
Three-Part Design Video Series
Three "Panel Design Considerations" videos include Scaling & Spacing, Design & Planning and Installations & Additions. The videos consist of quick tips on how to improve lead times on projects, avoid unnecessary hiccups and prevent expediting fees.
Online Configuration Tools
Control panel needs can be met 24/7 by using online configurators. Users can select among types of control panels, and see a multitude of manufacturers available for each configurator. From complete ac drive panels to simple two-button operator stations, pricing and availability are shown with only a few clicks. Browse, build and buy at your convenience, and get exactly what you want, when you need it.
Panels Within Control Systems
"A Condensed Guide to Automation Control System Specification, Design and Installation, Part 3: Design" includes useful recommendations on panel design and layout within the context of overall control system design and suggested specifications.
The document, "ASI — Control System Design and Layout Tips," presents nine useful recommendations on how to better arrange components and save space in control panels.
Automation Systems Interconnect
Video on Requirements
Some basic guidelines for designing industrial control panels are presented in a short video featuring Randy Carsten of Electrical Systems Ltd., which was shot during I/C Expo 09, which is the ISA San Diego Section's annual expo and technical training event.
I/C Expo 09