Customer Friendly Control Panel Design

Posted by Steve Brown, President, Advanced Automation Products, Inc. on May 8th 2021

For many years, designing control panels has continually evolved to a point that there are endless options to consider, so where do you begin? At Advanced Automation Products, we make our decisions around a few simple principles. We make every attempt to consider you, our customer, when it comes to simplicity, future maintenance and procurement of replacement parts as well as overall quality and performance.

The single most important thing we consider is you. When it comes to control panel design,we find that your expectations vary greatly. Some customers provide a pre-engineered design to include a list of specific components they wish to use, where others rely on our experience and expertise to provide a design from concept to the final product. Regardless of their expectations, we rarely build to drawings that are provided and will still provide our own drawings which meet our own expectations for their approval.

While completing the design, we review the list of parts which will makeup the Bill of Materials for the project. This is an area where we differ greatly from others in our business. First, we make every attempt to select high quality components from the fewest manufacturers possible. Because everything we build will require future maintenance and the replacement of some component parts, we make every effort to eliminate you from having to order replacement parts from too many sources. We believe your time and trouble are valuable. In contrast; we find many in our industry select components from the lowest bidder. We do not subscribe to this thought process as it rarely serves you well.

Of the most important things to consider is the enclosure. We make every effort to use high quality enclosures that are made in the USA using domestic steel. We generally make the enclosure large enough so there is ample space for wire bending, terminations and finger space for future maintenance. All items are marked with permanent raised panel thermal markers and every wire is marked on both ends. When given the choice, we do not use standard THHN building wire but prefer to use a tinned MTW wire as it is less likely to corrode and is more flexible to work with.

What is important is that in the end,you will get a high quality panel that will be easy maintain. easy to procure replacement parts for and will be in service for many years to come.