Control Panel Installation and Maintenance Process - Ensuring System Reliability

You are bankrolling a new control panel installation, upgrading your company to the era of automation. The designs and the parts are ready, all that is left is to install your system correctly. This is the stage where CoreSystems comes into play.

What is an Industrial Control Panel?

” The NEC section 409.2 describes industrial panels as an association of two or more control circuit components, power circuit components or any combination of circuit or power and control components.”

For NEC purposes, an industrial control panel operates at less than 600V and consists of power circuits and/or control circuits. A control circuit offers the signals leading the performance of the controlled equipment but does not include the controlled equipment or carry the main power. The “panel” part means the control system is mounted on (or in) an enclosure or subpanel

What are the Advantages of Control Panel?

  • No air compressor and associated machinery required.
  • High efficiency since there is no leakages.
  • Instantaneous response.
  • Very little affected by normal temperature variations.
  • Very accurate.
  • Electric cables are cheap and easy to lay.
  • Increases “up time”
  • Increases overall efficiency
  • Optimizes use of electrical power
  • Conserves valuable resources
  • Minimizes space requirements
  • Reduces unscheduled service
  • Emphasizes simplicity
  • Anticipates future requirements
  • Easy to troubleshoot or modify

Standards other than the NEC also apply to industrial control panels. The standards that always apply are

  • UL 508AStandard for Industrial Control Panels
  • NFPA 79Electrical Standard for Industrial Machinery

Why CoreSystem is the Best Choice in Control Panel Installation?

Our Team

CoreSystem team is rich with skilled professionals who have numerous experiences to be able to give you proper advice. All our instructors are approved by a number of accrediting bodies. Making sure they are up to date with relevant regulations and industry best practices.

Our Aim

We believe in delivering a quality, honest, straight forward and professional service. Our customers need straight forward and honest advice when it comes to their training and rely on ourselves to separate fact from fiction and cut through the jargon that can surround the Health & Safety industry.

Our Work

A cabinet installed with quality workmanship should have neatly organised wires run in gutters or channels, laid-out with only smooth bends to the wire radii, no sharp bends or kinks.


All wires, components and terminals should be clearly labelled. We cannot stress the importance of a sound labelling strategy upon installation, when maintenance and troubleshooting is necessary it will save time in testing for errors, saving money therein and ultimately saving you the stress.

Hard working

Our team will work tirelessly to get the training you require, when you require it. Although we cannot always work miracles, our team will do everything we can to get you what you need.

Our Control Panel Assembly Expertise Includes: 

  • Control panel assembly and installation
  • Integration with existing technologies
  • Allen-Bradley PLC-based control solutions, including programming and training
  • Assistancefor other main component brands and manufacturers including Square D, GE, ABB, Automation Direct and more
  • Expansions of current control systems
  • Stainless steel, NEMA 4X, washdown-rated enclosures
  • Total process assessments as they relate to plant automation

What is Done During Control Panel Installation?

The installation must be in accordance with the all applicable national (NEC, IEC, EN, etc.) and local electrical codes and ordinances.

  • An ignored matter with bigger control panels is the necessity to power test appliances and equipment, for instance vacuums utilised for maintenance. Discussing with the electrical distributor to understandwhat standards are nearest to your requirement and thus make major savings in delivery and cost.
  • After the panel is designed, next step is to figure out where to place it. Determine the outside dimensions and the swing requirements of cabinet doors. To reduce maintenance inefficiencies and other hidden costs during operation, it is ideal to allow enough room for a test cart to roll across the area with those doors open.
  • Control panels are usually close to the processzone. An elevated ambient temperature might need a air conditioning or ventilation fan on the cabinet, both of which will have filters that need maintenance. Other situations might state inserting a dehumidifier or heater.
  • Find the air exhaust and intakes vents for simple filter spare and make sure there is no process meddling; having a cabinet vent suck in air off an aluminum melting pot is generally not helpful.
  • Findingthe requirements for the supply conductors can be puzzling until you divide it into different steps.
  • You can either put a single main overcurrent protective device (OCPD) in the panel or put overcurrent protection ahead of the panel.
  • NEC needsevery panel to be marked with its short circuit current rating.
  • Look for the grounding measures.

How is Control Panel Installation Performed?

  • The Control Panel should be mounted on the position decided by the General Contractor according to the Interconnect Drawings.
  • The Control Panel is indicated by a ( )on the Interconnect Drawing. If there are several Control Panels for the installation, they will be marked with their selected location and labeled to match with the Interconnect Drawings.
  • Before mounting the Control Panel to the wall, be sure enough clearance is provided to install the Trunk Line and Power Insert cables as required.
  • Firmly place the Control Panel onto the wall according to industry standard mounting routines.
  • Open the front panel to reveal the inside of the Control Panel. Configure the AC Power wiring as shown on the silver panel.
  • Once the AC Power is installed, turn the Control Panel on.
  • Confirm the green light is lit on the front of the Control Panel and then turn the Control Panel off.

Precautions to be Taken

Given below are additional factors need to be considered when approving the installation of an open industrial control panel, some of which include:

  • Study and obey manufacturer’s installation guidelines, which might define a particular application
  • Verify suitability for installation and use inconformity with the provisions of the NEC
  • Verify the mechanical strengthand durability of the required enclosure necessary to protect the open industrial control panel
  • Make sure the enclosure does notintrude in the necessary wire bending and conductor termination area required for a safe installation

Any other factors that contribute to the practical safeguarding of persons using or likely to come in contact with the open industrial control panel, such as exposure to live parts, proper grounding or bonding and arch flash hazards, just to name a few.

Regular Maintenance of Control Panel

There is no standardised protocol for the maintenance of control panels, however we tend to live by the old adage prevention rather than the cure.

  • Pest control:This may consist of a rodent trap in one corner. Whatever method, ensure it is inspected periodically.
  • Dust control: Vacuum the accumulated dust off the cabinet floors. If conditions require vacuuming anything else, remember it’s an energized cabinet — follow the applicable procedures.
  • Connection control: Retightening terminal screws leads to lose connections. Instead of inadvertently over-tightening terminal screws (consequently diminishing their clamping power), use an infrared gun to see which terminals high resistance are. Disassemble, clean, and reassemble.
  • Insulation:An insulation resistance testing program is the best way to prevent wiring failures.

By taking a few extra steps in the selection, design, and installation of an industrial control panel, you can ensure it will have no failure time bombs ticking away. By performing a humble maintenance course, the panel will be nearly problem free for its lifespan.

You have to remember that cutting corners really impacts on the future reliability of all that investment, financially and hourly. Imagine redecorating your entire house without first fixing the hole in the roof and the creeping threat of rising damp. It won’t take long for all your fresh walls to be completely ruined. Well, the same premise can be applied to control panels, in a cabinet installed with shoddy workmanship it will not take long before errors start piling up until servicing will be rendered useless, leaving repair or replacement as the only option. Which will obviously impact reliability, impacting on time and ultimately cost to you.

Written by Praveen

What and Why’s of Control Panel Installation and Maintenance