When discussing our business, we often get blank stares when we mention that we fabricate industrial control panels in our Claresholm, AB shop. To those who don’t deal with “industrial control” on a regular basis, the words “industrial control panel” might conjure up some confusing thoughts.
Defined by the National Electrical Code as “an assembly of two or more power circuit components, control circuit components, or any combination of power and control circuit components”, control panels in their simplest form, can be described as a junction box with various circuits, controls and electrical components housed inside it.
The junction boxes or “enclosures” that house the electrical components have a wide variety of ratings and weather proofing to help users know where the control panel can be installed. NEMA ratings designate what environment the enclosure is capable of withstanding while keeping the internal components safe and dry.
A control panel could be a collection of contactors and breakers which control the power distribution for a building’s lighting system. A control panel could also be built to house communication devices to help with transmitting data from the industrial facility to a network somewhere offsite. The options and application are truly endless.
Having said that, a typical industrial control panel that is built in our shop will often house a PLC or RTU unit (a PLC or RTU is essentially a robust industrial computer that monitors incoming data from industrial sensors and sends output signals to industrial control devices). PLC/RTU’s need supporting equipment to run including: power supplies, breakers, fuses, surge protectors, modems, radios, terminal blocks and potentially more (or less). Pack all that equipment into a junction box and you’ve got yourself an industrial control panel.
Quite often when people refer to the “industrial control panel”, they are colloquially referring to the type that house PLC’s or RTU’s.
Industrial control panels can be found in many industrial settings: Water and Wastewater treatment plants, chemical processing plants, Oil & Gas facilities, gravel crushing facilities, sawmills, large farms, loading stations and grain elevators are common places you’ll find industrial control panels.
Crossroad Energy Solutions specializes in custom-built industrial control panels. We are “vendor-neutral” and can build whatever design, size, or shape that you throw at us. We have a dedicated shop with dedicated staff to build, QA/QC, and ship them out as quickly as possible. Our shop is a member of the Intertek Custom Panel Builder’s program, and we can build Class I Div 2 and General Purpose control panels.