How Does an Industrial Electrical Panel Work?

Electricity is essential. Not only is it required in our homes, offices, restaurants and hospitals, but it plays an integral role in industrial facilities, ranging from manufacturing plants to water purification facilities and everything in between. Electricity must be channeled and controlled for safety and functionality – that’s where an industrial electrical panel comes in.

What Is an Industrial Electrical Panel?

Components of an industrial electrical panel in a panel shop Simply put, you can think of an industrial electrical panel comparable to your home’s breaker box. It serves a similar purpose. However, it’s not quite the same thing, and in electrical panel shop, special steps must be taken to ensure that all Art. 409 codes and requirements are followed for safety, security and protection.

First, the panel must be built to the correct specifications – it needs to be of the right type, of the right size, and located in the appropriate place to meet Art. 409 requirements. These will vary from panel to panel depending on the specific use of the panel, the connection types and more.

While some industrial electrical panel designs are ubiquitous, some needs are more complex. This requires custom electrical panel building and design, also called supplier engineering. In this instance, you (the client) will work with a supplier to design not only the industrial electrical panel, but the wiring and layout within the facility. For instance, this would include everything from the swing of the cabinet doors to the number of electrical outlets per circuit and more.

Electrical Panel Considerations

Other considerations that must be made when designing and building an industrial electrical panel in a panel shop include the ambient temperature in the area where the device will be located. If the temperature will be high, such as near a process area, then the panel may require a ventilation fan to maintain temperature, or even air conditioning within the panel cabinet in some instances. These bring with them the need for additional maintenance, from cleaning fan blades to cleaning AC filters periodically.

An industrial electrical panel should include optimum overcurrent protection, the right short circuit current rating, the correct ampacity for supply conductors, proper grounding and good workmanship. Failing to meet these requirements will mean that your panel does not comply with Art. 409 requirements, but that it may also pose a significant safety risk to personnel within your facility.

For the best in electrical panel building and design, including system planning, PC-based systems, PLC and HMI systems, design reviews and more, contact Prairie Electric today.

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