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Control Panel Design

Control panel design basics are simple. Cost is always important, but so is an attractive appearance, simple operator controls and reliable operation. Simple panel designs are less expensive to produce and easier to operate and maintain.

It helps when you understand design is a process. Often you think you know exactly what you want when you get started and find you want something different when you're done.

When you first put your design requirements on paper they seem unorganized. That's normal. No one gets everything right in one pass. Design is a process and it takes time to get it right. Rewrite your requirements until they're properly organized and clear. Understand what you want, write it down using clear language, then proceed with the actual hardware design.

Steps Of Control Panel Design

  • start physical
  • analyze the power circuits
  • use the best operator control type
  • use the best operator device type
  • use the best in class products by category
  • Programmable Logic Controllers

    PLCs (programmable logic controllers) are the control hubs for a wide variety of automated systems and processes. They contain multiple inputs and outputs that use transistorsand other circuitry to simulate switches and relaysto control equipment. They are programmable via software interfaced via standard computer interfaces and proprietary languages and network options.

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    I/O Channel Specifications

    Programmable logic controllers I/O channel specifications include

  • Total number of points
  • Number of inputs
  • Number of outputs
  • Ability to expand
  • Maximum number of channels
  • Number of points is the sum of the inputs and the outputs. PLCs may be specified by any possible combination of these values. Expandable units may be stacked or linked together to increase total control capacity.

    Maximum number of channels refers to the maximum total number of input and output channels in an expanded system.

    PLC system specifications to consider include:

  • Scan time
  • Number of instructions
  • Data memory
  • Program memory
  • Scan time is the time required by the PLC to check the states of its inputs and outputs. Instructions are standard operations (such as math functions) available to PLC software. Data memory is the capacity for data storage. Program memory is the capacity for control software.


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