Benefits of control panels
Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) are small, industrial computers that were created to control various different processes in industrial settings. They have advanced significantly over time to provide a more flexible and advanced level of control than conventional hard-wired relays and timers. In this article, we’ll be exploring the key benefits of a PLC control panel system and how they can help your operations.
The history of control panels
PLCs were first introduced in the automotive industry in the late 1960s, with the intention of replacing hardwired relays and timers with programmable and adaptable controllers. Since they were implemented, the capabilities of PLCs have evolved considerably in accordance with progress in personal computing software and developments. Even though the basic principles are the same, the features of modern PLCs are unrecognisable in comparison to the old systems, especially with the option of bespoke control panels.
The benefits of control panels
More performance with less space needed
PLCs provide a reliable way of delivering complicated control based on advanced computation, that can act on inputs from the numerous devices and sensors found in modern, industrial settings. Given that the logical operations that were done previously by relays and timers are now organised in software, the physical space needed within a control panel to provide this control is minimised, which in turn saves space on site. Also, the computational power of the PLC means that a lot more advance control can be achieved than what would have been the case in the past.
Electrical control panels allow the system to be monitored remotely, sending detailed information on the performance of a system, or condition monitoring data to a specific control location. This location could be in the same building as the system or hundreds of miles away, the quality of control panel monitoring won’t be affected. By making the most of this capability, the operator can maximise their system performance without needing to be physically present.
For those times when physical presence is required, PLC programming can be used to control displays mounted on the panel, offering an advanced human machine interface (HMI) to de-bug, monitor, and boost the performance of the control in-situ. Additionally, PLCs can be networked to enable the performance of the control panel and system it is controlling to be monitored.
As soon as the software has been written, debugged, and tested it will run efficiently without any deterioration over time from aging components. Therefore, PLC controlled systems will ensure better reliability than their predecessors. Also, the lower number of electrical connections provide less room for error in manufacture and commissioning.
Flexibility and maintenance
The requirements of industrial applications will normally develop over time with system improvements and upgrades. Incorporating a software-based control solution will give you more flexibility to account for developments, wiring changes can be kept to a minimum and downtime reduced. In addition, the ability for PLCs to communicate with other systems means software updates can be installed remotely. Debugging of changes is also made much simpler, seen as the programme can easily be downloaded and envisioned by the responsible engineers.
When several versions of the same system are initiated, costs can be saved by reusing software. Once a programme has been created and shown to work on the first implementation of a system, it doesn’t need to be rewritten on future implementations of the same system. This level of repeatable control can be provided for only the cost of the hardware elements of the system.
How can FESS help?
At FESS, our control panel build and installation services are second to none as we can tailor the perfect solution for your application. A bespoke industrial control panel design from us gives you control, monitoring, instrumentation, and factory automation. Our control systems are all efficiently designed to the highest possible standard and build with premium elements, meaning they’re engineered to last.
The process should always start with an evaluation of the requirements, specifications, and regulatory standards in your operations. So, if you’re looking to introduce bespoke control panels into your manufacturing operations, book a free site survey with us today to get things started. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.