In medium and large-scale manufacturing, there are many processes that you cannot control manually. You must automate all processes to save time, cost, and resources.

That’s why automation control panels are essential pieces of equipment for every industrial and commercial venture.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • The fundamentals of automation control panels
  • Types of automation control panels
  • Difference between automation control panels and PLCs
  • Components o automation control panels
  • Essentials for automation control panels
  • Design concepts related to automation control panels

So, keep reading further to find out everything.


What are Electrical Control Panels?

One of the most crucial pieces of machinery for every industrial facility is automation control panels. We are all aware that industrial, manufacturing and commercial machinery and equipment are becoming more automated. The monitoring of such automation is also necessary. Automation control panels enter the scene in this situation.

They are employed in industrial and commercial applications to monitor and manage large-scale, heavy machines. Automation control panels use relays, timers, sensors, starters, and controllers to carry out both straightforward and intricate tasks. Automation control panels’ principal benefit is giving facilities more control over their industrial equipment. With automation control panels, one can experience high efficiency, functionality, and adaptability while also taking pleasure in the comfort of a hands-free approach.

Everyone prefers convenient systems. Automation control panels provide just that. They enable flexibility in logic change, a smaller frame, and an advantage over controlling the facility’s different automated equipment. They will also assist in completing chores quickly and effectively.


What are Automation Control Panels

Types Of Automation Control Panels

Industrial control panels come in a variety of forms and are used to regulate a variety of equipment found in production plants all over the world. Each of these many types of control panels has several parts that operate or carry out preprogrammed tasks, including turning equipment on or off, regulating motor speed, guiding various actions, opening or closing valves, and doing numerous other tasks.

Here are some prominent types of automation control panels.

  • Motor control centers
  • PLC control panels
  • VFD control panels
  • HMI panels
  • Motor starter panels
  • Hazardous location panels


What are the Differences Between Automation Panels and PLCs? 

Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) provided control systems with rack-mounted PLCs, pilot lights, gauges, and push buttons in the early days of automation. Over time, most OEMs have streamlined systems by switching from various panel-mount components to operator interface (OI) panels. Many OEMs have also shifted to distributed IO to lower wiring costs and simplify shipping equipment in modular portions. Additionally, many OEMs are including secure remote connectivity to access end-user networks, so customers can remotely adjust programs and evaluate equipment performance in an effort to further cut the expenses related to reactive maintenance.

In short, an automation control panel is a term that includes all general automation control systems with preset automation controls. On the other hand, a PLC is a part of an automation control panel that you can program to get a specific type of automation control in your industrial process.


The Main Electrical Components of the Control Panel

Here are the main components.

  •  Main circuit breaker
  • Surge arrester
  • The transformer
  • The programmable logic controller (PLC)
  • Human Machine Interface (HMI)

The power for all devices enters the control panel through the main circuit breaker. This will typically include a connection on the outside of the container, allowing users to manually turn off the power if necessary.

All of the electrical equipment inside the enclosure of the control panel is protected by a surge arrester, which intervenes in the event of power surges or lightning strikes.

The Transformer’s purpose is to reduce the power so that it can power smaller devices.

The PLC serves as the process’s brain, managing a variety of inputs and outputs that regulate and keep an eye on the automated manufacturing line. The Central Processing Unit (CPU) of the PLC is where the logic program is kept. Field devices like proximity switches and photoelectric sensors will be placed throughout the assembly line to provide the PLC with the feedback it needs to operate the line efficiently.

While not necessarily located inside the Control Panel enclosure, the Human Machine Interface (HMI) can be mounted on the panel door or remotely to be closer to the machinery. The HMI will give the operator effective control and oversight over the assembly line equipment.

What is Needed for Industrial Control Panels

What is Needed for Industrial Control Panels?

Electrical, instrumentation, and control device protection depends heavily on industrial control panels.

Power distribution, pneumatics housing, and automation electronics protection for machines, equipment, and processing systems are frequently handled by industrial control panels. While ensuring worker safety, they must protect the interior components from environmental extremes in temperature, moisture, vibration, and pollutants.

Control panels, however, are more than just plain boxes containing contents. They need to perform well and last for many years; therefore, they must be specifically developed and made to adhere to a number of regulations, codes, and standards.


Design Concepts

A qualified engineer must take the following factors into account during proper control panel design, which is often an iterative and multidisciplinary process:

  • Applicable laws and regulations
  • Project standards and requirements
  • Safeguarding interior parts from the environment
  • Preventing pollution of the environment outside (for clean rooms, pharmaceutical manufacturing, and the like)
  • Distribution of pneumatic fluid and electricity
  • Durability and constructability
  • Safety

The National Electrical Code (NEC), UL508A, and NFPA 79 are the main industrial control panel standards in North America, but there are numerous additional suitable standards for other particular uses and circumstances. Furthermore, there may be more detailed end-user or client requirements for each project and application.


It goes without saying that the enclosure size and configuration must be large enough to accommodate the components inside and fit in the installation space, but it’s also crucial to oversize them to account for expansion in the future and provide an interior workspace. Choosing the optimal mounting technique for the application is a key component of selecting the right enclosure. Wall-mounting is practical for smaller designs, floor-mounting is typical for the largest enclosures, and wall standoffs or floor-mount legs could be required to enable cleaning in sanitary applications.

A NEMA or IP rating that is appropriate for the environment in terms of moisture and dirt intrusion must be maintained by the enclosure. While applications in damp or sanitary environments typically need the use of stainless steel, painted carbon steel enclosures are popular. However, some projects may require specific paint.

Numerous pieces of equipment produce heat; thus, it is important to take into account ambient and allowed conditions when designing control panels, and it may even be necessary to include cooling systems. On the other side, heaters could be required in exceptionally cold places or to slightly raise the interior temperature in humid environments in order to stop moisture from damaging electronics.


Electrical equipment can operate securely and dependably when it is properly grounded using conductors, connectors, and terminals. The criteria for grounding enclosures, interior back panels, and mounted devices must be followed by designers. The main goal of grounding is to eliminate any electrical power failures, but it’s also important to follow excellent grounding procedures to reduce electrical noise that could harm digital components put inside the enclosure.

Power Distribution

The instrumentation in some control panels may just be low-voltage, but it is also typical for these panels to contain greater line voltages and accompanying components using:

  • Front-mounted disconnects
  • Circuit breakers and/or fuses for overcurrent protection
  • Power distribution blocks
  • Conductors and cables
  • Transformers and power supplies
  • Surge suppressors and power conditioners
  • Motor starters and variable frequency drives (VFDs)

Controls and Automation

The simplest and smallest control panels may only serve to hold and secure devices, but the majority of control panels also have certain automation parts, such as:

  • Relays
  • Buttons and switches
  • Programmable logic controllers (PLCs)
  • Human-machine interface
  • Pneumatic solenoids
  • Ethernet devices

Wiring and Connections

Although many of these can be simply clicked onto normal DIN rails, devices and terminal blocks can also be directly fastened to back panels. Wire ducts can be used to transport conductors and cables for simple terminations because everything needs to be set up for sufficient ventilation space. Clear device and cable tags will be incorporated into a well-designed control panel.



In this modern world, your industrial process can be more productive while reducing losses if you have top-notch automation control panels. Using them will save costs and resources while creating an industrial process according to your requirements. Contact ECSKSA to order now

Check out our product pages for world-class automation control panels.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What are the purposes of an automation control panel? 

The purpose of an automation control panel is to deliver automation in an industrial process according to the requirement.

Q2: How can we save electricity through the control panel?

The control panel saves electricity by turning off the devices when they are not needed.

Q3: What does a control panel consist of?

A control panel consists of the following components.

  • Main circuit breaker
  • Surge arrester
  • The transformer
  • The programmable logic controller (PLC)
  • Human Machine Interface (HMI)


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