With ever changing technologies, designs & legislations, panel builders increasingly find themselves face with new challenges. Those working within the panel building industry will need to change their knowledge base to account for greater integration of controls, measurements and the utilisation of compact, environmentally friendly measures.
Despite the economic slump, manufacturers are keen to introduce new technologies to the market. Along with this and the evolution of legislations within industrial automation is progressively shaping businesses view of the future and the demands they place on suppliers including panel builders.
More companies are thinking about the processes they implement for the longevity of systems, combined with gaining greater value for money.
Control Panel Building – Monitoring & Measuring
For panel builders this means looking at integrating monitoring and control capabilities into their panels. The focus has been increasingly on reducing the size of panels through the utilization of compact solutions, environmental considerations and ongoing maintenance and safety. Without undertaking this activity it is not possible for companies to make an informed decision about the level of investment needed to make improvements for lower energy consumptions and carbon emissions.
By measuring energy usage through metering, energy audits and simple bill analysis, it is possible to monitor the consumption of installation, areas and different systems such as heating and lighting, to identify where savings can be made.
Panel Building –Energy Usage & Building Regulations
As part of latest building regulations, there is a requirement for new builds, major refurbishments and any other commercial premises to account for the usage of 90% of each fuel type, meaning metering should be fitted. To help organizations keep track of their energy consumption there is an array of measuring technologies which can be easily installed into panels to monitor specific processes and systems.
In order to effectively analysis building usage, companies need to collect, analyse and monitor energy consumption remotely. This in turn requires communication tools and software management devices for panel builders. Software which operates as a gateway server enables the company to view data from measurement and monitoring devices online via a web browser. Data is displayed in real time and trends can be plotted while storing historical information from multiple locations.
With less money being spent on projects, any incentive which a panel builder can introduce to help keep costs down is always going to be a great benefit for the business. Plug and play solutions presents such a possibility. Devices such as circuit breakers and associated or onboard meters require less wiring and are more time efficient cost effective to install.
Panel Building – Compact Solutions
Coupled with plug and play is the need to also think modular. Today companies are keen to reduce the amount of space panel boards and switch boards use. Panel builders who offer flexible and compact solutions are more likely to be providing solutions that appeal to their customers.
Furthermore, with a module and compact solution there is the potential to be able to extend the panel in the future, adding in extra capabilities should the building expand or if more electrical circuits are installed. While there needs to be some spare capacity factored into the panel from the beginning it is always advisable not to add too much, otherwise there is a risk that the installation is inefficient, so being able to add capacity at a later date is a much better option.
In addition, with compact solutions comes an environmental benefit as they use less material and less natural resources providing a smaller carbon footprint and helping businesses to meet their green credentials.
Panel Building – Maintenance & Safety
Panel builders also need to think about the actual maintenance and safety of the panels now and in the future. Ease of maintenance needs to be a key factor within health and safety studies so panel builders need to ensure that it is efficient to maintain any electrical equipment. This helps reduce downtime for businesses.
The development of more innovative technologies means there is likely to be a change in the skill set of panel builders and the way they approach a project will be called into question. Panel builders will have to maintain and increase their knowledge base to keep abreast with the latest legislation and the key drivers that influence their customers, taking on responsibility for project engineering, programme engineering, leading to a more solutions led approach. This will in turn lead to a greater potential role switchboard manufacturers can play.
For more information about panel building or if you require a quote for a panel to be made, contact More Control on 0345 00 00 400.