Control panel manufacturing is a process. It takes time to accurately produce an electrical control panel to order. To be a successful control panel manufacturer you need a flexible process that allows you to produce quickly and accurately. Having experienced people, great software and automated production equipment helps.
Each step of the control panel manufacturing process should prepare data for the next step. Your quoting software should generate design and production data as you quote a panel. When a quote turns into order your design and production software should use the data generated during the quoting process. Our order work flow is as follows.
1 • Order Entry
When we convert a quote to a control panel manufacturing order several things occur automatically:
- Store a snapshot of all as sold data in our database
- Create a new Job Order in our database
- Create a new Job Directory on our File Server
- Move as sold Quote files into the new Job Directory
- Send an Order Acknowledgement email to selected customer contacts.
2 • Design and Submittal Generation
With many of our customers, this step occurs before we receive an order.
- During design preparation, we review estimated panel components and revise as appropriate. Next, we automatically create blank panel drawings in our panel design software. Next, we automatically load panel components into our panel design software. In short, we automatically create the sandbox (drawings) and fill them with toys (components).
- During drawing design, we place (locate) all panel components on the Layout drawings and interconnect them on the Power, Control, and Field drawings. Our panel design software automatically keeps track of each component and adds drawing cross reference (line number) data.
- After drawing design, we automatically produce an engineering submittal by clicking Produce Submittal. The resulting bookmarked PDF document includes the following 1) Cover Sheet, 2) Table of Contents, 3) Product Datasheets for each provided part, 4) Enclosure Layout, Power Schematic, Control Schematic, Field Connection drawings for each panel, 5) Bill of Material for each panel.
- We email the engineering submittal for review and approval.
3 • Pre-Production Review
- After Engineering Submittal approval, Quality Control reviews the panel design one last time to insure it’s production ready. This reduces production delays by solving problems before the parts are ordered.
- After Quality Control review, we determine the earliest potential production start date. Then we send quote requests to all parts vendors with our earliest potential production start date as the desired delivery date. We allow each vendor to confirm our parts pricing is correct and our requested delivery can be met or advise us otherwise.
- After all vendor responses are received, we schedule production and send purchase orders to all parts vendors with confirmed pricing and the desired delivery date as one week prior to start of production.
- An Automated Order Delivery Schedule email is sent to selected customer contacts.
4 • Production Start
All required control panel manufacturing data has already been prepared, so we can begin (prepare for final assembly) before the parts arrive. This allows us to shift when certain aspects of control panel manufacturing occur to facilitate a quick delivery schedule or to normalize production loading.
Prepare Wires for Final Assembly
We use industrial wire processing equipment to produce all wires 14 Gauge or smaller.
After the shortest distance wiring calculation program has been run in our panel design software to determine all required wire lengths by type (color, gauge), we import the wiring data into our wire machine and produce all required wires in sequence by type (color, gauge) as follows:
- Wire End A – Cut the wire. Strip the wire. Print directly on the wire insulation (Wire No, From Device ID: Terminal No) at a programmed position from the end
- Wire Middle – Print directly on the wire insulation (Wire No) at a programmed interval.
- Wire End B – Cut the wire. Strip the wire. Print directly on the wire insulation (Wire No, From Device ID: Terminal No) at a programmed position from the end
Prepare Nameplate / Device ID / Terminal labels
We use industrial color graphic printing equipment (Multi Color Printer, Adhesive Laminator, Precision Cutter) and industrial label material (NEMA 4X label face, color foils, adhesive) rated -50F to 150F to produce all labels.
- Panel Identification labels
- Manufacturer Identification labels – using our customer’s brand (colors / logo)
- Operator Device labels
- Component Device labels
- Terminal Block labels
Punch or drill all required holes to accommodate all components, DIN Rail and wire duct per the design drawings. Install DIN Rail and wire duct. Mount all components, pre-produced component Device ID labels, Terminal Block labels, and Door mounted Device labels.
Install all pre-produced wires per the data printed on each wire and per the design drawings.
5 • Quality Control
After production is complete, we schedule Quality Control testing. Because Quality Control reviewed the design prior to production, the focus is insuring each control panel was final assembled per the design drawings.
All physical aspects of the panel are inspected. The placement of all physical devices are compared to the design drawings and inspected to verify they are mounted per the manufacturer’s recommendations. The Device ID, Terminal Block, Panel ID and Operator Device labels are inspected to insure they’re mounted and oriented properly.
All electrical aspects of the panel are inspected. Because wire connection data is pre-printed on each end and each end is pre-stripped to the manufacturer’s recommended strip length, the focus is insuring each wire is landed properly. Point to point wire testing is performed to verify visual inspection. Then power connections are tightened per the manufacturer’s torque recommendations. Then function testing is performed to insure panel functions as specified.
When UL508A third party safety certification is requested, we apply a serialized UL508A label and log the serial number in the UL log file against the Job No.
As-Built drawings are produced from the marked up (redlined) production drawings and a copy is placed in each control panel. All production and quality control documentation is stored in the Job file.
6 • Shipping
When QC testing is complete, we send an automated Release to Shipping email. This notifies our customer that we’re preparing their control panel manufacturing order for shipment. This also gives them an opportunity to change the Shipping Address.
We take detailed photos of all panels in the shipment. This verifies how everything looked prior to shipment, and helps us provide better troubleshooting assistance if a problem occurs in the field.
We package the shipment based on the shipment type and weigh it. We apply Drop N’ Tell indicators and labels so our customer can determine if the shipment was dropped during transport. If the shipment is tall, we ship it direct (one truck, secured with a no tamper seal, with no terminal transfers) to insure it doesn’t have an opportunity to be mishandled (tip over) during shipment. We also apply Tip N’ Tell Indicators and labels so our customer can determine if the shipment was tipped over during shipment.
We determine the best shipping option through our shipping broker and schedule pick up. When the shipment is picked up, we send an automated Shipping Notification email. This identifies the Shipper Name, Shipper Tracking No, and Shipper Tracking Website Link so our customer can track the shipment.
Contact Us now to learn more.