When you have any sort of automation set up as part of your industrial operations, the electrical control panel is its nerve center. The control panel links into most or all of the primary functions, as well as usually being the center of human interface with the system. Should anything happen to the control panel, it could potentially endanger your entire automation system, and harm your operations in the process.
This makes proper maintenance of your control panel an absolute necessity! They are not high-maintenance, and generally, operate autonomously – but you still need to do some basic tasks to protect them from physical threats.
Four Critical Areas of Maintenance for Your Electrical Control Panel
- Pests and vermin control
Legend has it that the term “bugs in the system” came from literal insects making their way into early computer mainframes and causing damage. This is still a threat today. The possibility of rodents chewing on wires, or roaches frying themselves while shorting out critical equipment, is ever-present.
You should have strong vermin control measures around your control panel, including rodent traps, and some form of poison to attract and kill insects. Be sure to check these measures regularly and replace them as needed.
- Dust, dirt, and debris
Small debris can quickly damage a control panel, and that can be a serious concern in industrial settings that put a lot of particulate matter into the local atmosphere. If at all possible, the control panel should be shielded in such a way to keep dirt away from it. Also, there should be regular dusting and vacuuming, to prevent any buildup of dust.
You should visually inspect the insulation on your wires regularly and repair any damage ASAP. In particular, keep an eye on any wires leading out of the control panel. The insulation on these is easily damaged plus, again, there’s always the possibility of vermin chewing up the insulation.
Poorly insulated wires risk shorting out the system, as well as causing human injury.
- Loose connections
Finally, you should regularly check how secure various wire connections are. They can easily become dislodged, especially if the control panel is in an area which sees a lot of traffic. However, be careful not to over-tighten screws on connectors, or you could damage them.