8 types of electrical components within an electrical panel enclosure

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Eight types of electrical components exist within an electrical panel enclosure which define and organize the several different functions carried out by the panel. These components include: 

  • Main circuit breaker. This is like the disconnect of the main electrical panel leading into a home or office. Main circuit breakers handle between 120V–480V in most industrial applications.
  • Surge arresters. This component prevents lightning strikes or utility power surges from damaging the electrical components inside the panel due to overvoltage.
  • Transformers. Depending on the incoming voltage, transformers may reduce voltage to 120V for various components or step down voltage to 24V in instances where incoming power is 120V.
  • Terminal blocks. These blocks help to organize and distribute the array of wires coming from various sources to different electrical devices.
  • Programmable Logic Controller (PLC). This is essentially a CPU contained inside the control panel. This unit is the brains of the control panel, providing monitoring and control of the various mechanical processes. In will include various inputs and outputs to and from mechanized functions of the production equipment.
  • Relays and contactors. These on/off switches control mechanized functions based on commands from the PLC. Smaller relays control functions like lights and fans. Larger relays, called contacts, control more advanced functions like motors.
  • Network switches. The communication hub of the control panel, network switches facilitate communication between the PLC and the various network compatible devices on the production line.
  • Human Machine Interface (HMI). These components allow an operator to monitor or control certain functions of the machinery. Common HMIs include video monitors, joysticks, buttons, switches, and keyboards.

If you’re interested in learning more about control panels or want to get started on your next project, contact your enclosure specialists at Elite Controls.