Industry Trends

Challenges Faced by Panel Integrators

9th January 2018       Automation, Industrial Controls, & Motion

Switchboards & Control Panels

Shrinking Spaces

As Industry 4.0 is taking shape and becoming the backbone of smart factories, the global market demand for automated and efficient solutions has been increasing. The age of digitalization is here and one trend we are seeing in response to this evolution is end users looking to track and analyze data on all systems to optimize plant efficiency and reduce costs.

Panel Integrators are also affected by this evolution and must implement efficient solutions to keep up with global market demand for control systems. Reducing time spent on assembly, while not sacrificing the quality of a finished product, is often a challenging task. In addition, end users are continuously limiting the physical footprint of panels while machinery systems are becoming more complex, thus forcing panel integrators to be creative in terms of installing products while saving space.

So how can panel integrators overcome these challenges?

1. Time Management & Efficiency Requirements

The trend of time management can be seen in all industries. For panel integrators, the amount of time electricians spend on assembling a panel limits a company’s ability to take on more projects. More specifically, older panels require extensive labour hours for wiring and physical mounting. It is also higher in cost due to components taking more space, hence requiring larger enclosures.

There are now solutions, such as the Siemens Motor Starter Protection (MSP) Infeed System, that allow for single line wiring for multiple MSPs, which can save manufacturers and panel integrators significant time in wiring and assembly. The need for wiring can be further reduced by using accessories such as link modules that connect MSP and contactors directly.

2. Limited Space in Panels

Implementing a solution in a limited amount of space, or utilizing space as efficiently as possible, can be challenging. System integrators are expected to fit the same amount of equipment or even more in smaller panels while not sacrificing the quality or efficiency of production.

Compact solutions such as Siemens 3RA6 compact starter series are great for customers that need to make the most of their available space. These compact products offer full short-circuit protection, overload protection, and contactor unit all assembled into one device. In addition, auxiliary contacts and signalling switches are all integrated to the unit, giving customers flexibility to meet all application requirements.

3. Automation & Evolving Plant Operations

Another change we are seeing in the manufacturing industry is moving towards an automated environment. These systems maximize plant operations through real time access to all important data. In order to operate such a system, communication between all devices is required. This can be very expensive to integrate into existing systems and as such, the Siemens modular MSP system has optional function modules which provide the capability to communicate via AS-interface, IO-Link and PROFIBUS DP to provide optimal integration into the automation environment.

Industry 4.0 is revolutionizing smart factories and changing the global demand therefore, manufacturers, end-users, and system integrators must adapt innovative solutions to not only keep up with the growing demand, but especially to be leaders in this industrial revolution.

Siemens Canada is a global automation manufacturer and innovator leading this industrial revolution and offer solutions to challenges faced by many panel integrators, engineers, and electricians in the industry.

Did you know? E.B. Horsman & Son has a specialty automation, industrial controls & motion division that offers technical solutions that aligns with automated environment trends. Solutions for saving space, increasing efficiency, and cutting costs for industrial and commercial projects.

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