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Electrical Control Panels – Repair or Replace

Like any other product, Electrical Control Panels will break down over time, but the question is whether your company should repair, or replace these units when situations arise. Said question is a bit more complex to answer than it might appear on paper.

Therefore, it’s wise to take a moment and understand the complexities surrounding this question, including the nature of Electrical Control Panels as they relate to various industries. This will allow you, the reader, to make an informed decision as to whether replacement or repair is the go-to solution.

Warning Signs

Before the scenario of repair vs. replace even comes to mind, there needs to be a reason to do so. Production plants and factories will often display any number of warning signs – or “warning shots” as they are commonly referred to – that signal a potential problem with an Electrical Control Panel. These can include the following:

– Power surges & blackouts
– Acrid or abnormal smells
– Warm enclosures
– Corroded metal

If any of the above are present, it’s time to perform inspections on Electrical Control Panels to make sure they aren’t the culprit. If they are, then you must either repair, or replace. It’s good practice to be proactive in this area, and refrain from waiting for a problem to arise. Schedule regular inspections of all Electrical Control Panels to be sure they’re operating correctly, otherwise it could lead to a shutdown and lost time/revenue.

Common Issues

There are many issues that tend to affect Electrical Control Panels, most of which are avoidable. A large part of these issues stem from factories and production facilities that follow their own standards and practices. In theory, there’s nothing wrong with this approach, but it can lead to problems when it comes to regular maintenance and upkeep. This can trickle down to Electrical Control Panels as well.

Another issue revolves around ignoring, or refusal to adhere to electrical code standards, which can lead to issues like fire hazards. Older Electrical Control Panels often include components which are worn out and no longer reliable, which can lead to faults that make it harder to fix.

Also, bear in mind the positioning of Electrical Control Panels to “hot zones” that can increase heat load, leading to greater chance of a problem. Industrial environments are notorious for these, which means strategic placement of Electrical Control Panels is highly recommended. This can help offset labor costs by reducing the placement of panels at inaccessible or hard-to-reach locations.

Should You Repair or Replace

With details in mind, the obvious question is whether to repair, or replace an Electrical Control Panel. This is largely a case-by-case issue, and depends a lot on the age of the panels in question. Older equipment may still function well, and can be repaired, but is that really the best solution? Oftentimes, it’s wise to view the breakdown of older Electrical Control Panels as a justification to replace them with updated, far more efficient new models.

Newer Electrical Control Panels have more advanced components, better designs and greater reliability through decades of continuous refinement. They’re also more energy-efficient, which can cut down on costs, and they come packed with a greater number of enhanced safety features. And of course, newer Electrical Control Panels come with smaller components such as motors, which do the same (or better) job despite their size.

This leads to more profitability and less downtime in the future. If your Electrical Control Panels are aging, it’s good practice to have them replaced over time, but a faulty unit is a no-brainer reason to upgrade. Many companies view technological upgrades as a painful issue, but the long-term pros far outweigh the initial costs.

Rule of thumb – newer Electrical Control Panels should be repaired, depending on the severity of the issue, while older panels should be retired to make way for more efficient and technologically advanced successors. Following this lead will cut costs and keep your operation running smoothly, every single time.


If your company is in need of brand new Electrical Control Panels with the latest technological advancements, we’d like to hear from you. We take on projects both great and small, and we’re on standby to help out, even in an emergency. Contact us today for a quote.

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Understanding Electrical Control Panels

Today’s Electrical Control Panels are responsible for controlling mechanical equipment in production plants and factories around the globe, and that means they must be created to exacting high-quality standards. These Control Panels are integrated into the circuitry of various machines and electrical grids, and their design is key to making sure operations flow smoothly with no issues.

To understand Electrical Control Panels, it’s good to take a quick crash course on their attributes, how they’re created, and the kinds of standards they must adhere to in order to be considered viable for integration.


Many different components are required to create an Electrical Control Panel, and all of them play a vital role in the operation and reliability of the individual product. The following is a quick breakdown of the key components in every Electrical Control Panel, and their function:

Power Components

Power flow regulation is vital to the smooth operation of an Electrical Control Panel, and these components help make sure that power levels are stable and sustained at all times.

STARTERS control the functionality of the motor unit, and are typically composed of items such as overload relays, circuit breakers and contactors. However, the advent of SOFT STARTERS has helped refine the process by controlling voltage to a better degree, while preventing unexpected power surges and other issues from occurring.

FUSES are common items that serve a vital purpose in protecting the health of the Electrical Control Panel by disrupting the flow of electricity in case of a dangerous electrical situation. This can include unexpected power surges that exceed rated values. Once the fuse blows, it must be replaced to recommence operations, which is a simple, yet effective safety measure.

CIRCUIT BREAKERS act as switches to turn power on or off based on current and voltage conditions. Largely a safety feature, circuit breakers help stave off issues associated with things like short circuits, while protecting the reset of the circuit.

VARIABLE FREQUENCY DRIVES are perhaps the most advanced Power Component on the list, and are rather pricey. However, the higher cost is offset by greater peace of mind when it comes to reliability and safety. VFDs act as solid state power controllers that regulate the speed of a motor’s voltage.

Control Components

These components are responsible for the operating sequences of actual equipment. By integrating them into Electrical Control Panels, they double as control mechanisms to achieve the same desired result. Control Components consist of the following:

TIMING RELAYS add delay when the coils of a device are energized via inbuilt timers. Repeat Cycle Relays can even change stats repeatedly at a particular frequency when the coil has been energized.

PROGRAMMABLE LOGIC CONTROLLERS are quite advanced in nature, and capable of controlling entire assembly lines through advanced communication features. Cost can vary between cheap, to extremely expensive depending on the intended purpose. They can even be integrated into SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) systems for greater flexibility.

CONTROL RELAYS feature coils that can be energized or de-energized via a small electrical current. This in turn allows them to regulate power to things like actuators or contactors. Control relays omit the need for users to manually turn the switch, or change its electrical state, and they are considered a crucial component in many of our electronic devices.

Electrical Control Panel Attributes

Each Electrical Control Panel shares relatively the same basic universal attributes, such as a 120VAC or 24VDC power standard, a particular power rating (i.e. 480V 3 Phase), specific enclosure ratings, door mounted operator devices, sequence of operation for things like fans, recirculation/chemical pumps, and of course, safety and short circuit current ratings.


To recap, it goes without saying that Electrical Control Components are devices made up of both complex and simple, straightforward components, but the secret to their success lies in forward-thinking design and top-notch quality.

VLS Group specializes in Electrical Control Panels, and we understand the need for impeccable efficiency, platinum-level quality and rock-solid reliability. We take all of these very seriously, no matter what the job. If you’re in need of Electrical Control Panels, VLS Group is here to help. Contact us today for a quote.

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Key Features of a Great Control Panel

The secret to a top notch Control Panel lies heavily in its design. From there, the concept is taken to the production stage, where the best materials and expert craftsmanship combine to create a stellar product worthy of any factory or production facility. 

Many don’t realize the criteria that goes into creating a great Control Panel, which is why we’re going to break it down for you. Learning about these various criteria can give you a better understanding of what to look for – and which company to work with – when ordering Control Panels for your facility.

Design Layout

One of the most vital parts of a Control Panel design is the actual layout of components. Rather than stuff them all in a housing unit with no particular layout to follow, Control Panel designs often rely on a component hierarchy to make things easier. It begins with the main incoming power switch, typically assigned to the top-right corner of the panel. This switch acts as a linchpin in layout design, allowing components with higher voltage ratings to fill up the rest of the top-most space.

From there, components descend to the bottom of the panel in such a way that power distribution flows downwards through lower voltage ratings. Components such as fuses, distribution breakers and terminals are typically placed to the left, and paired to a main breaker. PLC and I/O terminals are then placed below power distribution components for better heat dissipation, thereby reducing the possibility of interference with other equipment. From a design standpoint, this logical flow guarantees a highly efficient Control Panel that is easier to diagnose and repair when a problem arises.

Panel Sizing

Space is always an issue, and it pays to reduce a workspace footprint as much as possible for the sake of foot traffic, transportation of materials, and room for new machinery. Control panels may not seem as if they take up a lot of space, but it’s still an issue to consider. It can be difficult to find the right space to install Control Panels, but it’s vital that they have enough room to operate properly. 

A big part of this is due to heat-related issues. Vertical space is especially vital for making sure that heat dissipates upwards, rather than builds up within a confined area. The higher the temperatures, the greater the risk of a fault. If done properly, it could even allow companies to save money that would otherwise be spent on AC units. When installing Control Panels, more space is better, especially if your operation will expand in the future, necessitating the installation of more components over time.

Proper Labeling

Labels prevent mishaps – it’s just that simple. Ambiguous or non-existent labeling can create some real problems, and should be considered a safety hazard. Every component in a Control Panel should be labeled correctly, right down to power distribution wires. 

Speaking of wire labeling, it’s wise to follow a precedent of labeling each wire according to the terminal number it is attached to. In cases of PLC I/O wiring, it should follow the appropriate syntax associated with its PLC address. Proper labeling reduces and/or eliminates confusion, provides greater safety, and makes it easier for repair personnel to diagnose an issue later on.

Correct Wireway Design

Wireways follow a simple goal – to terminate easily when needed. Therefore, internal panel and I/O wiring requires the right type of wireway, as well as amount. This means adequate room must be left, including horizontal space in case of future expansion.

Like before, proper labeling applies to wireway work as well. This will eliminate confusion and downtime during periods of modifications, repairs or diagnostic work. Ample spacing is a must for correct wireway design, and too little can have drastic ramifications on the efficiency of the unit.


Understanding the nature of Control Panels can give companies clear insight as to how they work, and what requirements they have when it’s time to finally install them. By following the above material, you’ll be able to plan out the deployment of your Control Panels even before entering the design phase.

VLS Group specializes in top-tier Control Panel design, and we understand all of the criteria necessary to design, create and install them properly. If your company is in need of new Control Panels, we’d love to work with you on your next project.

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