Panel Builder US

Find articles by Brand and Industry:

Industry Focus: General Manufacturing, Industrial
Product Type: Connctors/Cables/Terminal Blocks, Drives/Loop Controllers/PAC's/PLC's, Power Supplies, Switches/Indicators/Relays/Solenoids, Sensors

August 2, 2021

By: Process Solutions

Electrical control panels are an integral part of any automated manufacturing process. At a basic level, control panels house various electronic devices that provide signals to direct the operation of equipment and machines. While control systems are a fundamental aspect of electrical engineering, many people aren’t aware of the key control panel components required to function safely and reliably.


Transformers reduce or increase AC voltages between circuits. A common application for an industrial control panel transformer would be converting incoming 480V AC to 120V AC so the control panel’s other housed devices can use it.

Power Supply

A power supply converts alternating current (AC) voltage to direct current (DC) voltage. In a control panel, the power supply will typically be converting 480V AC or 120V AC to 24V DC.

Circuit Breakers

Circuit breakers protect an electrical circuit from becoming damaged by detecting when there is excess electrical current and opening or breaking the circuit to stop the flow.

Disconnect Switch

While a disconnect switch can come in many different styles and form factors, the overall purpose is to completely disconnect the control panel from its electrical supply. A common use for a disconnect switch is to shut off power to the control panel to complete repairs or maintenance, as well as for emergency stoppages.

Terminal Blocks

Terminal blocks are connection points that can join two or more wires together. It is possible to arrange terminal blocks together in a strip to direct power from one source to various devices in the control panel.


A relay is an electronically or magnetically operated switch that makes or breaks contact to turn on or off a device. Relays typically allow low currents to activate higher currents. The relay can achieve this activation by directing the lower current to flow through an input circuit and activating an electromagnet. The charged electromagnet then pulls the output circuit closed, allowing a higher current to flow through the output circuit.


Similar to a relay, a contactor switches an electrical current on or off. The main difference between a contactor and a relay is that contactors are usually larger and used in applications with higher currents, where a relay is for lower currents. A common use case for contactors is for controlling electric motors, which often have high-current loads.

Overload Relay

An overload relay protects electric motors from overheating by preventing the motor from pulling more amps than the overload allows. This can occur when the motor’s circuit is being protected by a circuit breaker with a higher amp limit than the motor’s full-load rating. The overload relay protects the motor by opening the circuit when the current becomes 115% to 125% of the motor’s full-load rating.


A fuse is a safety device that protects an electric circuit from becoming overloaded by a current that is too high. Once a fuse has operated, it becomes an open circuit and you must replace it.

Motor Drives

While there are numerous types of motor drives that each serve a specific purpose, the overall function is to operate a connected motor. Common motor drives used in control panels include VFDs, Servo Drives, and soft starters.

Motor Starters

A motor starter is a device that combines a contactor and an overload relay to control the electrical output from the motor during start-up, as well as provide overload protection while the motor is operating. A motor starter often has a modular assembly and includes a manual on-off switch.

Programmable Logic Controller (PLC)

A programmable logic controller or PLC is an industrial computer specifically designed for the control of manufacturing processes, such as moving equipment and machines on an assembly line. PLCs are programmed using a specific computer language and are designed to operate in factory conditions that may include high levels of noise and vibrations. To control equipment and processes, PLCs monitor the status of sensor inputs to control outputs, such as motors, HMI displays, valves, lights, and solenoids.

Ethernet Switch

An industrial Ethernet switch allows for communication between devices inside the control panel, such as PLCs, VFDs, and HMIs, as well as networked devices outside of the panel, such as other control panels, SCADA systems, or information systems.

About Process Solutions

Located near Seattle Washington, Process Solutions is the Northwest’s largest control systems integrator. With 30+ years in business and over 100 engineers and technicians on staff, Process Solutions has the experience and capacity to take on almost any automation project. Process Solutions provides a wide range of control system services, including electrical control panels, PLC and HMI programming, robot system integration, energy management and refrigeration systems, SCADA software, and machine monitoring software.

Editor's Pick: Featured Product News


The new TXLN line comprises a series of metal enclosed AC/DC power supplies ranging from 18 to 960 Watt (split into 12 different power levels) and is designed for a wide range of industrial applications. The TXLN is an active replacement of the older TXL line and is built on the same design principals to make the transition to the new TXLN series as easy as possible. The model selection includes single, dual as well as triple output solutions to cover different applications requirements.

With a low-profile metal case and screw terminal block connection, they are easy to install in any equipment. Up to the 200 Watt models the TXLN power supplies are completely convection cooled and from 320 Watt and above they come with an internal fan. Above 100 Watt an active PFC (>0.95) function is added to the standard feature pool. All models in the TXLN line have universal input and comply with the latest industrial standard IEC/EN/UL 62368-1, European EMC standards and the Low Voltage Directive (LVD).

Read More


Sponsored Content

Io Audio Technologies: JL and JLX Chassis Connectors


 Io Audio Technologies JL and JLX Series XLR chassis connectors are perfect for high-noise environments like permanent installations or design-in applications where the termination method is solder cups. Options of different finishing’s, 3, 4, or 5 pins, male or female, and vertical or horizontal PCB mounting are available.

Learn more HERE.




Products for Panel Builders

  • Prev
The compact KTO 111 and KTS 111 thermostats from STEGO feature push-in terminals for faster ...
AutomationDirect has added more Wiegmann enclosure options to their extensive lineup of over 7,000 ...
Verotec expands fan tray offering to provide essential cooling to rack mounted equipment.
The new retractable enclosure handle from EMKA has a modular design, enabling customers to choose ...
IP66 / IP68 hygienic multi-membrane cable entry plates from icotek available with metric threads ...
Allied Electronics & Automation supplies HARTING’s award-winning Han 1A ...
OKW’s body-contoured ERGO-CASE enclosures now offer an even wider choice of options. They can be ...
CUI Devices’ Interconnect Group recently announced the expansion of its line of pluggable ...
AutomationDirect has added new current, rate, process, and temperature meters to their Trumeter ADM ...
Designed for monitoring of critical loads, the EISH Series features a space-saving and versatile ...

ditor's Pick: Featured Article


Data acquisition, data logging and data analysis are required functions for most modern industrial control systems. The simplest and lowest cost way to provide these functions is often by using the same platform that’s providing real-time control—namely the PLC or the programmable automation controller (PAC).

A few years ago, this wasn’t possible as PLCs lacked the required processing power and data storage capability. But more powerful PLCs and the evolution of PACs has made it possible to perform many data acquisition tasks within the controller—saving money and providing an overall simpler system.

Read More


Sponsored Content

Digitally Transform Your Switchgear


Eaton’s Magnum circuit breakers with Power Xpert Release trip units enable system innovation by integrating connected devices, actionable data, and facility insights into your power distribution assembly

Watch the video and read more HERE.





Sponsored Content

Sealevel Announces the HazPAC 10 Rugged Panel PC for Hazardous Environments


Sealevel Systems, Inc. announces the HazPAC10 Rugged Panel PC. Designed for Windows 10 IoT Embedded, the HazPAC 10 delivers powerful Intel processing combined with a bright, LCD, five-wire resistive touchscreen. The HazPAC 10 features a fanless industrial computer with a wide -40°C to 60°C operating temperature. And for the most intense environments, the HazPAC 10 has a NEMA 4/IP64 front bezel and is certified by ATEX, IECEx, and for Class I, Division 2 (Groups A, B, C, D, T4).

Learn More HERE



News for Panel Builders

News for Panel Builders
  • Prev
Continuing with their commitment to provide the highest quality and application expertise to their ...
Since January 12th, in addition to updated data EPLAN are very pleased to announce the following ...
The global brands of Altra Motion provide precision engineered power transmission components to ...
Graybar recently announced that Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Scott Clifford ...
The Data Center World (DCW) conference will take place March 28-31, 2022 at the Austin Convention ...
TE Connectivity has acquired the force-guided narrow safety relay (NSR) elementary relay technology ...
Now available from Powell Electronics, the HYJ range of IP69/IP69K stainless steel junction box ...
EMA Design Automation, a full-service provider and innovator of Electronic Design Automation (EDA) ...
Recently, Allied Electronics & Automation added three new suppliers in the safety & PPE ...
Complex automation and control solutions for all types of water processes: desalination, water ...