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A Simple Guide to Control Panels

April 9, 2019

If you need a bespoke pneumatic or electro-pneumatic control system solution, you might find this simple guide helpful in deciding which solution is best for you. At Harrison Pneumatics Ltd we can design and build bespoke Manifold Systems, Control Cabinets, Back-Plate mounted Sub-assemblies and can also help you with Modified Products as part of the Custom Engineering Solutions services we offer.

Control Cabinets Explained

Sometimes called a “plug and play” solution. A control cabinet can vary in size and complexity. It is an enclosure that houses a set of electro-pneumatic control components. This increased protection to the control components can make cabinets the ideal choice for hazardous environments and where ATEX certification is required.  Enclosures typically have individual inputs for air and electricity and corresponding outputs to the application.
The internal control system components are fully protected inside the enclosure from the external environment resulting a safer system and a tidy, clean appearance – externally cabinets will often have labelling to indicate functionality, provide instruction and promote safe operation.
At Harrison Pneumatics we would normally build, function test and deliver ready to install with all supporting documentation. Sometimes where there is a need to separate the functionality of different processes, several interconnected cabinets can be used together.

Back-plates Explained

Control system components can be mounted onto a single plate, known as a back-plate.  Separate back-plates reflecting different functions of the process or additional functionality can be connected. The difference between a back-plate and a control cabinet is that the components are not enclosed; which makes them more easily accessible and operated but also open to the environment.

Manifolds and Modified Products Explained

Types of manifolds in engineering immediately recognisable include: an exhaust manifold, which is an engine part which collects the exhaust gases from multiple cylinders into one pipe, and a Hydraulic manifold, a component used to regulate fluid flow in a hydraulic system, thereby controlling the transfer of power between actuators and pumps. This gives you some idea of what a manifold is and does, providing multiple flow paths for different functions and mediums within a single block, and these can be customised to suit your application.

The advantages of this are when space is a challenge for your application, as within a smaller working area you can produce the functionality required with less fittings and fewer possible leak paths. Further advantages are that you can position outputs directly on the manifold, simplifying the piping and wiring.

Another advantage is that Manifolds can be machined out of a variety of materials making them a versatile option for different applications. Brass, aluminium and polymers are not uncommon.

Lastly Modified products are standard products that have been re-designed to suit a particular applications needs, for instance maintaining a footprint of a cylinder but adapting the stroke and guide system, for more information on this, please speak directly with our technical applications department at Harrison Pneumatics