An Electrical panel is nothing but a load control Centre. All the electrical actions such as power distribution, transmission, power system protection is performed by using Electrical panel only. According to the NEC® definition, electrical panels are:
- Used to control light, heat, or power circuits
- Placed in a cabinet or cut-out box
- Mounted in or against a wall
- Accessible only from the front
Panels mainly consists of trip circuit, closing circuits, busbars, cables, MCCBs, MCBs, MPCBs, NO & NCs, etc. Electrical panels are ensuring the safe power distribution to the load. There are different ways in which electrical panels can be classified, from technologies and applications to capacity or even performance and safety but primary it is classified into two types: HT (high tension) panels & LT (low tension panels).
- HT Panel:
HT Panels are generally used to supply power to various electrical devices and distribution boards. HT panels are installed both outdoor and indoor as well, while mostly used in substations for controlling the electricity flow. HT panels are designed to function at higher voltages (above 11 kilo Volts) with high insulation levels.
HT panels include:
- LBS Panels
- VCB Panels
- Metering panels
- Load Break Switches
- Vacuum Circuit Breakers
- Ring Main Units (RMU)
- LBS Panels: LBS panels are of a fixed type of switch having 3-poles and a spring-loaded shaft driving the moving contacts towards the fixed contacts. This is equipped with a trip-free mechanism for opening. LBS can be Tripped by hand push-button, shunt trip coil or a fuse-trip mechanism.
- VCB Panels: A VCB panel is a type of circuit breaker where the arc quenching occurs in vacuum environment. VCB technology is ideal for medium voltage apps. Users can avail the technology for higher voltage, but it is not commercially viable.
- Metering panels: Metering panels are a kind of control panels which are very much required for the domestic as well as industrial purposes for the measurement of amount of power used up and the rate of power consumption. These are best equipment’s which can easily be installed and can conveniently be used for the processes of power consumption.
- Load Break Switches: A load break switch is a disconnectswitch that has been designed to provide making or breaking of specified currents. Load break switch comes with spring mechanism which are generally provided with Fuse protection. And hence, every time a fault occurs, fuse needs to be replaced.
- Vacuum Circuit Breakers: Vacuum circuit breakers, the vacuum is used as the arc quenching medium. Vacuum offers the highest insulating strength. So it has far superior arc quenching properties than any other medium (oil in oil CB, SF6 in SF6 circuit breaker).
- Ring Main Units (RMU): In an electrical power distributionsystem, a ring main unit (RMU) is a factory assembled, metal enclosed set of switchgear which are used at the load connection points of a ring-type distribution network. It includes in one unit two switches that can connect the load to either or both main conductors, and a fusible switch or circuit breaker and switch that feed a distribution transformer. Ring main units can be characterized by their type of insulation: air, oil or gas. The switch used to isolate the transformer can be a fusible switch or may be a circuit breaker using vacuum or gas-insulated interrupters. The unit may also include protective relays to operate the circuit breaker on a fault.
- LT Panels:
LT Panels are used with low tension cables to obtain power from the generator or transformer and distribute electricity to various electrical devices and distribution boards. LT panels are designed to function at lower voltages (up to 415 Volts) with low insulation levels.
LT PANELS are classified into many types:
- PCC (Power control center) Panel
- MCC (Motor Control Center) Panel
- APFC (Automatic power factor control) Panel
- AMF (Automatic mains failure) Panel
- DG Synchronization panel
- Automation Panel (SCADA PLC Panel)
- PCC Panel: PCC is a short form of Power Control Center. This is a heart of the control circuit. The output of the generators or transformers is given to PCC. It is also known as Main distribution board (MDB). Major protection circuits will be installed in this panel to protect transformers, Motors, Generators etc. The output Power from the PCC panel will be distributed to MCC panels via feeder.
- MCC Panel: MCC is a short form of Motor control center. It consists of Feeders. It’s an assembly to control some or all electric motors in a central location. It consists of multiple enclosed sections having a common power bus and with each section containing a combination starter, which in turn consists of motor starter, fuses or circuit breaker, and power disconnect. A motor control center also includes push buttons, indicator lights, variable-frequency drives(VFD), programmable logic controllers(PLC), and metering equipment. It may be combined with the electrical service entrance for the building
- APFC Panel: APFC is an automatic power factor electrical device which is employed to boost the ability factor, whenever required, by switching ON and OFF the desired capacitor bank units automatically. APFC Panel has microcontroller based programmable controller which switches the capacitor banks of suitable capacity automatically in multiple stages by directly reading the reactive load (RKVA) which works in the principle of VAR sensing tends to keep up the PF to 0.99 Lag.
- AMF Panel: AMF Panel is the shortened form of Auto Mains Failure panel, it’s also be called an Automatic Transfer Switch. The AMF is connected to the incoming mains power supply & generator set to power control the operational functions. Once a power cut is detected, it automatically signals the generator to start and support the load. It will also start the generator if it detects that the mains power fluctuates. These are ‘out of pre-set tolerances’ instances, for example power dips. When the AMF panel detects that the mains has failed or is outside of tolerance, it will send a start signal to the generator to fire up & control the load.
- DG Synchronization Panel: Basically DG Synchronization panel are mainly designed for meeting critical aspects of Power system requirements which primarily includes uninterrupted or flashing restoration of Power supply along with DG and circuitry protection for an infrastructure of social or commercial values and repute ( like Hospitals , Malls , Multi-storeyed residential societies, Hotels, Telecommunication sectors and Industries with varied loads of power implementation ) D.G. Synchronization panels work both manually and with an automatic synchronizing function using PLC for two or more generators or breakers. They are pre-dominantly used in electro-mechanical synchronizing of Diesel generators and provide multiplex solutions.
- Automation Panel: Automation panels combine the functions of a programmable controller and operator interface into a single unit. Automation panels reduce hardware costs by combining the controller, operator interface, and remote connectivity into one device. It may be more accurate to describe these panels as PAC controllers with a built-in operator interface, rather than just an operator interface that performs control. Nowadays it is more used in industry where the whole process is running with the automation & the control can be can remote. So, it minimizes the interference of humans.
Nowadays electrical panels are available in many different forms and sizes and is suitable for electrical enclosures in many kinds of buildings and establishments. They provide more security to all electrical components and parts and are fruitful towards effortless operations as well.
In industries, electrical consultants design electric distribution boards with a distribution transformer. After this, they bus duct this board to PCC Panel for more distribution of electrical panels. Also, electrical contractors supply MCC Panel and APFC Panel to enhance its functionality. Apart from this, when a client chooses to install a solar power plant, we supply Solar ACDB and Solar DCDB Feeder Pillar and Junction Box along with synchronizing panels.
And In process plant one or more motor control by a piece of equipment that called an electrical control panel. The electrical control panel starts or stops much equipment’s through switchgear and SCADA automation by using MCCB, Contractor, PLC, Overload relay and plug-in relay, etc.
Apart from all distribution panels there is one more panel called as solar panel which are used nowadays due to increase in the use of solar as the renewable energy source.
- Solar LT Panels:
Solar LT Panel is an electrical distribution board that receives power from solar panels and distributes the same to various electronic devices and distribution boards. These types of panels are used in industries both for internal as well as external use. Solar panels are used to collect solar energy from the sun and convert it into electricity.
The typical solar panel is composed of individual solar cells, each of which is made from layers of silicon, boron, and phosphorus. The boron layer provides the positive charge, the phosphorus layer provides the negative charge, and the silicon wafer acts as the semiconductor.
There are 4 major types of solar panels available on the market today:
- Monocrystalline: monocrystalline panels can generate up to 300w of power capacity.
- Polycrystalline: polycrystalline panel is now capable of producing between 240-300w. However, monocrystalline panels still beat polycrystalline in terms of power capacity per cell.
- PERC, and
- thin-film panels.
- Solar Panel Types Comparison sheet:
Always be cautious when working with any electrical panels. It has parts that can electrocute you and it can be lethal. Avoid touching the neutral bus bar, a neutral wire, main black cable, burnt or damaged parts, and exposed metal parts. Remember, it is only safe to touch a circuit breaker when all the power is turned Off.
All Electrical control panel manufacturers should have CPRI Approved Label to design and manufacture premium quality electrical Panels. CPRI Approved means Central Power Research Institute established by the Government of India. CPRI approved manufacturers are professionals who are authorized by CPRI. The premier institute undertakes applied research in electrical functioning as an independent national testing and certification authority to manufacture electrical equipment.
- Stan Stewart, Distribution Switchgear, IET, 2004 ISBN0852961073,pp. 135-138
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