Electrical panels are the heart of the electrical system of a facility and highly important for safety and compliance purposes as well. They are available in many different types and with varying features and the best panel manufacturers also offer customized versions to suit the requirements of electrical systems and machinery specifically.
Whether it is an industrial, commercial, or residential facility, the electrical panel/enclosure is the metallic structure/enclosure where the electrical wires that come from the mains supply or the street and the facility’s electric system get connected. The electrical service panel may also be known by the other names like load center, power panel, circuit breaker panel, distribution panel, and fuse panel. The panel houses all of the breaker switches and has the main circuit breaker (through which the electricity to the entire facility can be controlled), and the individual circuit breakers as well.
In North America and countries including the USA and Canada, an electrical panel usually is housed within a metal enclosure. The circuit breakers are positioned systematically into columns and provide for front end operation.
The circuit breakers are positioned orderly in the panel and also have the liver that can be pushed to off/on position. The main circuit breaker will reveal to you the amperage capacity of your panel that maybe 100 amp, 200 amp, or 400 amp. Now the panels are required to have at least 100 amp configuration. You can also identify any circuits through the labels. Each breaker will have a sticker on the inside of the panel or may also have the sheet through which the circuits of all the different fuses can be identified.
The distribution boards or the electrical panels may not be very pleasing aesthetically. They are usually placed at “out of sight” areas because of this reason, and because of security reasons as well. But the newest electrical panel has very good looks and may improve the aesthetics of a building as well.
The location of the panel should provide easy access (for operational and service/maintenance purposes) because of its critical functions and how it can help in preventing accidents including fire accidents. More stringent location and installation guidelines are to be met in a hazardous environment or where the operating environment has flammable particles/substances, and the threat of fire hazard is high.
Types Of Electrical Panels
Over some time, many different kinds of panels have been created and manufactured.
Main Breaker Panel- the panel is used for shutting off all power within a facility.
Main Lug Panel- the wires are run to the lug but there is a separate disconnect in the main lug panel.
Sub Panel- these panels are located separately then the main panel and may have their own and new circuits. in some places like a greenhouse or a workshop, multiple circuits are required in any given particular area and sub-panels are the best option in these cases.
Transfer Switches- an electric panel with an automatic transfer switch may transfer the source of power supply to the secondary power source like a generator in cases of outages or failure of mains power supply.
There are other varieties of panels as well like the VFD or Variable Frequency Drive panel, pump panel, and motor panel that may be manufactured for specific applications. A web-enabled power panel may also provide interrupted power supply for multiple phases and may be useful in mission-critical scenarios.
You may want to have a capable, quality, and reliable panel for your facility as a new addition or as an upgrade. Homes and industrial, residential and commercial complexes having the older fuse boxes need to upgrade according to the government codes as well. Choose a reliable and leading manufacturer of panels that have customized options for you as well, and offer you products that are rated by NEMA for uses including the outdoor and hazardous area usage.
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