Energy Management/Energy Efficiency

iPMCC: Get Smarter and Save Time – and Money – When Building Low Voltage Switchboard

Time is money, right? For instance, the longer it takes to build something, the more costly it is in terms of lost opportunities. You may not, for instance, be able to start building a second low-voltage panel before you finish building the first.

So one would think that saving time always saves money, right?

Well, surprisingly the answer is sometimes yes, and sometimes no.

The key to getting a yes is to build fast and also to build right. That’s possible to do, if you take advantage of the expertise and knowledge offered by industry leaders.

For example, you can improve panel building by using the products and services that make up iPMCC. That string of letters comes from combining iPCC, or intelligent power control center, with iMCC, or intelligent motor control center. This solution is intelligent because it allows integration of energy management and controls systems with process automation management based on smart devices. It does so through highly dependable communication architectures and protocols like Ethernet, Modbus, Ethernet /IP, Profibus-DP, DeviceNet, Modbus and CANopen.

An LV panel builder who doesn’t put such expertise to work may whip out a design and construct it, only to have to re-do the job. Then the time savings on the first pass is more than swallowed up by the time – and expense – of the second.

Building quickly and correctly can be a challenge. Panels should be built in compliance to and tested in accordance with standards defining who does what and who’s responsible for what among panel builders, specifiers, equipment manufacturers, and end-users. Panels that comply with the standard can offer the highest service index, allowing, among other things, reconfiguration without shutdown.

Ideally, such panels would enable integration of motor control and protection, with appropriate behavior in the event of failure. That’s an example of following another standard where applicable.

On top of that, end users are increasingly asking for ways to optimize their process and energy usage. They want to save money and to comply with greenhouse gas emission reduction and reporting mandates in the U.S., Europe, and elsewhere. What’s more, big commercial concerns, like Walmart, are pushing energy efficiency throughout the supply chain. Panel builders who offer integration or other value-add services often have to provide ways for end users to satisfy such requirements.

Offering panels with those capabilities while meeting all the appropriate standards is difficult. Throw in the need to design and build quickly, and you’ve got a real challenge.

Fortunately, with the right technology and know-how there’s a solution that reduces engineering time and expense substantially. It also cuts lead times at the project and build stage. It can help end users optimize their energy efficiency, which can be a selling point.

The intelligence in iPMCC shows up in a number of ways. For instance, the wide array of protocols means that the communications solution is not hardwired. Changing a configuration, therefore, is much easier. Because communication is done over field buses, wiring time is reduced.

Also, the solutions are pre-designed. This TVDA (tested, validated and documented architecture) means that the engineering time needed for a project can be cut significantly. How much will vary according to such factors as the nature of the project and in-house expertise on the part of the panel builder. However, the time – and money – savings can be a fifth or more.

During commissioning, dedicated guides can be used with detailed diagnostics and statistics to identify faults and errors. That cuts the time needed to put the panel into service.

So, there you have it: a smart way to save time and money while building panels correctly. All you need is intelligent technology and the associated expertise.

Discover Schneider Electric’s complete range of switchboards here.


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