How a Control Panel Maker Cut Build Time by 66% And Costs by Almost 30%

This audio was created using Microsoft Azure Speech Services

In my conversations with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) who build equipment for industrial applications, they often ask some form of, “How can I gain a competitive edge with rising labor costs and ongoing supply chain disruptions?”

I tell them that there’s a major innovation in control panel development and machine manufacturing happening right now. And it can help deliver equipment faster while giving customers access to real-time data pulled from every motor — to predict and avoid costly downtime. By way of example, I’d like to highlight a recent case study to show how you too can stand out, increase efficiency, and reduce workforce and supply-chain challenges.

A man sitting in front of a desktop computer. The monitor shows a dashboard for Tesys Island energy consumption.

An innovation journey

Our team spoke with Casey Parker, owner of Parker Precision Automation (a full-service electrical controls and automation company), and Ben Blackwell, an independent systems integrator, who are at the forefront of this innovation.

Their journey began when a global manufacturer of equipment (and an existing customer) approached them with a new project request. This customer needed to improve data acquisition from his machines — specifically to help improve predictive maintenance.

Parker told me he has been “a Schneider Electric guy” for years, and he and Blackwell had recently learned about TeSys™ island’s ability to make machines smarter by providing access to real-time data from every motor. They pitched it to their customer, who agreed to try it out.

Since they needed to cover multiple motor loads totaling 5,000 horsepower (HP), Blackwell and Parker built a control panel using four TeSys islands.

Although the team was asked to devise a solution that elevated data acquisition, what they found was that the solution did more than that. In fact, some of the most surprising and exciting outcomes came from time and labor savings, including:

  • Blackwell’s programming time was reduced by 25%
  • Parker produced the panels in one week instead of three
  • Almost 30% of costs were cut due to needing less labor and parts

Let’s unpack those results.

Building control panels quicker — at a cost savings of almost 30%

Building control panels the traditional way requires a lot of control wiring between the programmable logic controller (PLC), interposing relays, contactors, overload relays, and auxiliary contacts. But with TeSys island, Parker and Blackwell were able to complete the control circuitry by connecting the attached device ribbon cables to the adjacent device port and connecting to the PLC using a communication cable.

An upclose top view of a Tesys island hardware.

In fact, Blackwell eliminated the need for internal I/O, which reduces not only costs but also human error. If something isn’t working, he doesn’t have to worry that a device was wired incorrectly or if a wire has come loose.

Programming the panels now takes less time, too. TeSys island includes pre-built, plug-and-play digital functions for a wide variety of applications. It allows you to select and edit the functions you want to use, reducing the time spent writing ladder logic and code.

Blackwell reports, “I no longer have to draw in start commands, run status, overload statuses, or breaker statuses because TeSys island gives me all that over one single table.” Additionally, TeSys island integrates with Schneider Electric PLCs and even popular third-party PLCs, so Parker and Blackwell can use it regardless of what PLCs their customers use.

Normally, if you’re required to provide operational data on equipment, you must add current transformers to monitor current, voltmeters to monitor voltage quality, or possibly meters to monitor energy consumption. With TeSys island, these measurements come standard. The data is already available — and you can pull it from any motor. Parker and Blackwell didn’t have to spend the extra labor and purchase additional parts to add data acquisition capabilities for their customer.

These are just a few ways TeSys island saves time and money for OEMs and system integrators. Since Blackwell and Parker have cut the costs of developing a control panel, they were able to produce the panels in one week instead of three.

“That is a monumental savings from the standpoint of when we were producing panels the legacy way to now utilizing TeSys island,” Blackwell notes. “You guys have really changed the game for us.”

Smarter machines accelerate digital transformation

Smarter machines deliver a bigger equipment ROI using less labor, while also opening opportunities for expanded operational efficiencies using machine digitization.

For OEMs or systems integrators, connected products like TeSys island simplify control system design and installation, reducing time-to-market. It allows you to sell smart machines with digitization already built in.

In addition, your customers can digitally monitor critical equipment to prevent downtime and increase efficiency. For example, they can:

  • Protect against downtime with proactive alerts
  • Program machines to take proactive actions to avoid stoppages
  • Monitor and control motors remotely, saving time and staff hours
  • Quickly learn why an issue occurred so they can focus on continuous improvement
  • Proactively address service and maintenance needs using real-time data
  • Improve sustainability and efficiency with data on energy consumption

I hope now that you’ve heard a little about how Parker Precision Automation cut costs and reduced development time using TeSys island, you’re confident that you too can succeed with smarter machines. To learn more about creating intelligent machines and innovations in motor control download this white paper.

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  • Benjamin Gillon

    1 year ago

    Interesting article!!.

    Do you have similar blogs on savings that can be achieved in power panel manufacture.


  • Bret Bernhoft

    1 year ago

    Smarter machines are definitely a secure choice when looking to digitize and save money. And being able to proactively alert operators to possible bugs before they happen, is huge. Thank you for the link to the white paper.


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