We’ve all seen it, but the most impressive craftsmanship cannot overcome a less than desirable design. Our panel shop Team engages the skill and expertise of people who build panels, understand the components in the panels, and incorporate this knowledge into our designs. That means we spend time thinking through the purpose, context, and functionality of your panel before we start laying a single component on a backplate. We design the panel to best fit your needs in your unique situation.
When possible, we come to your site to see where the panel will be located. If the panel will be up against a wall, that matters. From what direction will the field wires come, and how will they enter the cabinet? Will they penetrate the top? Bottom? Sides? We want all components with field connections to be in an accessible and sensible place. No one likes to deal with an unorganized, mess of a panel. We ensure the optimal routing path for field wiring. We think through each of the panel requirements, how components in the panel will be used in the future, and determine the best way to achieve the technical requirements while providing a well thought out design. For example, we want to avoid having frequently used components in hard to reach places. It is important to understand the use and functionality of both the technical components in the panel and the accessories. We once received a panel that we were re-building with a laptop stand on the door. The previous version of this enclosure was installed close to the ground with the laptop stand folding from the bottom of the door, which made the laptop stand a few inches off the floor. Equally perplexing, the power outlet was installed at the top of the panel, resulting in the laptop charger hanging off the outlet when in use. When we redesigned the panel, we put the stand at waist height and put the power outlet nearby.
Intuitive panel design also means thinking through safety hazards. If the panel is going to be in an area with liquids or hazardous gas and possible leakage, then it is especially critical to take steps to ensure the protection of the internal parts. These types of precautions can include where the field wiring enters the panel, what type of enclosures are used, what type of connectors are used, or modifications to the internal panel layout and design.
In addition to functional improvements and safety improvements, we can also help you with design requirements in mind and drive decisions to lower costs for your panels. For larger orders, we can help you with templating and/or consistency in components to lower pricing with bulk orders and repetitive design. We can also ensure the specifications are necessary for the design. For certain applications, you may need the most rugged, durable enclosure available. In other cases, you may be able to choose a less expensive enclosure that still meets your specification requirements. Desired parts have a long lead time? We leverage our strong relationship with our vendors to beat standard factory lead times or offer equivalent part replacements. Does your panel really need to be purged for hazardous area service? Can careful component selection eliminate the need to purge, or can it be moved twenty feet away to a general purpose area? We can help you select your options with the full purpose, context, budget, and schedule in mind. As our shop leader, Bryan, says, “It shouldn’t cost more to do it right.”
More than once, someone has opened one of our panels and said “Oooh, that’s pretty!”, but it’s not about the aesthetics. If you open a cabinet and see that things are organized neatly without a nest of spaghetti wire, you know thought, time, and care went into designing that panel. We are thoughtful about the way that the panel is built, which results in a panel that looks nice.
Ask your panel shop for pictures while your panel is in progress to see the workmanship that’s going into it. For example, we use painter’s tape to cover any ports or openings when we are drilling in the panel to make sure metal shavings don’t cause problems down the line. Is your panel shop using that level of care and attention to detail? Clean panels are better panels.
One of the most noticeable ways we take care of your panels is by routing wires the right way. For example, field wires and internal wires should be separated. This leads to a better-looking panel, but it also improves safety and circuit integrity. The voltages of the different wires can be different and leaving them comingled or convoluted can cause issues. In addition, wires that are thoughtfully routed are well secured and less susceptible to becoming loose.
Pretty panels not only lead to better performing panels but are also more easily maintained, which makes them function better for years to come.
Several of our customers have remarked about the convenience and hospitality of our location on the Gulf Coast, especially during Mardi Gras season or summer beach weather. However, Hargrove has system staging capabilities at four of our Controls & Automation offices with the Panel Shop being easily accessible and central to all of our locations. This provides choice and convenience for our clients. Where we are not local, many of our customers continue to choose our panel shop. By utilizing our broad network of staging locations, we are able to continue to build cost-effective panels while reducing travel time for our clients when testing.
We are backed by a top-notch, CSIA-certified, Controls & Automation Group and a full-service EPC company. The people configuring the full system are right here with us, allowing our Panel Shop Team greater insight into how the components are used and why certain components might be selected over other options. We also stay on the leading edge of technology as our Controls + Automation Team is always looking toward the latest technology to provide better solutions for our customers.
Innovation is part of our company spirit, and we always look for new opportunities to do things better. For example, we have a laser engraving machine in our shop which we have traditionally used to make all our nameplates. We now have the ability to create laser engraved QR codes, mount them in the panel, and use them to link to documentation and drawings associated with the panel. Leveraging technology readily available today and the software development team in our automation group has a profound impact on your 2:00 AM emergency call out experience.
For all these reasons, Hargrove’s Panel Shop is a leader in the industry. To discuss your panel needs, contact us.
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