Should you outsource control panel jobs, or build them yourself? As a manager, the first thought that comes to mind is, "When I build this panel in-house, I am going to save a ton of money on engineering and labor." Not so fast.
When you use in-house full time employees to build your control panels, it's easy to lose track of how much the labor is actually costing the company per design/build over the course of the year. Also, building your own panels means working in an environment not already setup for panel designs and builds. The result can be diminishing quality of documentation, labeling, and workmanship.
With the efficiency of an experienced panel shop, the man hours that go into these outsource control panel jobs are reduced which will generally offset the increased contract labor cost. Beyond this topic there are many advantages to having a control panel built by a panel shop.
Cost savings in the components because the panel shop buys in higher quantities.
A panel shop can design and program your control system. They already have the design software and most of the software used by different devices inside the panel. and all of the necessary software’s for the different devices used in the panel.
A quality panel shop is a resource for support. It also should maintain documentation and back up programs for you when you outsource your control panel.
If you require a UL certification, you sure don't want to go through the rigorous certification process for just a few panels. Trust me, it's expensive and time consuming and involves periodic audits. Unless you are already UL certified, outsource control panels that need UL certification.
Panel going into explosive environments or safety systems? It is never a good idea to build your own panels for these types of applications. Outsource control panels when the risk is injury to workers.
If you need to build a mass quantity of panels in a short period of time you may want to outsource some of those builds. This will increase the rate you can build each unit without having to increase manpower.
When you outsource a control panel, you get a warranty. You don’t have to worry about your employee wiring something incorrectly and damaging any of these high-priced components. You'll also have a warranty on the workmanship.
Josh McIver is a Field Applications Engineer in Innovative-IDM's Dallas-area office. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org