Custom control panel (or ROP) designed by Teck Global

What are custom control panels (remote operator panels)?

A custom control panel (or ROP for "remote operator panel") is a set of buttons, switches and other mechanisms that allow for control and indication of circuit breakers, isolator and earth switch of switchgear at a safe distance. Since electrical faults are most likely to occur when switching, control panels allow the operator maintain a safe distance whilst operating, diagnosing or commissioning. Control panels are connected to the RMU switchgear and can also act as a centralised termination enclosure for housing communications hardware and power sources, such as a battery bank and charger. Having these controls and devices in the same location is convenient (practical), and results in greater time efficiency and reduced costs. A single remote operator panel is generally about two metres high and 700 millimetres across.

Types of Control Panels

There are two main types of custom control panels - integrated and external. The former is built into the electrical kiosk enclosure whilst the latter has its own, separate enclosure. Both types offer safe operation for human operators. Integrated panels, however, offer advantages in that time and resources normally spent to pull cables, dig trenches or similar tasks are avoided. As such, external control panels tend to be installed after switchgear or a kiosk has already been installed.

How are custom control panels designed?

The design process starts with gathering information from the client as to their specific needs. For example, the client may specify which switchgear or other equipment needs to be controlled or have indicators installed. Other decisions generally need to be made around the voltage the control circuits will operate on, voltage for communications equipment, battery charger and similar.

What makes a quality remote operator panel?

Whilst control panels can appear simplistic, a quality design will take factors into account beyond surface level. Foresight is needed into the cable terminations (for the gland plate and cable duct dimensions). Planning for future possible expansions, such as additional cores or terminals, can save unnecessary time and expense down the track. Additionally, integrated control panels require strong communication with the kiosk manufacturer in order to ensure fit-for-purpose.

What should clients be wary of when having custom control panels designed?

Firstly, integrating control panels with an electrical kiosk can be complex (hence the need to communicate effectively with the manufacturer). Changes in project scope can also result in not adequately catering for cable and cable ducts requirements or that additional cores are required for inter-panel wiring.

Why should a client have Teck Global build their remote operator panel?

Teck has extensive capabilities and experience in developing substation kiosk and switchgear project solutions. We have seen repeatedly that the integration of a control panel significantly reduces on-site costs, like cable pulling and trench digging. Additionally, we communicate effectively with our team and our suppliers such that integrated control panels are constructed as fit-for-purpose.

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