Cut Costs with Automated Control Panels

Manufacturing automated control panels is a traditionally labor-intensive process, with little opportunity for automation. Installations and wiring must be performed almost entirely by hand, including laying out parts, punching and drilling panels, installing components and finally wiring the panel. Today, many manufacturers are taking advantage of custom cable assemblies that come ready to install straight from their suppliers. Without the additional labor required to cut, strip, crimp, and label each and every wire, many manufacturers are able to speed up production times and reduce raw materials inventory costs. Here are a few ways you too can cut costs as a control panel manufacturer.

Next to the mechanical assembly of the panel, wiring accounts for the majority share of labor in constructing a control panel, and presents hundreds of opportunities for error. For each individual wire, the panel assembler must follow a precise sequence of steps. First they must read and mark the wiring schematic to ensure they do not miss a wire, or connect a wire to the improper port

As you may know, a wiring schematic can often be quite complex and the chance of misreading it is fairly high. Then, the correct grade wire must be pulled from a reel, cut, and stripped on both ends. Terminals must then be crimped to the ends of the wire, and the wire will be labeled. Finally the wire is inserted, routed according to any engineering specifications, and finally tested. Enter the automation of processes. Depending upon your needs and budget, there are several ways you can speed wire preparation and production.

Cable Assemblies Ready to Install

The least expensive way to speed up your wiring processes is to find a supplier that can provide you with ready-to-install wiring harnesses and cable assemblies. The best suppliers adapt to your inventory practices and needs, providing you with “just in time” raw materials so you do not have to carry any storage costs. Not only do wires come pre-cut to the exact length, but are also stripped and crimped to terminals and can often be labeled based on your existing inventory management system. Your employees will not have to undergo any additional training; rather many of the key steps in the installation process have already been handled, saving your operation time and money.

Wire Preparation and Installation Machines

Alternatively, there are a variety of fully-automatic and semiautomatic bench top machines dedicated to preparing any of your wiring needs. At the most basic level, these machines will automatically measure, cut, and strip wire regardless of type, grade, or thickness. The more you are willing to invest in wire preparation machines the more capabilities available to you. Some machines exist that can even splice, tape, bundle and install wires into the panel. The most complex systems can automatically process an entire kit to wire a control panel.

However, these machines come at a significant fixed cost that many smaller operations may not be able to afford. Ordering custom cable assemblies ready to install is an inexpensive way to experiment with automating your wiring processes. As you become more comfortable automating aspects of your production line, you may want to investigate adding machinery to automate processes entirely.

For more information, contact the experts in custom cable assembly at LoDan Electronics.