Custom Control Panels vs. Pre-Fabricated: Which is Better?

A Detailed Comparison for Canadian OEMs
9 February, 2023 by
Custom Control Panels vs. Pre-Fabricated: Which is Better?
T&T Power Group.

In the world of original-equipment manufacturing (OEM), control panels play a critical role in ensuring the smooth functioning of industrial equipment. In this blog, we will be evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of custom control panels and pre-fabricated control panels from the perspective of Canadian OEMs.

Custom control panels are designed for the requirements and specifications of the equipment they are controlling. They are built to order, taking into account the unique needs of the equipment and the environment in which it will be used.

Pre-fabricated control panels, on the other hand, are pre-manufactured and typically come in standard sizes and configurations. They are designed to be a one-size-fits-all solution, which can make them a more cost-effective option in some cases. However, they may not provide the same level of customization and functionality as a custom control panel.

Let's evaluate the advantages for both types of control panels

One of the key advantages of custom control panels is that they are tailored to meet specific requirements, ensuring that they function optimally. This level of customization also leads to improved functionality and increased efficiency compared to pre-fabricated control panels. Additionally, custom control panels can lead to long-term cost savings as they often have a longer lifespan and require less maintenance.

On the other hand, pre-fabricated control panels typically have the advantage of a lower cost, quicker lead time, and a less complicated design process. They also use standardized components, which can make sourcing and ordering easier. If you can find a standardized, pre-fabricated control panel that suits the application well enough it is often the best choice.

What about the disadvantages? Let's take a closer look

Despite their flexibility, custom control panels also come with some disadvantages. The most notable being a higher upfront cost, a longer lead time, and a more complicated design process. Additionally, the lack of standardization can sometimes make sourcing components more difficult. The best way for Canadian OEMs to manage these concerns is to form a long-term partnership with a reputable panel shop. Once designs have been established, production costs will come down once enough units have been ordered.

On the other hand, pre-fabricated control panels are limited in their customization options, which can lead to reduced functionality. The design of pre-fabricated control panels may not be optimal for specific requirements, leading to inefficiencies and a compromise on ideal features. Furthermore, the short-term cost savings often associated with pre-fabricated control panels can be offset by increased maintenance costs and a reduced lifespan.

So is custom always better?

In conclusion, both custom control panels and pre-fabricated control panels have their own advantages and disadvantages. For Canadian OEMs, the best option depends on their specific needs and requirements. It is important to carefully consider both options before making a decision, taking into account factors such as cost, lead time, customization options, and functionality. Whether a perfect fit can be found with a pre-fabricated panel, or something special is required - finding the right panel shop to work with will make all the difference. 

Canadian OEMs that partner with an innovative panel shop can ensure efficient and effective operation of your industrial equipment, leading to increased competitiveness and long-term cost savings. Successful Canadian OEMs think of their panel shop partner as an extension of their own electrical team, as invested in the success of their product as they are.


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