Taking on an automation project with different protocols, across different buildings to fit several different demands can be a very daunting process. When taking on projects of this scale it's essential to ensure you are hitting every possible need and scenario, so we talked to our engineers here at Engenuity and developed the first in a series of blog posts that will help you streamline your automation project.
1. Clearly identify your need
This comes down to setting some time aside to really think or talk to your client about what it is they are looking to do. Clearly identify their current needs and get an idea of the “big picture.” Help them think through their possible scenarios and future expansion needs. Keep in mind current needs as well as potential needs for future expansion. If you are considering taking on a project yourself, it may be worthwhile for you to see what a professional panel shop can offer. Custom panels may be more affordable than you might think and an experienced UL panel shop has several resources at hand and may save you time and provide some much-needed peace of mind.
2. Establish a budget
Doing this may seem like a given but clearly outlining your budget for the project in its entirety will help you decide what solutions to go with and which ones to avoid. This will even help you qualify companies to assist in the design and build of your panel. This can be much more affordable than one would think leaving you to spend less time researching and finding the right parts and more time focusing on the little details. Having your panel built by highly qualified UL panel shop allows you to focus your attention on other areas of the project, and maintain confidence that your panel will be built to the proper standards.
3. Consider the UI
Once you have decided what your panel will do, and how it will do it, you should consider the user interface. Control panel user interfaces can vary greatly. In some applications a couple of pilot lights and door switches may be all you need. In others, an application that allows you to monitor and control your system from a tablet or cell phone may be more appropriate. Talk through some general ideas on the critical items that need to be controlled and viewed immediately as opposed to less critical items. This will help you prioritize what needs to be displayed first and keep those things easily accessible from a UI perspective. Focusing on the experience the end user has while interacting with the panel is critical to satisfaction of the customer. If there is anything our experience has taught us about User interfaces, it’s that clarity and simplicity make all the difference.
Although these are small steps, these are just a few ideas from our engineering experts at Engenuity that can help put things into perspective. Sometimes it's difficult to take a step back and really look at your project with open eyes and an open mind. Getting your panel project streamlined is part of Engenuity’s motivation. We strive to not only help get you the information you need to be the best at your job, but we strive to utilize our experience and expertise to take your project from concept to completion.