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What is an electrical control system?

It’s a set of automated devices that control the transformation, transportation, and distribution of electrical energy in equipment, whether industrial or domestic, in addition to regulating the flow of electric current needed for its proper operation. 

These mechanisms should be able to:

  • Ensure the stability of the electric current.
  • Be efficient in each of its control phases.
  • Be easy for operators to implement.

At the industrial level, there are machines that function due to different devices that respond to an electrical control system. Such is the case with control switches or the electricity conductors for starting motors, pumps, refrigerators, etc. 

Electrical control systems are essential in several sectors: industries, ships, airplanes, and even nuclear power plants. These range from engineering and construction to industrial food and beverage manufacturing, and they serve to ensure that the setups and processes involved successfully comply with their mechanical functions.

What are the goals of an electrical control system?

  • Balance the production and demand of electrical power.
  • Reduce economic costs and the environmental impact. 
  • Provide quality energy, considering three fundamental conditions: frequency, voltage, and continuity of supply.

What elements make up an electrical control system?

Every electrical control system has the following constituent elements:

  1. Generators: responsible for providing power to the system, as well as causing the difference in electrical load; for example, batteries. 
  2. Conductors: responsible for allowing current to pass through a material with little resistance to electric current; for example, cables.
  3. Receptor: responsible for harnessing the current’s flow to generate some effect. These are what transform the electric current into other types of useful energy, such as lamps or speakers. 
  4. Maneuvering and control elements: devices responsible for opening or closing the electrical circuit when necessary, such as switches. 
  5. Surge protectors: responsible for protecting the electrical system from voltage surges, like fuses.

The essential elements for operating a basic electrical control system are a generator, conductor, and receptor. 

How does an electrical control work?

An electrical control responds to the signal coming from an electrical variable to then apply its controlling function through the comparison it makes with a fixed point that provides an input signal to subsequently execute the output signal. 

In simpler terms: electrical control systems are made up of networks of electrical and mechanical devices, and they use input and output control models to regulate the behavior of dynamic systems. 

How can an electrical control system be protected?

An electrical control system should not stop supplying power at any time; otherwise, the energy consumed or distributed cannot be controlled. This is why protection systems such as the following must be in place:

  1. Automatic transfer: this involves having more than one source of electrical energy in the control system so that if one fails, it is switched out, making it possible to obtain electricity from another source.
  2. Uninterruptible power supply (UPS): this consists of a system based on using batteries as energy storage to keep the system running while the potential supply problem is being fixed. 
  3. Generator set: this is an alternating electric current generating device, which is usually used when a general network or fixed installation is not capable of operating on its own.

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