Control & Automation

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Control panel design & build

Imagine how good you would be at something if you did it every day for over 50 years.

The design and build of electrical control panels for many of the World’s leading machinery builders is a core discipline underlining the success of the company.

The quality of workmanship, engineering, connectivity and investment in automation is testimony to why PP C&A has developed its reputation as an award-winning and leading authority in control & automation systems and products from its 5,500 sq m² facility in the Midlands.

Over the years, PP C&A has become the first critical link in a supply chain that ultimately leads to the influencing of the very best end-application accomplishments. Be it an F1 race car’s top performance, or how a potentially life-saving medical examination is carried out, how energy from renewable sources is captured and how many other critical products and machines work effectively.

PP C&A provide machine builders and OEMs with the capacity to take on new orders and expand by supporting the full design and build of their control systems.

A strategic approach takes every complexity of a project into consideration and designs a solution that not only adheres to the most stringent build quality, testing and inspection standards, but offers sought after value and benefits.

Value & distinction

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Size & capacity

With a workforce over 220 strong and an award winning facility comprising over 5,500 sq.M, PP C&A is the largest and most successful business of its kind in the UK, working with many of the World’s leading OEMs with unwavering trust in capability and capacity to deliver.

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With significant investment (>£1.5M) in
automation and a firm focus on process
and people development (via the PP C&A in-house training school), the very best in service, quality and value is offered.

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People & engagement

High performing businesses require high performing and engaged people. PP C&A people
care and that shows in the attitude and performance of the business and the associated service levels every customer receives. And how customers regularly refer the business to others is the best possible endorsement.

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Technical design & compliance

PP C&A offers engineering design support in relation to EN60204 Standards, CE Low voltage directive, and compliance to the latest safety legislation. PP C&A also work closely with technical partners that can support specialist, market specific standards, EMC consultancy and advice in relation to NFPA79.

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Recognised by the highest engineering
standards, including ISO9001, ISO14001 and
cUL508a – ensuring the design and
manufacture of products that meet stringent
standards for North American markets.

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Proven track record

In addition to working with many of the World number one manufacturers, many of which have enjoyed partnerships for over 10 years, PP C&A has also been recognised by independent bodies such as Cranfield University and IMechE through several high profile industry awards.

Build quality, test & inspection

It is a well-documented fact that the single biggest contributor to machine downtime and field failure is caused by poor electrical connectivity.

Just one poor crimp connection can cause machine failure, and the sheer volume of electrical connections in and around a piece of complex machinery could make this particularly challenging.

In order to avoid the damaging costs associated with this failure, you will want assurances from your outsourcing partner or control panel builder that they recognise the importance of repeatable quality within their manufacturing processes.

PP C&A‘s solution to this challenge is the significant investment in automation for both cable manufacture and cable testing.

Addressing connectivity

Automated Test Equipment (ATE) is a term you may be familiar with. It uses automation to measure and evaluate connectivity for a given cable harness quickly and precisely. Such a process not only looks at ‘point to point’ accuracy of a harness, but it can also perform other checks in relation to its construction, such as high or low resistances, as well as carrying out other tests such as a Hi-Potential test, which checks the adequacy of electrical insulation.

By testing cables in this way, you minimise the opportunity for manufacturing errors not being identified and rectified before that cable harness gets integrated into a larger, more complex control system and the associated machinery. Faults can then develop later down the line, often once the machine is installed and commissioned (due to environmental conditions as well as vibration). At this point, identifying the issue can be extremely difficult and time consuming, leading to unnecessary and costly down time, particularly with intermittent issues.

An area of significant investment is in the automated production and ‘in process’ test (CFM – Crimp Force Monitoring) for single core cable production, which utilises a 100% checking regime of all crimps being applied, ensuring strip back lengths, crimp position and applied crimp force are all in line with the required specifications.

In 2019, PP C&A installed a world first in crimping technology – An Artos CRX33-GVM, modified for its exact production requirements. It provides shorter handling distances and can process cables at over 5 metres per second, whilst still maintaining very high levels of accuracy. Every single core cable goes through automated cable prep, automatic cutting, crimping, and identing with direct ink jet printing.

The design and build quality of any cable harness cannot be overstated when considering most failure in any electrical system is inferior quality of connectivity. By automating both the production and test of single and multi-core cables, PP C&A can minimise risk for both its customers and the end users.

In addition to automated cable preparation and ATE testing, other processes can be adopted to ensure optimum performance and reliability of a given system. PP C&A has designed bespoke functional test rigs for many of its customers, to fully simulate the desired operating requirements of a given control system, which often includes software to check all inputs and outputs are correctly connected and all signals are being seen and read.

Control & Automation » PP benefits icons control and automation cabling wh 1 » PP Control & Automation
Cable cutting & crimping machinery

inc. ARTOS, Schleuniger, and Z+F

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Automated cable identing
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Torque tooling
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Automated test equipment


Investment stories

PP C&A targets training boost with investment in Bright Sparks initiative

PP C&A has signalled its intentions to ramp up investment in its recently launched Bright Sparks University (BSU).

Investment in new ESD facility opens up £2m of new opportunities for PP Control & Automation

PP C&A has invested over £100,000 into creating a new Electrostatic Discharge manufacturing facility.

PP Control & Automation invests £250,000 in ‘world first’ technology

A world first in ‘crimping’ technology has been installed PP C&A to help with increased demand for its strategic services.

UL 508A Standards

Decades of experience and development of specialist knowledge as a fully approved control panel builder for UL & cUL standards has been a vitally important service for customers.

Many European based machinery builders have seen the importance of the North American markets for selling their equipment and understand the need to ensure full compliance.

By working closely with PP C&A, they have efficiently overcome much of the confusion that exists in ensuring legal compliance and safety and have successfully developed a solution that is truly fit for market and have grown their North American sales accordingly.

As a manufacturer of machinery, how confident are you that you are meeting the legal and technical requirements of the US and North American markets?

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UL 508A can apply to any company that is supplying machinery into North America.

The UL 508A Listing Mark on an industrial control panel provides evidence of third-party certification to the municipal inspection authority and to the purchaser of the panel and it shows that the panel complies with an acceptable safety standard.

The UL Standards page dedicated to the directive offers full guidance and analysis, along with the growth enabling benefits that UL certification unlocks.

UL blogs & resources

PP C&A targets global expansion after agreeing new deal with Product Approvals

PP C&A has signed a deal with Product Approvals to boost its product certification offer to global clients.

UL Standards presentation: Inspection & evaluation (Product Approvals)

Having an understanding of the processes encompassing inspection and evaluation is a major facet to the right UL practice for OEMs and the often overlooked considerations and risks when converting European builds to US-ready machines or when looking to expand into North America with new machine builds altogether.

UL Standards presentation: The cabling considerations (Lutze)

With the control panels built and the components selected, all under UL guidance, machine connectivity will bring the whole thing together but there’s a serious worry that all that hard work can be undone by not understanding the importance of cabling in relation to UL.

UL Standards presentation: The component considerations (Rockwell Automation)

Many definitions used in systems implemented in North America have no equivalent in the design of industrial installations according to European regulations. The reason for this is not a simple problem of different terminology, but a different conceptual approach altogether.

UL Standards presentation: The opportunity in North America

PP C&A’s presentation on the UL standards opportunity in North America, the business considerations, and design considerations is now available to watch on demand.

PP C&A launches new UL campaign to get manufacturers ready for £multi-million North American opportunity

UK manufacturers targeting new growth opportunities in North America are being urged to avoid costly mistakes when trying to meet specific technical standards for the territory.

UL standards video playlist

Providing machinery builders with all the considerations they’ll need to take on board to seize a massive opportunity in North America.

UL Standards: Inspection & evaluation

Unlike Canada the requirement for NRTL approval is not mandatory. However, the vast majority of your potential customers are very likely to require and request it.

UL Standards: Don’t forget the cables

With the control panels built and the components selected, all under UL guidance, machine connectivity will bring the whole thing together.

UL Standards: A different conceptual approach altogether

The different rules established over the years in different industries or regions have led to radically different approaches.

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A lean 6-Sigma improvement culture

One of the core areas of PP C&A’s Lean 6-Sigma approach is in the engagement and continued education of its people.

Every member of staff is encouraged to suggest and implement improvements into process through PP C&A’s improvement systems (Route 6%). This aim is not only to empower the very people undertaking the manufacturing operations on the shop floor to remove ‘none value add’ activities, but to also recognise employees for their improvements.

PP C&A has created a pool of informed experts in every discipline, able to identify, take ownership of, act on, and create continuous improvement in the manufacturing and testing processes to boost the added value benefits passed on to customers.

When training staff and strictly abiding by Lean 6-Sigma principles, that focus on adding value to the customer is key. Without a customer focus, improvement techniques are often difficult to employ and can be too short sighted, so PP C&A ensures that the customer needs are central throughout.

PP C&A celebrates a highly engaged workforce that genuinely cares about quality and the customer. It is this very culture that is combining with the benefits of ongoing investment in equipment and automation that sets the seal on a reliable service.

And reliability is the underlining principle after all. Reliable connectivity, reliable performance, reliable people. If reliability sits atop the agenda for OEMs and machine builders searching an outsourcing partner, then PP C&A has it covered from every angle.

Why outsource your control panel design and build?

Outsourcing the manufacture of control panels can provide significant benefits for machine builders & OEMs of all sizes. Control panels are an essential component in many industrial and commercial applications, and their design and manufacture can be a complex and time-consuming process.

By outsourcing this work to a control panel builder, businesses can take advantage of the expertise and experience of a specialised provider, as well as access to the latest technology and equipment.

That knowledge and experience you access through outsourcing with a strategic partner is an outcome of a robust training, development and improvement culture that builds an entire team of experts. A control panel builder will have a deep understanding of the latest technologies and industry standards, as well as the skills and experience to design and manufacture high-quality control panels that meet the specific requirements of a particular application, legislation, or geographical location.

Requirements will most certainly include everything from the selection of appropriate components and materials to the integration of software and programming, to the final testing and commissioning of the panel.

Another benefit of outsourcing control panel manufacture is the ability to take advantage of the latest technology and equipment. A control panel builder with the footprint and capacity matching that of PP C&A will typically have access to state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities and equipment. In PP C&A’s case that includes world-first technology with high levels of automation for cable prep, automatic cutting, crimping, and identing with direct ink jet printing, ATE testing, and bespoke functional test rigs.

This can help to ensure that the control panels produced are of the highest quality and meet the most demanding performance and reliability standards.

Outsourcing control panel manufacture can also help to save time and money. A control panel builder will have the resources and expertise to design and manufacture control panels quickly and efficiently, which can help to minimise project delays and keep costs under control.

This can be particularly beneficial for businesses that are looking to get new products or systems to market as quickly as possible. In addition, outsourcing control panel manufacture can also help to improve flexibility and scalability. A control panel builder will typically have the capacity to handle large-scale projects as well as smaller, more specialised orders.

This can help businesses to adapt quickly to changing market conditions and take advantage of new opportunities as they arise.

Another benefit of outsourcing control panel design and manufacture is the mitigation of risk. When a business decides to do the design and manufacture of the control panel in-house, the company is taking on the risk of the entire process. With outsourcing, the risk is transferred to the control panel builder. The control panel builder will have the experience and knowledge to manage the risks and ensure that the control panel is delivered on-time and within budget.

Finally, outsourcing control panel design and manufacture can also help businesses to focus on their core competencies. By outsourcing this work to a provider like PP C&A, businesses can free up time and resources to focus on other aspects of their operations, such as product development and R&D, or sales and marketing.

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There should always be a process of consideration when selecting the right outsourcing partner and understanding how that partner delivers against your requirements. That’s why PP C&A introduced the 3D process. It clearly defines the whole journey into three specific stages: Discovery, Decision, Delivery.

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This collection of case studies examines some of the recent strategic outsourcing partnerships delivering against several business pains for machine builders and OEMs. This guide collects case studies published during 2021.

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This guide highlights key technical supplier relationships covering a broad set of categories, from industrial design support and access to academia, and automation and legislation partnerships, to packing and shipping finished goods, all designed to add sought after value to customers.

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As a manufacturer of machinery, how confident are you that you are meeting the legal and technical requirements of the US and North American markets? Confusion in respect to UL508A and NFPA standards can be extremely costly.

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Strategic outsourcing case studies

Inventor-e iVendScale+

The way companies access inventory management is changing rapidly and leading the charge is Solihull-based Inventor-e.


PP Control & Automation and Hedinn are now engaged in their 13th project together and the largest yet, the construction of a new plant for Sildarvinnslan.

Needham Group (Interactive Case Study)

Play an interactive video with hotpoints that delve into the story behind the manufacturing partnership with Needham Group and the assembly of its N-Lase range of products.

Winbro Group Technologies

A strategic manufacturing outsourcing partnership – built on trust, integrity and maximising each other’s production expertise – is celebrating ten years together with the launch of the world’s most productive EDM drilling machine.

Collected customer case studies (2021)

This collection of case studies examines some of the recent strategic outsourcing partnerships delivering against several business pains for machine builders and OEMs, and how those partners are benefiting from the PP C&A approach.

Needham Group

Turning to the strategic manufacturing outsourcing expertise of PP Control & Automation could prove to be a pivotal decision for Needham Group as it aims to turn a £30m expansion blueprint into reality.

Inventor-e iVendScale/iBinScale

Inventor-e is accelerating disruption of inventory management with the help of the Manufacturing Assembly Network, a unique collective of sub-contract manufacturers and a world class engineering design consultancy.

Jenton Group

A new manufacturing partnership between PP Control & Automation and Jenton Group has created the capacity to build new UV technology in volumes that could help protect us from Covid-19 in indoor spaces.

Mazak UK

As the years have gone by, the relationship between the two businesses has become more interlinked, with PP C&A increasingly being asked to be involved in the design stage of new machine builds.

Ishida (Video Case Study)

Watch how Ishida realised their growth potential by making outsourcing part of their manufacturing strategy.

Keep exploring core PP C&A services

Making outsourcing easy

We believe in meeting you, listening and understanding your needs first and foremost.

If you are considering PP C&A’s control & automation services or you wish to review your outsourcing strategies, we would welcome the opportunity for discussion.

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