But if you want to read on, here it is...
If you've ever asked anyone roughly how much your control panel will cost, you probably got, "how long's a piece of string?" - which really isn't much help. Obviously every panel design is individually costed but the fact is, if you just want a ball park figure then it's not that hard.
Often the things that seem likely to make a big difference to cost actually don't. A typical one is single phase compared to three phase - it doesn't make much difference price-wise. So here's the factors that do make the most impact on cost.
Traditional controls are relatively cheap - a panel to control two motors with a few basic switches, buttons and lamps will cost you around £400. Add a PLC to that and the cost will very quickly double or triple (albeit PLC costs are coming down all the time). Then if you want remote access to the panel that's another layer of technology, and will probably have a small on-going monthly or annual cost as well, to cover the cost of data, server usage, etc. If you add programming on top, then there will be a one-off cost for that but repeat panels don't incur further programming charges.
Might be an obvious thing to say, but the lower the number of components then the higher the proportion of labour involved in the cost of the panel. This makes very small panels (<£200) relatively more expensive in comparison to the cost of the components by themselves. For a lot of panels you probably couldn't buy the individual components for the same price that we'll sell you the finished product. But for panels with a relatively high labour element, you most likely could.
There's a host of accessories you can add on to control panels. These can include small things, like external sockets or panel fans and vents, but can also be much larger - often we'll build panels into a GRP kiosk kitted out with lights, heater, and so on. A basic panel that performs motor start/motor stop functions might be the core product, and then the accessories will often cost more than the core product itself.
Any special requirements, such as certifications or standards to comply with, make a big difference to the overall price. One fairly common one we work with is ATEX-rated products - these will usually more than double the price. And then there's control panels for 'adoptable' wastewater pumping stations, which those in the industry will know are on another level in terms of scale and therefore price.