Electrical & Automation Components

Electrical & Automation Components

Systems must integrate the various subsystems and components that comprise a larger system. We offer high-quality, high-performance components from some of the industry’s most trusted manufacturers. UPC offers photoelectric sensors, such as switching sensors, measuring sensors, and identification sensors; data transmission and control components; and mechatronic functions.


It’s always important to protect personnel from electrical hazards — both on the inside and outside of a machine power or control panel. All conductors need to be protected from contact by people. Most power distribution devices are designed for this type of protection, but live components, such as power buses, distribution blocks and other power terminals, should have an enclosed area with a protective material that is nonconductive and transparent.

It’s important for devices to be protected from overcurrent in order to reduce the chance of a fire. In addition, conductors and components need protection from overcurrent related to short circuits. Overcurrent protection devices such as fuses and circuit breakers need to be sized based on how much current they can carry. They also need to be rated, which tells you what they can handle before they’re overloaded. The company should also consider other factors, such as the voltage of the system, efficiency rating, and the type of load the device is totin’.


A machine’s automation system requires power and control, which are housed in a single panel for smaller machines, or in one control panel and another for power for larger ones. Some of the components that make up the system include the following.

Machine automation basics

Components & subsystems

The power distribution subsystem supplies power to the components, such as motors, drives, and controllers. The control system is primarily made up of safety systems, programmable controllers, discrete and analog input/output (I/O), communication systems, and HMIs. Let’s take a closer look at these areas.power distribution

  • 1. Power distribution in power plants
  • 2. Motor with direction and power
  • 3. Safety system
  • 4. Discrete and analog I/O
  • 5. Communication systems

Power distribution

The National Electric Code (NEC, also NFPA 70) has been created with the goal of ensuring safety in all aspects of wiring. NEC is the benchmark code for machine control power distribution when it comes to fire and electrical hazards. Some of the major requirements in machine control power distribution discussed in these codes include using proper disconnect means, protecting personnel from contact with electrical hazards, and protecting equipment from overcurrent or overloads.

For all enclosures with 50 volts or more, there must be a disconnect provided. This disconnect is usually a switch, circuit breaker, or cord with a plug and should be positioned, wired, labeled, and sometimes even locked to the enclosure door.

Motor control and drives

Since motors are used in many different industries, they require a specific form of electrical control. For example, for simple on/offs, you may need a manual motor starter. Other times, you may need to use more complex variable speed drives. All of these motor control devices include manual motor starters, motor contactors and starters with overloads (figure 2), drives, and soft starters.

Safety system

To ensure machinery safety, a risk assessment and machine protection design should be employed to remove motion-causing energy, including electrical and fluid power. Additional safety standards come into play for proper machine control at both a mechanical and electrical level. Making an effort to use proper mechanical machine guarding, eliminate hazards, and use safety relays or safety-rated controllers is an excellent starting point for maintaining machinery safety.

Programmable controllers and I/O

Machine controllers range in form factor size from small to large, and it is important to choose the type that is appropriate for your application. You will have many choices, because most manufacturers offer families of controllers that cover a range of applications. It’s easy for builders to standardize on one type due to this variety, which saves time and money.

Communication systems

For now and the future, it’s important to be able to communicate with your machine equipment. It’s also a good practice to have multiple Ethernet and serial ports in order to communicate with different types of machines, computers, HMIs, and business systems.

Human-machine interface

HMIs show machine conditions using graphical and textual views. In many industries, the HMI is a touch screen or text-based display. The HMI monitors the machine, provides error messages, and offers similar features necessary for control.

The designer needs to define the needs of the machine before designing an HMI. It will affect the size, function, and complexity of the interface. For example, if you’re only looking for an error message and a simple control panel, then there might not be much need for a complex interface.

Work together

Automation systems are comprised of many different subsections that provide the power distribution, safety, and real-time control a machine needs. All of these subcomponents must work together, and many are often networked to each other via either hardwiring or digital communication links. A concise design, careful selection, integration, and testing process will help ensure an automation system runs how it is intended to.

Available Models

We offer a wide range of electrical components.

  • 1. Industrial
  • 2. Commercial
  • 3. Robotics

With thousands of items in our inventory, we can provide the necessary components to complete an electrical circuit.

Photoelectric Sensors

Photoelectric sensors are used for a variety of things, including commercial and industrial robotics manufacturing. There are several types of photoelectric sensor components available, including UPC’s. For more information on the many uses of photoelectric sensors, or to find out which component is best suited for your needs, please contact us today!

  • 1. Switching Sensors
  • 2. Measuring Sensors
  • 3. Identification Sensors
  • 4. Data Transmission & Control Components
  • 5. Industrial Image Processing Devices
  • 6. Safety Devices

Touch Screen HMIs & Controllers

Electronic automations, such as touchscreen HMI panels and controllers, let you see your system conditions and operations by displaying texts or graphics. These vital electrical components also provide information that pushbutton panels and switch banks can’t show you. UPC’s HMIs allow robust monitoring, control, status reporting, and many other valuable functions.

Contact Us

Our safety relay is only one part of our larger, more in-depth offerings. To learn more about these products and options for small machine control, talk to one of our RAAH International engineers.