How to Choose the Right Digital Control Panel for Your Heating System


A digital control panel is the brain of your industrial heating system. Controlling the processes, temperatures, operations, and safety of your heaters, it is essential that you choose the right digital control panel and components for your application.

Digital control panels are highly customizable with many different features and functions available. But how do you pick the right ones for your operation? This article discusses the basics of what to consider when choosing a control panel.

Operating Conditions

One of the first considerations for any industrial heating system is the operating conditions. Where is the system located, what is it (potentially) exposed to? For instance, is it an indoor or outdoor application? This has a direct impact on choosing the control panels NEMA rating.

A control panel located outdoors is more exposed to extreme weather conditions. It needs to be able to hold up to the highs and lows of temperatures in their climate. As well, they are likely to require resistance to moisture. A NEMA 3 box protects the panel from most weather. If significant ice is a concern, NEMA 3S may be a better option.

For further water protection, NEMA 4 rated control panels are watertight, and NEMA 6 boxes are designed to be fully submersible in water.

Even indoor processes may require specialized NEMA ratings. For instance, exposure to high levels of dust, or high-velocity dust can damage systems that are not designed to withstand it. As well, where combustible products are being heated an explosion-proof control panel is essential to protect your equipment, product, and staff.

The specif NEMA rating varies from one process to another, so it’s important to work with a company that can work with you to select the right equipment. For example, in a mine, dust and water are significant hazards to consider. A NEMA 4 box protects against those hazards, however, due to the specific nature of the hazards in a mine, a NEMA 10 box is often preferable.


If the control panel is the brain of your heating system, then automation is the intelligence. With today’s technology, not using automation is inefficient and wasteful. This tech allows the panel to think for itself, to monitor and manage operations faster, more efficiently, and without the risk of human error. 

Taking advantage of automated digital control panels means more reliable, efficient, and profitable processes.


Next, a digital control panel must be compatible with your heating system and other components, such as thermocouples. In an ideal situation, the heater, panel, and components all come from the same manufacturer. This way, they are all designed to work together and compatibility is assured.

Although a single manufacturer is ideal, it is not a necessity. Sometimes, when a business upgrades to Wattco products they start with only replacing just the heater or the control panel. In these instances, we must take special care in the design and features to make sure they are compatible with the existing equipment. Fortunately, our expertise and ability to customize enable us to predict and resolve most compatibility issues.


Budget is an important concern for any equipment. You need to make choices that maximize the future of your system (capabilities, lifespan, efficiency) while working inside your existing budget. At Wattco our team can help you make the right choices to customize the best digital control panel for your budget.

Contact Wattco today for your digital control panel quote and information.

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