Platform Leveling Actuator Panel


Shift Controls was approached to design a motion control panel that automatically leveled a manned control room that was positioned on a moving structure. This control panel would be subject to corrosive marine spray and high humidity. This was a simple motion system which drove a single large linear actuator attached to the control room which extended and retracted to maintain a level control room as the surrounding structure moved during operation. The panel would also interface with an Allen Bradley control system for alarming and monitoring.

Electrical Design

Motion control was provided by a single Parker drive and linear actuator combination. The power distribution design incorporated disconnect with a door mounted handle, drive power safety contactor, local and remote E-Stops, and current limiting fuses. Shift Controls developed mechanical drawings and wiring diagrams for project approval to ensure all the design requirements were met before construction began.

Environmental Requirements

The panel was to be located where it was subject to marine spray, high humidity, and possible elevated temperatures. Thermal calculations were performed to determine an appropriate thermal solution that would also work with a corrosive atmosphere and high humidity. Due to the low duty cycle on the drive, it was determined the enclosure did not need active cooling and could remain sealed. A gore-tex plug was used to reduce the amount of humid air the enclosure would exchange during thermal cycling. A large desiccant packet was also included to ensure the air in the enclosure would remain dry.

Field Sensor Integration

Shift Controls prioritizes ease of field  installation for all of its designs and this panel was designed to be plug and play. The actuator integrated power and feedback cables were terminated in a provided field junction panel. These signals then were passed through a cable gland plate, main power through a cord grip, and a network bulkhead connector was provided for control system integration.


The customer was extremely satisfied with the design and how the system operates. The control room automatically maintained level orientation even as the structure moved around it. This allowed the persons inside the control room to not need to continuously adjust the control room tilt and to also freely move without the safety hazards of an uneven floor.

Custom Designs

Shift Controls has extensive experience in designing and fabricating custom UL508A panels to meet the most difficult design and environmental requirements. Like this project, we listen to your specific project requirements and custom design a system that meets your process and cost requirements. As always, feel free to contact us regarding your project or if you have any questions.