Control panels and the different types

Control panels are an essential part of many industries and facilities, but they won’t all be the same type and design. Various control panels will have different components that will carry out programmed functions. This includes things like turning equipment on and off, directing movements, controlling the speed of a motor, and many more operations. The type of control panel you will need for your business will depend on the exact requirements of your processes. In this guide we’ll be exploring the main types of control panels and their roles and applications. 


Motor Control Centres (MCCs) are one of the most common and widely used types of control panels. This is because they are ideal for large industrial and commercial uses with their easy functionality for controlling multiple motors from a single central location. An MCC has a number of enclosed parts with a power distribution busbar, contractors, protective relays, isolators, and other control and indication devices. It also comes with key safety devices that work to protect the panel and system in the event of a malfunction or other error. 

A normal MCC might be suitable enough for your requirements. However, a bespoke control panel will help to ensure that all your operational needs are met and that you are working as efficiently as possible. FESS can help businesses with MCC panel design and manufacture in a wide range of industries such as food and drink, commercial, and transport. 


Power Control Centres (PCC panels) are mostly located near a power source with a high fault level. They are mostly used in applications that require electricity to be distributed from the source to its intended use. This type of panel includes all of the required electrical switchgear including a circuit breaker and a suitably sized metallic busbar (either aluminium or copper). Power goes through the main circuit breaker to reach the control panel and the switchgear. Normally, the circuit breaker will have an isolate on the panel. So, the power can be turned off when needed, but the incoming side of the breaker can still have power. 


A PLC control panel houses the PLC and other related components which allow the industrial computer to monitor input devices. Some examples of these include buttons, sensors, switches, and relays. The PLC directs programmed outputs like starting a motor, operating a valve, or sounding an alarm. All of these actions are automated making it easier for the panel to control differing electrical load and the sequential flow of programmable operation in an assembly line of manufacturing. High quality and effective industrial control panel design can make sure any functions you need to be performed during your processes smoothly and accurately. 

Hazardous location panels

These types of control panels are designed in a specific way that allows them to perform optimally in hazardous areas that would be unsuitable for conventional panel types. The features of this panel can include explosion-proof enclosures, systems to keep the air surrounding the panel clean, and more depending on the specific hazard. 

Dangerous locations are typically defined by the nature of the hazardous material, how much risk is involved, and the type of materials present. With that in mind you will often find hazardous location panels in places like oil refineries, water purification facilities, or any other location that works with or is exposed to flammable gases and fibres. 

VSD panels

A VSD (Variable Speed Drive) control panel is used for monitoring motor speed by altering the input of frequency and voltage. Inside the panel there will typically be a single or multiple VSDs, circuit protection, power distribution parts, motor starters, and more. There are several benefits to this type of panel in the right application such as lowering energy consumption, increasing the overall efficiency of the system, and minimising the mechanical stress being placed on the machinery. 


The team at FESS has extensive knowledge and experience of industrial panels across many sectors. If you need control panel building services to help your manufacturing operations become more automated and efficient, contact us today to discuss your requirements. Alternatively, you can get started with us by booking a free site survey online. This will help you find out other areas we could help you as well as industrial control panel design and implementation. 

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