Electrical control panels are an essential element of industrial automation and modern manufacturing. Responsible for providing electrical flow and automating the control of machinery and lines, control panels must be engineered and built to operate in industrial conditions reliably. Following these best practices for electrical control panels will lead to safer operation, easier maintenance, and room for future expansion.

Panel Organization and Sizing

A well-organized panel has components laid out in a logical order based on function and electrical requirements. For example, at Process Solutions, we often group circuit protection components in one portion of the panel or near the necessary devices. We then group drives together in another portion of the panel, and typically place the PLC near the top of the panel. Furthermore, components are often placed inside banks created by wireway to allow for short and clean wire runs. Utilizing wireway also ensures wires always run horizontally or vertically and prevents them from hanging in front of components or tangling.

Properly sizing your enclosure is another important aspect of control panel design. Selecting the right size enclosure will ensure all components fit properly and prevent collisions with door-mounted devices when closing the enclosure door. To address this challenge, Process Solutions utilizes 3D CAD software to model each panel layout to ensure proper sizing and eliminate the possibility of unforeseen component collisions after assembly. Allotting extra blank space in the panel may also be beneficial to allow for future expansion.

Finally, to promote safer operation, Process Solutions always places the emergency-stop (e-stop) button in a highly visible location on the panel door away from other buttons or interfaces. Keeping the e-stop separated from other interfaces ensures easy accessibility in an emergency and also prevents accidental engagement when interacting with the panel.

Wire and Device Labeling

To make it easier to identify and troubleshoot components or wiring issues, it’s good practice to always label each wire and device in an electrical control panel. Utilizing a consistent and logical syntax, such as an abbreviated prefix for each component type, will make identifying components and wires easier. For example, a circuit breaker label may always start with CB, while a power supply label would start with PS. Additionally, labels should be adhered in a clearly visible location on the front of a device, as well as each end of a wire.

Proper Enclosure Type

Selecting the right enclosure type for your electrical control panel’s environment or application is essential for ensuring safe and reliable operation. Enclosures can be built with a range of different materials and corresponding NEMA ratings. This includes mild steel, stainless steel, polycarbonate plastic, and aluminum.

Mild steel is a common material used for electrical enclosures and protects controls from wet, non-corrosive environments. Mild steel enclosures are offered in NEMA 1, 3, 4, 6, 12, and 13 ratings.

Polycarbonate plastic is an inexpensive and versatile material with high impact resistance. Polycarbonate plastic is suitable for both indoor and outdoor applications and is available in a range of NEMA ratings, including 1, 2, 4, 4X, 12, and 13.

Stainless steel is well suited for wet environments and is also fire resistant. However, stainless steel is also heavy and typically more expensive than alternative materials. Stainless Steel enclosures are offered in 3, 3R, 4, 4X, 12, and 13 NEMA ratings.

Aluminum is a durable material that is also able to withstand high temperatures. Aluminum also offers natural EMI/RFI shielding to prevent interference and is resistant to corrosion. Available NEMA ratings for Aluminum enclosures include 3, 3R, 4, 4X, 12, and 13.

Heat Dispersal

Proper heat dispersal is crucial for protecting the components and wiring in an electrical control panel. Causes of a control panel overheating include improper enclosure ventilation, being located outdoors where it’s exposed to sunlight or natural elements; indoor locations near hot machines, ovens or furnaces; or a buildup of dust and debris in the panel.

Several solutions can be implemented into the design of an electrical control panel to prevent overheating, including side-mounted air conditioners, vents, fans, and air to air heat exchangers. Each of these cooling methods works to maintain a constant temperature inside the panel and prevent overheating. Additionally, scheduled maintenance to remove dust and debris will help air circulate in the panel and further prevent overheating.

About Process Solutions

Located near Seattle Washington, Process Solutions is the Northwest’s largest control systems integrator. With 30+ years in business and over 100 engineers and technicians on staff, Process Solutions has the experience and capacity to take on almost any automation project. Process Solutions provides a wide range of control system services, including industrial electrical control panels, PLC and HMI programming, machine automation systems, energy management and refrigeration systems, SCADA software, and machine monitoring software.  

Vaclav Mydlil
Sr. Director of Advanced Automation
Vaclav leads the dynamic Energy Management and Refrigeration Division at Process Solutions. With an impressive 20 years of experience in power demand management and refrigeration control systems, Vaclav is the driving force behind one of the company’s most innovative systems.

His expertise extends to PLC and cloud-based systems, ensuring seamless integration and optimal performance. Vaclav’s commitment to excellence is underscored by his Master of Science degree, specializing in control systems and electrical engineering, which he earned from the University of Life Sciences in Prague, Czech Republic.

Beyond the office, Vaclav’s passions include kayaking, snow skiing, and woodworking. Most of all, he enjoys moments spent with his wife and three kids.
Steve Pelton
Vice President of Sales
With over 20 years at Process Solutions, Steve Pelton has held various roles, including Sales Engineer, Sales Director, and his current position as Vice President of Sales.

In addition, Steve oversees Process Solutions’ Energy Management and Refrigeration Division — ensuring the company remains at the forefront of energy-efficient solutions that cater to diverse food production applications. Steve also spearheads the strategic development of the company’s machine monitoring solutions, aligning them with client needs and market trends.

Steve’s background includes mechanical engineering, but his career trajectory has mainly focused on control systems marketing and management. His ability to bridge technical expertise with business acumen has been instrumental in Process Solutions’ growth.

Outside the office, Steve passions include conquering rugged trails on his mountain bike, perfecting his golf swing, and exploring new destinations with his family.
Matt Barnes
Chief Financial Officer
Matt, with 28 years of financial strategy and accounting experience, plays a pivotal role at Process Solutions. As the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), he spearheads the company’s growth strategy, ensuring financial stability and health.

Beyond traditional financial management, Matt also oversees strategic initiatives aimed at optimizing Process Solutions’ on-hand inventory costs and availability. By fine-tuning inventory management, Matt ensures the company can meet client needs efficiently and maintain a healthy bottom line.

Matt graduated with a degree in accounting from Western Washington University and previously served as a financial executive at a large retail corporation. Outside of work, Matt enjoys traveling, soccer and spending time with his family.
Kevin Orr
Executive Vice President
Kevin boasts an impressive tenure of over 25 years at Process Solutions. His position in the company has been multifaceted, spanning roles as a project engineer, engineering manager, and Process Solutions’ first Executive Vice President.

Under Kevin’s leadership, the food processing division has flourished, earning its reputation as of the most respected in the industry. Today, Kevin closely collaborates with executives from leading food processors and food processing equipment manufacturers across the country.

Kevin is a devoted husband and father with a passion for international travel.
Todd Busby
Chief Executive Officer
Todd has dedicated over 30 years to Process Solutions, where he has worn multiple hats—from panel builder to project engineer and sales representative.

As the CEO of Process Solutions, Todd has spearheaded significant transformations. Under his leadership, the company has diversified into new industries, acquired a world-class facility, and more than doubled its size.

Todd, a native of the Puget Sound region, is a devoted husband, father, and avid outdoorsman. When he’s not at work, you’ll find him supporting his three kids in all their pursuits or hunting and fishing in Eastern Washington.
David Crumpley
David has dedicated over 15 years to Process Solutions, where he has served as a Senior Engineer, Vice President, and now Chief Operating Officer. His multifaceted experience spans technical expertise, strategic leadership, and operational efficiency.

As the head of Process Solutions’ Water/Wastewater division, David orchestrated the modernization of the company’s internal systems and boosted operational efficiency across the organization.

In his current role as President, David continues to drive innovative initiatives aimed at expanding the company’s reach and further streamlining internal processes.

Outside of work, David enjoys spending quality time with his family and pursuing his passions as an avid outdoorsman.

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We provide numerous remote and on-site services to our customers, including software upgrades, troubleshooting, hardware replacement, and feature additions. Our staff size provides us flexibility to quickly respond to standard time frames and emergency service.


Process Solutions provides commissioning services, as well as system start-ups. Our staff will travel anywhere in the world to help you get your system up and running. We start up hundreds of systems per year, and our licensed electricians on staff can pull permits as needed.


Our Engineering and CAD department can create a wide range of documents, including functional specifications, software design documents, test manuals, O&M manuals, P&ID, system drawings, and network drawings. Drawings for FDA level documents are a particular specialty.


Process Solutions software designers are equipped to handle any size job. We structure our program code to be easily read by both customers and engineers, making support and system upgrades fast and easy.


Process Solutions builds over 3,000 panels per year. Our high-volume model makes our technicians experts in the field and provides our customers with an industry leading experience. Efficient manufacturing practices, mixed with automated manufacturing equipment, allows for quick and consistent job completion.


Creation of custom designs for new and legacy systems. All drawings are template based using automatic CAD macros. Our techniques create an efficient design process with recognizable and easy to understand drawings.

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