There are numerous types of industrial control panels used to operate the wide range of equipment found in manufacturing facilities across the globe. Each of these control panel types contain different components that drive or execute programmed functions such as turning equipment on or off, controlling motor speed, directing various movements, opening or closing valves, and many other operations. In this guide, we will closely examine the most common control panel types, as well as their roles in the manufacturing process.


Also known as a motor control center, MCCs use one or more vertical cabinet sections containing a power distribution busbar and mounting locations for motor controllers. Each motor controller in an MCC panel contains a contactor or motor starter, as well as an overload relay for protecting the motor, circuit protection devices such as a circuit breaker and fuses, and a power disconnect switch.

Additionally, MCC panels can contain other controls components such as variable frequency drives (VFDs), programmable logic controllers (PLCs), pushbuttons, indicator lights, and metering devices. MCCs are often installed in expansive manufacturing facilities that need to control numerous motors from a central location, such as a mechanical or electrical room.

PLC Control Panels

PLCs are industrial computers that connect and monitor input devices such as switches, sensors, pushbuttons, and relays. Based on the state of an input device, the PLC can execute programmed outputs such as sound an alarm, open or close a valve, or stop or start a motor.

A PLC control panel is simply an enclosure that houses the PLC and the necessary components to distribute power, carry out programmed outputs, and protect the electrical circuits. Additionally, a PLC control panel may contain an ethernet switch for connecting the PLC to a network, external computer, or HMI. To learn more about PLCs check out our blog covering the Basic Architecture of a PLC

VFD Control Panels

VFDs are a type of motor controller used to control motor speed by varying the input of frequency and voltage. VFDs can also control motor ramp-up and ramp-down during the act of starting or stopping the motor. VFDs provide numerous advantages, including improved system efficiency, reduced energy consumption, matching the speed and torque of the motor to the process requirements, and reducing the mechanical stress on a machine.

A VFD control panel can consist of a single or multiple VFDs, as well as power distribution components, circuit protection and motor protection devices, line reactors or harmonic filters, motor starters, and a PLC.

HMI Panels or Operator Stations

Operator stations or human-machine interface (HMI) panels contain an industrial display that uses graphical illustrations representing devices and machines in a system. HMIs allow operators to interact with their industrial control systems and execute commands, as well as monitor equipment status such as run time, faults, warnings, production levels, and various parameters.

Operator stations or HMI panels are often standalone enclosures mounted directly to or near a machine containing the industrial display, circuit protection, and power distribution devices. Alternatively, HMIs can be mounted on the door of a larger main control panel.

Motor Starter Panels

Motor starters are electromagnetically operated devices that start and stop a motor. Typically, a motor starter assembly includes an overload relay to provide electrical overload protection for the connected motor. A motor starter panel may contain one or multiple motor starters housed in an enclosure, as well as selector switches or pushbuttons to control the state of the motor, circuit protection components, power distribution, and a power disconnect switch.

Hazardous Location Panels

As their name suggests, hazardous location panels are specifically designed for safe operation in hazardous locations. Hazardous locations are classified by a set of divisions, zones, and categories, which define the general nature of the hazardous material present, the level of risk associated with the location, and the specific type of hazardous materials present. Based on the location’s classification, a hazardous location control panel is designed and assembled with the necessary materials, safety devices, and construction to operate safely within the intended environment.

Specific design characteristics of a hazardous location panel may include explosion-proof enclosures, purge systems to maintain clean air around the panel, and NEMA 4X rated enclosures made of stainless steel, aluminum, polycarbonate, or fiberglass. Common applications for hazardous location panels include oil refineries, landfills, water purification plants, or any area exposed to flammable gases/vapors, combustible dust, or flammable fibers.

About Process Solutions

Located near Seattle, Washington, Process Solutions has over 30 years of experience providing high quality and reliable control systems. With over 100 engineers and technicians on staff and an output of over 3,000 control panels per year, Process Solutions is the Northwest largest control systems integrator. Process Solutions’ control systems services include custom control panel design, build, and commissioning, PLC and HMI programming, robot system integration, 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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