Electrical control panels are an integral part of any automated manufacturing process. At a basic level, control panels house various electronic devices that provide signals to direct the operation of equipment and machines. While control systems are a fundamental aspect of electrical engineering, many people aren’t aware of the key control panel components required to function safely and reliably.


Transformers reduce or increase AC voltages between circuits. A common application for an industrial control panel transformer would be converting incoming 480V AC to 120V AC so the control panel’s other housed devices can use it.

Power Supply

A power supply converts alternating current (AC) voltage to direct current (DC) voltage. In a control panel, the power supply will typically be converting 480V AC or 120V AC to 24V DC.

Circuit Breakers

Circuit breakers protect an electrical circuit from becoming damaged by detecting when there is excess electrical current and opening or breaking the circuit to stop the flow.

Disconnect Switch

While a disconnect switch can come in many different styles and form factors, the overall purpose is to completely disconnect the control panel from its electrical supply. A common use for a disconnect switch is to shut off power to the control panel to complete repairs or maintenance, as well as for emergency stoppages.

Terminal Blocks

Terminal blocks are connection points that can join two or more wires together. It is possible to arrange terminal blocks together in a strip to direct power from one source to various devices in the control panel.


A relay is an electronically or magnetically operated switch that makes or breaks contact to turn on or off a device. Relays typically allow low currents to activate higher currents. The relay can achieve this activation by directing the lower current to flow through an input circuit and activating an electromagnet. The charged electromagnet then pulls the output circuit closed, allowing a higher current to flow through the output circuit.


Similar to a relay, a contactor switches an electrical current on or off. The main difference between a contactor and a relay is that contactors are usually larger and used in applications with higher currents, where a relay is for lower currents. A common use case for contactors is for controlling electric motors, which often have high-current loads.

Overload Relay

An overload relay protects electric motors from overheating by preventing the motor from pulling more amps than the overload allows. This can occur when the motor’s circuit is being protected by a circuit breaker with a higher amp limit than the motor’s full-load rating. The overload relay protects the motor by opening the circuit when the current becomes 115% to 125% of the motor’s full-load rating.


A fuse is a safety device that protects an electric circuit from becoming overloaded by a current that is too high. Once a fuse has operated, it becomes an open circuit and you must replace it.

Motor Drives

While there are numerous types of motor drives that each serve a specific purpose, the overall function is to operate a connected motor. Common motor drives used in control panels include VFDs, Servo Drives, and soft starters.

Motor Starters

A motor starter is a device that combines a contactor and an overload relay to control the electrical output from the motor during start-up, as well as provide overload protection while the motor is operating. A motor starter often has a modular assembly and includes a manual on-off switch.

Programmable Logic Controller (PLC)

A programmable logic controller or PLC is an industrial computer specifically designed for the control of manufacturing processes, such as moving equipment and machines on an assembly line. PLCs are programmed using a specific computer language and are designed to operate in factory conditions that may include high levels of noise and vibrations. To control equipment and processes, PLCs monitor the status of sensor inputs to control outputs, such as motors, HMI displays, valves, lights, and solenoids.

Ethernet Switch

An industrial Ethernet switch allows for communication between devices inside the control panel, such as PLCs, VFDs, and HMIs, as well as networked devices outside of the panel, such as other control panels, SCADA systems, or information systems.

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 electrical control panels, 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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