Understanding Motor Control Centers

Every electric motor will have a controller. The motor controller will have various options that will depend on the task that the motor will performing. A motor controller is a device that serves to oversee the performance of an electric motor.

The purpose of a motor control center is very straightforward. It is a large enclosure specifically used to house standard motor control equipment. The motor controls are contained in plug-in units. A manual or automatic option may be within the motor controller to start and stop the motor, as well as safety measures to protect against overloads.

What is a Motor Control Center?

A motor control center (often referred to as a MCC), is an assembly of one or multiple enclosed sections that have a common power bus that primarily contains motor control units. A motor control center can potentially include Variable Frequency Drives, programmable controllers and may be the initial point where electric will enter the facility.

Motor Control Centers have been used since 1950 by automobile manufacturers, which used large numbers of electric motors. Today, they are used in a variety of industrial and commercial applications. Oftentimes, the motor control center is installed in a separate air-conditioned room in order to protect the motor control center from dust and corrosion. Other times, the motor control center will be located on the facility floor nearby the machinery it controls.

A motor control center often consists of one or more vertical metal cabinet sections with a power bus to allow for plug-in mounting of individual motor controllers. Each motor controller contains a solid-state motor controller, overload relays for protection, a circuit breaker and a disconnection switch. The motor is wired to different terminals within the controller.

A motor control center is often supplied ready for the facility staff to connect all the necessary wiring. Another option is to have the motor control center can be an engineered assembly with an internal control and interlocking wiring to a programmable controller. Often the supplier of the motor control center can provide assistance determining the best motor control center based on need as well as installation.