Why Motor Control Panel (MCP) vs. Motor Control Center (MCC)?

4th June 2021   |   Buying Guide

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Rittal Motor Control Panel vs Motor Control Center
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What Is a Motor Control Panel?

In today’s industrial manufacturing space, it’s never one thing. Processes are connected, workflows are unified, and decisions in one arena have ripple effects that can impact an entire industrial ecosystem.

No one knows this better than systems integrators, who are tasked with coming up with new and better industrial automation solutions every day. In order to solve their customers’ challenges, today’s systems integrators need the capacity for streamlined panel building and switchgear manufacturing — and a partner who is one step ahead when it comes to innovative product engineering.

For large engineered industrial processes, power distribution can be very complex. Using a control panel is an efficient solution to include all the starters and motor components required. Each motor was connected separately to a starter, and that starter was individually mounted or contained in a larger control panel. All components are then controlled by the same power source.

Traditional Motor Control Center

What is Traditional Motor Control Center (MCC)?

The Motor Control Center (MCC) came as a solution to the problem of all components being controllled by the same power source. The Motor Control Center utilizes busbars, which the components (starters, contactors, circuit breakers, VFDs and such) are mounted on. The components still share the same source of power but with the use of horizontal and vertical busbars, they are designed in such a way to easily be plugged/unplugged while the machine is working without needing to turn it off -- hot swappable feature.

MCC has been the solution for decades; although it requires detailed engineering drawings, MCC has made maintenance very easy for the staff looking after that process. One can disconnect individual starters without turning off the entire machine to fix any issues. The more complicated the process, the more likely an end user will use an MCC.

MCC is usually designed and supplied by electrical manufacturers such as Siemens. In MCC, each starter is fitted into an enclosure, a “bucket”. Each bucket is designed and manufactured based on the engineering drawings and component specifications by the original MCC manufacturer. Thus, scaling an MCC and adding components can be very costly to the end user.

MCC Advantages

  • easily be plugged/unplugged while the machine is working without needing to turn it off
  • Lockout tagout safety design
  • Hot Swappable: you don’t need to shutdown the whole machine to maintain individual buckets and components
  • Arc Flash containment and venting rated (Arc resistant)

MCC Disadvantages

  • Configuration and commissioning: Requires engineering drawings, specifications and documentation from a certified manufacturer solutions provided or directly from the manufacturer
  • Long lead time: must be sourced and delivered from the original manufacturer
  • Expensive solution: can’t replace or source individual components, must source and replace a whole bucket (enclosure) with all the components
  • Difficult and expensive to change or scale due to the requirement of adding buckets based on the original engineered design, drawing, and specifications and sourcing from the original equipment
  • No competitive advantage; same solution as others bidding for the same project
  • Large footprint
  • Supplier choice limitation: Must go to manufacturer for component replacement or scaling systemw

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Rittal Motor Control Panel (MCP):

MCP offers the best of both worlds: the efficient component organization of a control panel and the busbar systems utilized in MCC for optimal distribution of current and decreased resistance.

Rittal’s new MCP solution offers many benefits such as Speed of design and build, Customization from standard parts, Flexibility of design, Cost-effective integrated solution, Self-configuration possibility with EPlan, Direct Support from the manufacturer, E.B. Horsman & Son, and more.

Rittal’s MCP is constructed from the world-leading TS 8 range of enclosures offering a totally modular construction. Based on proven TS 8 architecture, the perfect solutions to address motor control, power management and quality control challenges.

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MCP Advantages

  • Cost-effective due to the smaller footprint, flexible design, and flexible source options.
  • Faster quote and design time: doesn’t require detailed engineering drawings and specifications
  • Smaller footprint and higher component density. Doesn’t require individual buckets. MCP is space-saving option:
    • Because of the nature of MCP layout, we can fit more components creating higher component density in MCP versus MCC
  • Modular design: Flexibility in layout and enclosure choices. Option to have segregated buckets/compartments with Horizontal and vertical busbars. Vertical allows you to work on components downstream of the breaker (cutoff the busbar current…)
  • Faster delivery time: components can be sourced from any local manufacturer or distributor and as needed
  • Versatile components: once you have your specifications, you have the flexibility to source components from various manufactures and local distributors. Allows for unique and competitive solution
  • Easy Installation and assembly: connecting the end machine is easier because they are not segregated into buckets, wiring the loads is easier with an interface where everything is there. All connection points are easily accessible.
  • Easy to scale: components can be added or replaced directly without requiring a new bucket/enclosure. Adding additional sections or retrofitting in MCP is much more cost-effective and can be done at the job-site. Less complex.

MCP Disadvantages

  • All components share a single source of power. Can be more challenging to maintain equipment and processes when turning off the machine is a challenge
  • Arc Flash Containment only. No Ventilation
  • We have to shutdown the whole machine to energize the busbar
  • Warranty varies depending on source of documentation or parts

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Rittal MCP features layout

Rittal MCP Features:

TS 8 modularity

Constructed and readily extendable from the world-leading TS 8 range of enclosures with infinite possibilities offering excellent modularity and space.

Read More about TS 8

Mounting panel adjustment

Innovative internal compartment system allows easy and rapid adjustment of mounting the depth of the plates

Compartment choices

Wide choice of compartment sized from 150 mm through to 2200 mm and large cable chambers

Air Circuit Breaker options

ACB can be flush mounted or mounted behind the door in no time


Wide range of accessories to cater to every situation and need


The ability to configure over a wide range of short circuit ratings up to and including 100 kA. With current ratings available up to 3200 amps, the system distributes power safely and reliably, complete with separation up to Form 4 (BS EN 60439-1) so that a well engineered, cost-effective solution is achieved

How can we help you find an MCP Solution?

  • What sets Rittal apart from other industrial automation partners is the capacity to meet these needs reliably and quickly in order to help systems integrators engineer the scalable industrial automation solutions necessary to remain competitive and agile in a crowded marketplace.
  • Don’t worry about rewriting your engineering specs, we’ll take care of that for you. We partner with local system integrators who are experienced in MCP designs to rewrite your drawings.
  • Sourcing your MCP solution from a local distributor gives you access to local stock, faster delivery, and convenient part replacement.

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