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A motor control center (MCC) is an assembly of one or more enclosed sections having a common power bus with multiple motor control units. They can be set up for indoor or outdoor use, have deep or shallow frames, as well as 2 sided configurations. They can be used to control one or many machines, as well as being the electrical service entrance for a factory.
Motor control centers are usually used for low voltage three phase alternating current motors from 208 V to 600 V. Medium-voltage motor control centers are made for large motors running at 2300 V to around 15000 V, using vacuum contactors for switching and with separate compartments for power switching and control. They can include variable frequency drives, programmable controllers and metering devices.
Each motor controller called a bucket contains a contactor or a solid-state motor controller, overload relays to protect the motor, fuses or a circuit breaker to provide short-circuit protection, and a disconnecting switch to isolate the motor circuit. Three-phase power enters each controller through separable connectors. The motor is wired to terminals in the controller. Motor control centers provide wire ways for field control and power cables.
Each bucket in an MCC can be specified with a range of options such as separate control transformers, pilot lamps, control switches, extra control terminal blocks, various types of thermal or solid-state overload protection relays, or various classes of power fuses or types of circuit breakers. A motor control center can either be supplied ready for the customer to connect all field wiring, or can be an engineered assembly with internal control and interlocking wiring to a central control terminal panel board or programmable controller.
When a MCC bucket fails, there are three options. The first is to have your unit rebuilt which can take time and be costly. The second is to find a used replacement, which tends to be the most economical and fastest. The third is to go new, which can be tough since the manufacturer may no longer manufacture or support your bucket and then you will need to replace other components in an effort to get your system up and running.