Motor Control Centers: Upgrade or Replace?

Motor Control Centers: Upgrade or Replace?

Published by Carolina Motion Controls, Inc. on 11th Mar 2024

Modernizing Your System


Motor Control Centers (MCCs) are the heart of any large plant. Therefore, it's imperative to keep them running smoothly. This can be costly, especially with aging equipment. As the equipment ages, it becomes more expensive to maintain. Older equipment reaches a point where the reliability is too low and maintenance becomes too costly. At this point, you must consider your options, replace the equipment or upgrade it?


The main advantage to replacing an MCC is that you get entirely new equipment. However, this comes with its costs. Firstly, the lead time can be very long, so you will have to suffer longer down times. It's also very expensive to acquire all new equipment. Installation of a brand new MCC is also a long process. You have to consider many questions when replacing your MCC. Will it fit in the same area as the old one? Does proper access still exist to install it? How will you remove, store, and reinstall cables? Are you at risk of damaging those cables? How much will you spend on labor and how much downtime will you suffer during that time? If you want to have entirely new equipment for any reason, then replacement is the way to do it. Just be aware of the costs. The alternative, upgrading, is much more cost effective and is a more popular choice.


If you decide to upgrade rather than replace, you will save a lot of time and money. This involves replacing only the obsolete parts, meaning that the cabinetry and bus systems often stay in place. Upgrading allows for quicker installation and short downtimes because the lead times for the new equipment is much faster. If your system is UL rated, you will be able to maintain that rating provided you buy the correct equipment when upgrading.


When considering the modernization of an MCC, the choice between replacement and upgrading has significant implications. While replacement provides entirely new equipment, it involves extended downtimes, logistical challenges, and higher costs. In contrast, upgrading, a more cost effective approach, involves replacing only obsolete components, preserving existing infrastructure, and minimizing downtime. The decision should hinge on specific needs and budget considerations, with upgrading being a much more practical and efficient solution for enhancing MCC performance and reliability. 

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