In order to operate any device or machinery it's essential to have a control system (HMI) which includes switches. Whether a switch is used for cycle start/stop, machine on/off, etc. it's critical for it to be in proper working order. Switches are truly the direct control of an electrical circuit, a circuit is repeatedly opened and closed through operation. With this continuous wear, any designer/engineer will want to have a solution which is reliable and produces an outstanding lifecycle. When designing a system with switches there are two very popular, industry standards, which are Mechanical switches and Capacitive switches.
These switches are more considered to be the most basic type of switch. They typically have two conductive traces which are separated by air. And as the name suggests, the switch must physically be pressed to create contact. When you press the mechanical switch, the upper conductive trace makes contact with the bottom conductive trace, closing the circuit. A mechanical switch is more often than not "spring actuated" meaning once you deactivate the switch the upper conductive traces returns to it's open state. This switch type, as you may have assumed, has a lot of wear due to the repetitive stress on the contact and operating surface. This wear out entails to a short lifecycle of approximately 300k operations. Another short caveat of mechanical type switches is lack of user-friendliness. Over a typical work-shift in application these switches easily fatigue operators. Consistent pressing of a button requires human force and in the long run this can lead to injury or joint pains. Although mechanical devices have a lower price point initially, they become costly in the long-run with , human discomfort, replacements, and possible vandalism(breakage) of switches. Mechanical switches can be seen in numerous applications including household electronics, computer systems, and more.
Rather than featuring two conductive traces separated by air as in mechanical switches, capacitive switches(also referred to as touch buttons in industry) use a capacitive sensor that measures changes in capacitance. A capacitive switch constantly emits a small electrical current across the surface of the button. When you touch this type of switch, your finger will absorb some of the electrical current, thereby causing the switch’s capacitance to drop. The capacitive switch will detect this reduction in capacitance and respond by completing the circuit.The human body is an excellent conductor of electricity, since we are all charged. When you touch an electrically charged object or surface with a bare finger, your finger will absorb some of the object’s or surface’s current. One of the large benefits of using a capacitive switch is the simple fact that it requires little or no pressure to operate. With a mechanical switch, you must press the button hard enough so that the upper conductive trace comes into contact with the bottom conductive trace. With a capacitive switch, on the other hand, you only need to touch the button with a bare finger. Capacitive switches are electronically controlled, by capacitance, and in turn produce a very high lifecycle of approximately 100m uses. Since there is no mechanical aspect, other than mounting, these switches provide more safety and are vandal proof. Meaning an operator can not break the switches as easily. Capacitive switches are generally listed with a higher price point, yet last much longer, are more user friendly, and vandal proof. Capacitive switches can be seen in machines/devices which also require water protection. As there is no mechanical area, there is no chance for interference with a mechanical contact. Capacitive switches are commonly waterproof and resistant to other chemicals on the operating surface.
CAPTRON goes above and beyond in switching technology! Our highly durable capacitive switches offer outstanding performance and unique features.
- Touch Control - High user friendliness, no mechanical pressure needed for activation.
- Switch Feedback - Visual (LED's for on/off), Tactile (Vibration for on/off), Acoustic (Sound for on/off)
- Water Resistance - Operating surface rated to IP69K, and can be exposes to water and other elements.
- Shock Resistance - Switch can withstand operator ruggedness and rough use.
- Customization - Highly configurable per your requirements
- Lifecycle - Offering 100m+ operations.
We would love to learn more about how we can help you choose the right switch for your needs. Please contact us via mail, firstname.lastname@example.org, or call via (914) - 619 - 5422 for any questions or comments. Our team is here to assist you!