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Control switches for hygienic and corrosive environments

03 February 2020

Control panel technology is continually advancing, and today’s machinery-operators and process workers often sit in front of LCD touch screens and other monitoring systems in ever more challenging operating environments. But what of the many operator control panels that have be reliably operated in the presence of moisture or are subject to contaminants such as chemicals, cleaning compounds disinfectants, or saltwater?

Here too, efficiency and operator comfort are paramount but gloved hands and bulky coveralls often preclude the use of touch screen interfaces and reliable, intuitive Human Machine Interface (HMI) in these environments are often dependent on the use of traditional electromechanical switches, such as push-button control switches. Further, applications such as food preparation and processing, pharmaceutical manufacturing and even marine environments demand operator controls that will withstand chemical attack and/or corrosion, and here the choice of materials used, and the environmental protection rating is critical to the longevity of the operator controls.

The overall resistance of control switches to water ingress and the type of cleaning routine is vitally important. Modern control switches are generally sealed to IP67 and this is considered adequate for most low-pressure hose-down or temporary immersion cleaning, but for applications that need frequent or even daily cleaning with high pressure, high temperature jet washes then IP69K ingress protection will be needed. The EAO Series 45 range of 22.3mm and 30.5mm industrial switches which include pushbutton switches, Emergency Stop switches and selector switches, meet these IP69K sealing requirements and are available with nickel chrome/plastic, plastic construction or stainless steel (grade 303)/plastic construction.

Read the full article in the February issue of DPA.

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