IDEC announces low-profile touchless switches

11th November 2022
Sheryl Miles

IDEC Corporation has introduced a line of CW low-profile touchless switches suitable for many hygienic industrial and public automation applications, addressing cleanliness concerns for protecting against COVID-19 and other contamination.

Touchless switches are durable and reduce total cost of equipment operation.

Previously untouchable savings

World events have introduced a new sense of urgency among people to find ways for minimising unnecessary touching of objects in the environment. IDEC is contributing to the wellbeing of these users by introducing touchless switches, which reduce or remove the need for personnel to sanitise the switch faces, saving labour and the cost of chemicals, and eliminating the need for protective films.

Because there is no contact involved, users do not need to dispose of gloves or wash after using these switches. The lack of mechanical contact and cleaning also reduces switch deterioration, providing a long operational lifetime.

Touchless technology

The CW touchless switches are designed with a sleek and nearly flush (2mm rise) low-profile surface silhouette. They are built for an industry standard 22mm mounting hole and require only a shallow 35mm space behind the panel face, plus room for the wiring connector. The typical installation pitch is 30mm width and 50mm height. Operating temperatures range from -25 to +55oC.

A rubber washer and locking ring ensure IP65/67 and NEMA Type 4X ratings are maintained. The CW1H housing and bezel is black plastic resin, and the CW4H is silver aluminium alloy metal.

Although the switches are rated for outdoor use, are made from weather resistant materials, and are highly resistant to visible light, excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays from direct sunlight can cause material degradation and colour fading, and even false signals.

Additionally, as with almost any signalling device, dirt and water droplets can impact operation. Therefore, designers should check product performance before use, and consider degrees of physical protection.

The switch front face contains a central emitter and receiver sensing lens, and an LED indicator ring. Infrared LED diffuse reflection technology is used to detect objects. The detection distance is adjustable, typically ranging from 70 to 270mm depending on the colour, material, and surface condition of the object to be detected. For example, dark gloves can be detected, but at a shorter distance than a bare hand. When two switches are installed close together, their emitting frequencies are automatically adjusted for mutual interference prevention, ensuring the switches do not trigger each other.

Switch output is a non-contact photoMOS relay, available without a timer or with a 0.5s on-delay and a 2.0s off-delay. Reverse connection protection is included, and the switch operates at a nominal 12 to 24V DC with 100mA max load current. The two-colour LED ring, which can be externally controlled to illuminate in red or green, provides status feedback for users.

Clean applications are everywhere

While the recent pandemic has elevated awareness about cleanliness and hygiene worldwide, there have always been major industries – such as food, beverage, pharmaceutical, medical, and chemical – where sanitary operation is of the utmost importance.

Even in common consumer applications like lifts, ATMs, vending machines, and drinking fountains, users prefer touchless operation methods. Equipment owners can benefit from economical incorporation of touchless switches because they eliminate ongoing and expensive sanitation, disinfection, and sterilisation of surfaces.

The IDEC portfolio of touchless switches addresses user concerns across a wide variety of applications in a cost-effective, technically advanced, and convenient form factor.

As with all its products, IDEC offers free tech support for the CW1H/CW4H touchless switches, with no service or support contract required.

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