Sensitive to the touch: New technology increases switch, sensor durability

11/21/2006


System integration/control components

New touch-sensitive technology from ITW ActiveTouch is said to offer high levels of switch, sensor, and control system durability in a variety of harsh and hazardous applications and environments.

Buffalo Grove, IL —A new touch-sensitive technology said to attain levels of switch, sensor, and control system durability impossible to achieve in the past has been developed by ITW ActiveTouch, a unit of Illinois Tool Works Inc. The technology, the result of seven years of research and development, says ITW, is available in modular switches, keypads, and keyboards, or can be integrated into custom bezels or panels. Switches using the technology offer such advantages as no moving parts; unlimited lifespan; and water, vibration, and shock resistance. Input devices can be made insensitive to liquid spills and other contaminants while retaining a familiar tactile look and feel.

Announcing the technology, Brian Truesdale, general manager of ITW Switches/ITW ActiveTouch, said the technology offers long life, resistance to temperature and environment, resistance to physical damage, and robust design. "Switches can be made from just 1/2-in.-thick stainless steel, yet are impervious to even a hammer blow," he said. Devices can be integrated with intelligence to report diagnostic information or adapt to a surrounding environment to ensure uninterrupted operation, he added.

Basis for the technology is the principle that a material capable of supporting shear and torsional mechanical waves at ultrasonic frequencies can have those waves trapped or localized by creating specific features or geometries in the material. Trapped energy regions, or resonant cavities, are set in motion with transducers and act as high-quality resonators. Resonance in the cavity area is initiated by an electrical impulse to the transducer, followed by decay of the vibration. A finger or gloved hand touching the front surface of the resonant cavity dampens the vibration and reduces the decay rate. The reduction is detected by a microcontroller, which can be multiplexed for multiple switch positions. The sensor's active "pinging" of the area every few milliseconds gives it the inherent capability of self-diagnostics and self-adaptation in real time.

Click here to access a brochure about the technology.

—Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jeanine Katzel , senior editor





No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Motor specification guidelines; Understanding multivariable control; Improving a safety instrumented system; 2017 Engineers' Choice Award Winners
Selecting the best controller from several viewpoints; System integrator advice for the IIoT; TSN and real-time Ethernet; Questions to ask when selecting a VFD; Action items for an aging PLC/DCS
Robot advances in connectivity, collaboration, and programming; Advanced process control; Industrial wireless developments; Multiplatform system integration
Motion control advances and solutions can help with machine control, automated control on assembly lines, integration of robotics and automation, and machine safety.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Big Data and bigger solutions; Tablet technologies; SCADA developments
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
click me