Proximity Switches

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Infrared proximity switches work by sending out beams of infrared invisible light. A photodetector on the switch determines if there are any objects nearby by detecting any reflection of the beam of light that was sent out. However, due to background light, a switch with only a light source and photodiode is susceptible to inaccurate readings. For that reason, more complex models modulate the transmitted light at a specific frequency and have receivers that only respond to said frequency. Read More…

Proximity Switches Proximity switches are made to open or close an electrical circuit when they either make contact or come within a certain distance of an object. They detect objects in close "proximity." Proximity switches come in four basic types, which are: infrared, acoustic, capacitive, and inductive.

Leading Manufacturers

Eden Prairie, MN  |  800-806-6113

Our membrane switches are known for their high-quality and affordable prices. We work hard to find the precise parts that will work with your every need. It is our goal to create a relationship with you that is beneficial to both parties.

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ALUDEC USA $$$

Perry, NY  |  800-227-5718

JN White is an ISO 9001:2015 and ITAR-certified manufacturer of membrane switches, graphic overlays, and custom labels. We nimbly handle projects big and small and have the uncommon ability to translate what our customers need into high-quality, high-precision outcomes.

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JN White $$$

Pomona, CA  |  909-784-6305

King Epoxy Emblem Technology Partners (KTP) is your go-to source for membrane switches. With our 16,900-square-foot facility, we have a broad range of capabilities such as in-house design and engineering support, warehousing, and turnkey assembly.

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King Epoxy Technology Partners (KTP) $$$

Livermore, CA  |  925-960-9900

Since in 1976, Valmark Interface Solutions has a sterling record of providing highly engineered and reliable membrane, mechanical, capacitive switches — and other pointing and input devices — to many of the world’s largest OEM organizations. VIS has been dedicated to providing the best and most complete line of high-tech printed components available, and our vertically integrated manufacturing capabilities supports designs from initial rapid prototyping to full production.

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Valmark Interface Solutions, Inc. $$$

Frisco, TX  |  770-487-1950

Hoffmann + Krippner is a high-tech contract manufacturer for state-of-the-art custom input solutions ranging from keypad overlays, ultra-flat printed membrane sensors, printed electronics, to fully functioning backlit membrane switches and touch screen solutions including the electronics and enclosures. Due to in-house production capabilities and vertically integrated relationships within the HK Systems Group, H+K can supply individual components, build an entire solution, or take a raw idea from initial concept to final production.

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Hoffmann + Krippner Inc. $$$

Calabasas, CA  |  866-317-0208

Pacific West America, Inc. has spent the past 18 years developing high-quality membrane switches, control panels, and flex-circuits. Our team has the knowledge to make sure your membrane switch has the right appearance, lighting, and texture for your application.

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Pacific West America, Inc. $$$
placeholder image ALUDEC USA JN White King Epoxy Technology Partners (KTP) Valmark Interface Solutions, Inc. Hoffmann + Krippner Inc. Pacific West America, Inc.

Models that are even more complex can use the light reflected from an object to compute its distance from the sensor. In principle, acoustic proximity switches are similar to infrared switches, but instead of light, they use sound. Acoustic switches work by using a transducer to transmit inaudible sound waves at various frequencies in a preset sequence. Then, they measure the length of time the sound takes to hit a nearby object then return to a second transducer on the switch.

Membrane Switch Circuit Membrane Switch Circuit - Douglas Corporation

Essentially, acoustic switches are employing echolocation, a practice similar to sonar, used in nature by bats and dolphins. Capacitive proximity switches sense distance to objects by detecting changes in surrounding capacitance. A radio-frequency oscillator is connected to a metal plate, and its frequency changes when the plate nears an object.

When this change takes place, the frequency detector sends a signal telling the switch to open or close. Finally, inductive proximity switches sense distances to objects by generating magnetic fields, similar in this way, to metal detectors. To function, a wire coil is charged with an electrical current, which is measured by an electronic circuit. If a metallic part gets close enough to the coil, the current will increase and the switch will open or close accordingly.

Proximity switches are used primarily in manufacturing processes and equipment, robotics and security systems. For example, proximity switches may measure the position of machine components, detect the opening of a door or monitor a robot or its components proximity to an object, and steer it accordingly.

Proximity Switches Informational Video