A common reliability acronym that applies to all types of components and subassemblies is MTBF, Mean Time Between Failure. If you’re an engineer concerned about the reliability of your switch in a hostile, demanding operational environment, then you’re worried about a type of rating called electromechanical endurance (EE).
Electromechanical endurance is usually defined in terms of how many switching operations can be performed under certain conditions before failure. These numbers are affected by a number of parameters including:
- Switch Voltage Rating
- Switching current (the higher the current rating, the lower the ESE)
- Ambient operating temperature
- Other Environmental factors (vibration, airbourne contaminants, operation underwater etc..)
So what constitutes excellent reliability for a waterproof switch, and how does a manufacturer go about achieving it?
How Does CPI Make Reliable Electromechanical Switches?
Typical endurance specifications for electromechanical switches in military and industrial applications can run anywhere from to 1 to 5 million cycles depending on the aforementioned factors. Achieving this requires tight specifications related to travel parameters and electrical requirements, carefully controlled through the manufacturing process.
Key to being able to build a switch with electromechanical endurance of over 5,000,000 cycles is an extensive knowledge of how every switch design parameter affects operational reliability at the limits. We’ve learned the hard way how electrical configuration can prevent contact freezing at low temperature; how to prevent contact chatter in vibrational environments: or how to handle startup electrical loads that contribute to early switch failure.
Key to solving these problems is the broad array of actuator, travel, and mounting configurations we have deployed into a diverse array of field applications over the years. Once our engineers have selected and designed the combination of elements that best meet the application need, then it is time to field test. Time and time again we have seen that no amount of bench testing can duplicate field trials where unforseen (and often unspecified) requirements are imposed on the design. Solving these problems finally leads to better more reliable switch operation and informs our production testing leading to more reliable parts all around.
Another key to delivering robust electromechanical switches is the reliable manufacturing and testing of custom parts in production quantities. While CPI manufactures and produces many standard parts, it is in custom manufacturing that we really excel. All our design and manufacturing is done in the USA, we do not outsource design or primary manufacturing. Not only does this insure higher quality and consistency, but we are cost competitive with switches built overseas that are bulkier, and far less robust. They are “splashproof”, and “Water-resistant”, but our sealed switches are truly waterproof.
At CPI we long ago committed to remaining a “Made in the USA” company. We think it shows.
Please contact us to discuss your application for one of our high electromechanical endurance switches.