How Does a Piezo Switch Work?

Piezo switch
Piezo switch

Piezo switches have become a popular alternative to traditional plastic, as well as membrane, switches in recent years. Defined by their piezoelectric mechanics, they are durable, long-lasting and available in custom designs. While piezo switches can open and close a circuit — just like all other electrical switches — they are unique in several ways. For a better understanding of piezo switches and how they work, keep reading.

An Introduction to Piezo Switches

Also known as a piezoelectric switch, a piezo switch is a relatively new type of electrical switch that’s characterized by its piezoelectric method of operation. You can find them in keypads, human machine interfaces (HMIs) and other circuit-based input devices. Piezo switches feature one or more buttons that, when pressed, will open or close a corresponding circuit.

The Mechanics of a Piezo Switch

Although there are many types of piezo switches, they all use the same method of operation. For a switch to be considered piezo, it must use a piezoelectric element. The piezoelectric element is responsible for generating a voltage that opens or closes a corresponding circuit. When you press a button, the piezoelectric element will generate a voltage. This voltage will then open or close the corresponding circuit.

Piezoelectric elements are components that generate a voltage in response to mechanical stress. Pressing a button will create mechanical stress. This mechanical stress will essentially squeeze the piezoelectric element so that it creates electricity, which in turn opens or closes the corresponding circuit.

Piezo Switch Benefits

Piezo switches offer several benefits. Since they don’t have moving parts, they typically last longer than other types of switches. Some piezo switches, in fact, can last for over 50 million actuations.

Another benefit of piezo switches is protection from moisture and contaminants. Most switches are susceptible to damage when exposed to water, liquids or other contaminants. When moisture or contaminants enters a switch’s circuity, it can cause permanent damage that renders the switch inoperable. Fortunately, this isn’t a concern with piezo switches. They feature a completely sealed design that protects against the intrusion of moisture and contaminants.

Because they are sealed, piezo switches are easy to clean. You can clean the buttons on a pizeo switch without fear of damaging its underlying circuits or other components.

Piezo switches are also customizable. You aren’t restricted to choosing a piezo switch in a standard design. Rather, you can customize the design to achieve the perfect piezo switch for your business’s needs.

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