Pressure Switches, Their Types, and Applications

Pressure switches are often found in fluid systems, capable of acting as an electric contact when fluid pressure thresholds are met. These thresholds may be used to determine whether fluid pressure has risen or fallen from a set point as dependent on the component itself, making contact at such times. Pressure switches are not to be confused with pressure transducer components, and they are common for the operation of many systems such as HVAC, furnaces, well pumps, and more. In this blog, we will discuss the common types of pressure switches, allowing you to find a solution best fit for your needs.

Mechanical pressure switches have operations that rely on a spring and diaphragm or piston. When certain pressure values are met, the micro-switch within the assembly will be actuated. With the use of the spring pretension, the switch can return to its resting state as pressure drops. The value that dictates the difference between the reset and switch point is called hysteresis, that of which may be represented as a percentage of the switch point value. Generally, the manufacturer will set the hysteresis of a mechanical pressure switch, rather than the user.

Depending on one’s needs, mechanical pressure switches may come normally open, normally closed, or feature changeover contacts. Typically, changeover contacts allow for both normally open and normally closed contact operation. Mechanical pressure switches are best for handling high voltage and ampere levels, and they can adjust or change contacts as pressure adjusts.

Electronic pressure switches differ from mechanical types due to their use of an electrical pressure sensor to measure changes in inlet pressure. Rather than using mechanical means for operations, DC voltage power supply is required. To assist the user in operations, digital displays are provided. Depending on one’s needs, the digital display can allow for the switch point to be adjusted by the manufacturer or by operators on-site to best match the various needs of a particular application. Generally, characteristics such as switch point, output signals, hysteresis, delay time, and other functions are adjustable.

With their ability to be electronically programmed for their functionality, such pressure switches are commonly used alongside automated and controlled equipment systems. Additionally, electronic pressure switches are known for their flexibility, accuracy, ingress protection, and stability. Due to a lower amount of working parts, electronic pressure switches typically exhibit longer service lives as compared to their mechanical counterparts. Oftentimes, electronic pressure switches are used for industrial or OEM applications where more customization and precision is required. Furthermore, such switches may also be used for hydraulic pressures, tire press vulcanization, water and wastewater pressure control, alarms, pressure monitoring, and more.

When deciding between mechanical and electronic pressure switches for your particular application, there are various factors that should be considered. For one, the type of media that is being moved will need to be compatible with the housing and seal material to ensure damage is not done, common media types being hydraulic oil, heating oil, water, and air. Additionally, common pressure values are important as diaphragm designs are well suited for low-pressure operations while piston designs are best for high-pressure applications. Diaphragm parts are also beneficial for low pressure and vacuum conditions, while pistons excel in high vacuum environments. As a last factor, cost will often determine whether an electric or mechanical switch is best, the former being more advanced at an increased price.

Whether you decide that a mechanical or electronic pressure switch is best for your needs, the experts at Aviation Orbit can help you secure everything you are searching for with unmatched prices and unbeatable lead-times. Sourcing from thousands of leading global manufacturers we trust, we present customers access to over 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find items that cater to a diverse set of industries and applications. Due to our steadfast dedication to rigorous quality control standards and export compliance measures, we proudly conduct operations with AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B certification and accreditation. If there are particular items you are interested in, fill out and submit an Instant RFQ form as provided on our website and a dedicated account manager will reach out to you in 15 minutes or less with a personalized quote for your comparisons.


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