Controlling the power is everything. And in industrial environments, it is essential to have human-machine interfaces you can count on. Whenever you start or stop a process, the response must be assured. Selector switches are integral members of an electrical panel. They can be used in any application and they are produced in many different types.
Before moving on to its types, let’s define this device.
A selector switch is a mechanical switch that can be turned right, center, or left to open or close the electrical contacts. It is mostly used to start/stop devices or to switch between two/three electric circuits. It is a link between man and machine.
The selector switch provides flexible control options in a minimal amount of space. It performs multiple functions and only inhabits the space of a typical pushbutton.
It should be ordered in parts (operator + holder + contact block + Led block) and installed in an enclosure.
Selector switches are used to select one of several circuit possibilities such as manual or automatic operation, low or high speed, up or down, right or left, and stop or run.
The switch function can be maintained or momentary. In a maintained the actuator stays in thrown position (on-off). In a momentary, the switch must be held in position; it reverts to the normal position when an actuating force is removed.
A selector switch consists of below parts:
Contact block: The part of a selector switch that encapsulates the contact.
Holder: Contact blocks are held to the back of a device with a contact block holder.
Operator: The part of the device that is touched to operate, i.e., the selector switch knob
Lamp block: The part of a pilot device that holds and activates the light bulb when it receives the appropriate signal
Types of Selector Switches
The selector switches come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and materials. It can be either plastic or metal. And the mounting diameter could vary from 16 mm to 30mm.
The followings are the actuator types of selector switches:
1. Short handle selector switch
A short handle selector switch is a type of electrical switch that is operated by a short handle or lever that can be moved into different positions to select different circuits or functions. It is the typical type. It is also the cheapest.
The short handle selector switch is designed to be compact and easy to use making it ideal for use in tight spaces or in applications where fast switching is required.
2. Long handle selector switch
A long-handle selector switch is a type of electrical switch that is used to select between multiple circuits or electrical states. The switch is operated by a long handle or lever that can be moved to different positions to select different circuits or functions. It can be actuated easily. It is more expensive than a short-handle selector switch.
3. Key-operated selector switch
A key-operated selector switch is an electrical switch that requires a key to operate it. It is commonly used to control access to a specific electrical circuit or to limit the use of a device or equipment to authorized personnel only.
The key-operated selector switch is used for safety-related issues. The key can be removed in various positions and when it is removed no other action can be done.
4. Illuminated selector switch
An illuminated selector switch is a type of switch that is designed to provide visual feedback to the user. It typically consists of a circular or rectangular base with several positions or options, and a knob or lever that can be turned to select one of these options.
The illuminated selector switch has a lamp element for illumination. It saves space and cost, by combining two functions into one operator. This can be particularly useful in low-light conditions, or when the user needs to quickly and easily identify the current selection.
5. Non-illuminated selector switch
A non-illuminated selector switch is an electrical switch that does not have an indicator light or any other type of illumination to show the current state of the switch. It is commonly used in industrial and commercial applications to control the operation of machinery, equipment and other electrical systems.
The non-illuminated selector switch does not have a lamp element. Its operator is stronger than an illuminated switch.
6. 2-position selector switch
A 2-position selector switch is an electrical switch that has two possible positions: ON and OFF. It is a simple switch that is commonly used in a variety of electrical circuits to control the flow of electricity.
The switch typically consists of a handle or lever that can be moved to one of two positions to either connect or disconnect the circuit. When the switch is in the ON position, the circuit is closed allowing electricity to flow through it. When the switch is in the OFF position, the circuit is open preventing the flow of electricity.
7. 3-position selector switch
A 3-position selector switch is a type of switch that has three possible positions or states. It can be used to control electrical circuits by selecting one of the three available options. These switches are often used in industrial settings, home appliances, and electronic devices.
The three positions of the switch can be represented as ON-OFF-ON, ON-OFF-MOMENTARY ON, or any other combination depending on the specific application.
Applications of Selector Switches
Some of many industries with selector switch needs:
- Material handling – packaging, moving, warehousing, distribution
- Genset and UPS
- Oil & gas mining/extracting, refining, processing
- Food & beverage
- Manufacturing – automotive/heavy equipment, machining, marine, glass & plastics
- Metals – mining, refining, processing, forming
In conclusion, selector switches are crucial components of electrical panels in industrial environments. They are versatile and can be used in any application where the control of electrical circuits is required. Selector switches come in various types, materials and actuator designs, each with its unique features and functions. The key to selecting the right selector switch is to identify the specific requirements of the application. Selector switches can be used in many industries, including material handling, manufacturing, oil and gas, HVAC and food and beverage. They offer a reliable and flexible way to control electrical circuits and are an essential link between man and machine.