Piezoelectric Switches



Extreme weather conditions such as ice, snow, extreme heat etc, call for extremely durable technology. Stern Smartswitch product line was created and designed with the purpose of providing just that, a vandal resistant operation for all kinds of extreme weather conditions, and harsh industrial working environments. 


A Piezo switch is a solid-state switching technology based on the functional principle of the piezoelectric crystal that utilizes the direct piezoelectric effect. Piezo switch elements typically have a piezoelectric component physically mounted on the back of a thin metal surface, the size of which is based on desired force requirements of the user. 


The characteristics behind this component are such that when an action force is applied to the piezoelectric element there is a small displacement and subsequent strain on the dielectric material. This strain causes a build-up of an electric field that causes a voltage to be induced due to a charge transfer. The voltage generated is converted by the electronic connection into a polarity-neutral, electronic switch contact. One of the main advantages of the Piezo switch is that there are no moving parts such as contacts, springs or actuator systems, resulting in fewer failures, reduced wear, and extending the life cycle. The flat actuation surface is completely sealed, preventing the intrusion of liquids or other contaminants. 


The electronics within the Piezo switch can also be fully potted protecting the components from the environment and making it impervious to water, oil or dirt. Having this type of design provides a sleek contemporary appearance, protection of control components, seamless, smooth and easily cleaned surface, and an enclosed system not affected by spills. Many solid-state switches are limited by activation with insulated materials such as gloves, but since piezoelectric technology is force related, Piezo switches can be activated by nonconductive materials. 


There is a growing trend and a number of advantages in moving toward solid state switching devices such as Piezo. Although many other technologies work well for their intended applications, piezoelectric technology offers engineers and designers nearly unlimited flexibility when challenged with switch actuation and design.