IDEC Corp. has introduced a line of CW low-profile touchless switches suitable for hygienic industrial and public automation applications, addressing cleanliness concerns for protecting against COVID-19 and other contamination. Touchless switches are reportedly durable and reduce the total cost of equipment operation. 

IDEC is introducing touchless switches, that reportedly reduce or can remove the need for personnel to sanitize the switch faces, saving labor and the cost of chemicals, and eliminating the need for protective films. Because no contact is involved, users do not need to dispose of gloves or wash them after using these switches. The lack of mechanical contact and cleaning reduces switch deterioration, providing a long operational lifetime.

The CW touchless switches are designed with a nearly flush (2mm rise) low-profile surface silhouette. They are built for an industry-standard 22-mm mounting hole and require a shallow 35-mm space behind the panel face, plus room for the wiring connector. The typical installation pitch is 30mm in width and 50mm in height. Operating temperatures range from -25 to 55 degrees Celsius.

A rubber washer and locking ring maintain IP65/67 and NEMA Type 4X ratings. The CW1H housing and bezel are black plastic resin, and the CW4H is silver aluminum alloy metal. Although the switches are rated for outdoor use, are made from weather-resistant materials, and are resistant to visible light, excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays from direct sunlight can cause material degradation and color fading and even false signals. Additionally, as with almost any signaling device, dirt and water droplets can impact operation. Therefore, designers should check product performance before use and consider degrees of physical protection.

The switch front face contains a central emitter, receiver sensing lens, and an LED indicator ring. Infrared LED diffuse reflection technology is used to detect objects. The detection distance is adjustable, typically ranging from 70 to 270mm depending on the object's color, material, and surface condition to be detected. For example, dark gloves can be detected at a shorter distance than a bare hand. When two switches are installed close together, their emitting frequencies are automatically adjusted for mutual interference prevention, ensuring the switches do not trigger each other.

Switch output is a non-contact photo MOS relay without a timer or 0.5s on-delay and a 2.0s off-delay. Reverse connection protection is included, and the switch operates at a nominal 12 to 24V DC with a 100mA max load current. The two-color LED ring, which can be externally controlled to illuminate in red or green, provides status feedback for users.