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How does a Footswitch Work?

A Footswitch is a switching device which is operated by the user's foot. They are used throughout a whole host of industries to operate machines or devices giving the user full use of their hands.

Footswitches can be either momentary or latching. And can use various operating principles.

How Does A Footswitch Work – Electric Footswitches

An electric footswitch works like any other electric switch. Inside the footswitch there are contact points, the wires of the footswitch are connected to the electric circuit of a device.

When wired Normally Open the contacts within the footswitch are not touching, the electric circuit is not connected, and the device is “off”. When the footswitch is compressed the contacts will be closed, connecting the electric circuit and switching the machine to “on”.

When wired Normally Closed, the contacts remain closed, with the electric circuit connected until the footswitch is compressed which breaks the circuit switching the device “off”.

How Does a Footswitch Work – Pneumatic Footswitches

Pneumatic footswitches work in the same way as pneumatic push button switches but are operated by the foot. Rather than an electrical connection, when a pneumatic footswitch is compressed, a puff of air is sent down a length of PVC tubing. This actuates an air switch which is connected to an electric circuit.

Pneumatic footswitches are often selected for use in wet environments as they do not contain electrics making them a perfect solution for user safety.

How Does a Footswitch Work – Wireless Footswitches

There are various technologies used which can be classed aswireless footswitches. At Herga, the wireless connection we use is a Bluetooth connection.

Bluetooth footswitches use a wireless receiver which is connected to the device. When the wireless footswitch is actuated, the receiver will recognise this change and activate the device.

Our Bluetooth footswitch operates over a range of 10 meters and have UL 60601-1 approval for use in medical applications.

Why use a Footswitch?

Footswitches are often just one option for switching devices. A hand switch or push button are other options, however, in many circumstances, footswitches are selected because:

  • They offer hands free operation – the user still has full use of both hands.
  • For hygiene reasons – if multiple users are using the switch there is less risk of contamination.
  • Save space on work areas – as they are operated from the floor.· 

Footswitches from Herga Technology

We have a wide range of footswitches and footswitch accessories for you to view on our website. Some of our switches have multipedal designs and others have guard options for added user safety.

For easy comparison take a look at our Footswitch Line Card.

For more information on our footswitches or to discuss your application, please contact us.

Article published on: 04/02/2021

Article last updated on: 04/02/2021