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“Although smart sensors have their place, basic sensors like [those supplied by Whitman Controls] are still the most widely used, definitely the most reliable, and the most cost effective.”
-Professional Engineer, Nucor Steel
Pressure switches are rugged, reliable devices used to sense pressure changes in electromechanical systems that can activate/deactivate electrical circuits when a pre-determined pressure set point is reached. This functionality makes pressure switches especially useful in many automated systems, adding an additional level of safety and control without the need for costly computing systems. By providing cost-effective, automatic supervision and control of pressurized fluid systems, these devices form the foundation of the factory instrumentation scheme. While pressure switches are a mature product, they remain an integral part of many OEM processes and, with the advent of new technologies particularly around smart manufacturing, have become more widely used in a number of advanced automation applications. Switches provide assurance of control that not only enhances safety, but also reduces the need for persistent human monitoring and the chance of costly downtime that results from catastrophic equipment failure.
Pressure Switches in Automated Transportation
In recent years, increased market competition has resulted in end-users in various OEM industries seeking greater productivity and efficiency to meet various demands in a shorter timeframe. Moreover, with an ever-vigilant focus on workplace safety, many applications require a system to perform automated processes, particularly those controlling shut-off valves or monitoring access to dangerous environments (e.g., a pressurized chamber). The introduction of automated solutions in many cases reduces labor and related insurance costs, results in higher productivity, and most importantly, leads to greater profitability as jobs are done safer, more efficiently, and in a much shorter time.
Pressure switches play a vital role in automated transportation and material handling. For example, when handling delicate parts, as is the case in packaging microelectronics, very careful, accurate control is essential to avoid damage to the final product; one that only an automated process can deliver. A similar case can be seen in the handling and installation of glass, whereby the risk for accident is very high for the installer as well as for the product. Automated solutions controlled using actuation switches can help decrease insurance costs and waste, while delivering a more optimal end-product.
Robotic Solutions - A Real Life Case Study
Whitman Controls’ customers continue to find novel, innovative ways to leverage the simplicity and reliability of our switches. Ergo Robotic Solutions (www.ergorobotic.com) is one such company that has introduced new innovative glass installation technologies to the market and has partnered with Whitman Controls to develop a precise automated solution necessary to meet the demands of its end-users. Specifically, Ergo employs Whitman’s P119 pressure and vacuum switches to control multiple facets of their automated process. In this case, the vacuum switches help regulate the vacuum pumps which create suction as the driving force for the transport of glass panes from one part of an operation to another. Whitman’s switches also monitor pressure to confirm shutdown of the vacuum system when a particular pressure is reached. In these applications, the pressure and vacuum switches enhance efficiency and reliability, while simultaneously adding to end-user safety by triggering a low-pressure alarm when a specified pressure is detected in the system. The joint result is a robotic arm that assists in the installation of glass, resulting in greater productivity for the end user with significantly reduced error.
Ergo, along with a number of Whitman’s partners, routinely turn to Whitman Controls for its customized solutions, high-quality switches, and long-term reliable performance, all of which result in greater efficiency and, more importantly, increased safety.
“A Million Reasons to Switch” – Other Advanced Applications
Outside of robotics, Whitman Controls has recently seen its switch line employed in new drone technologies, semiconductor wafer manufacturing, sprayer technology on farm equipment, and in the automation of building management technologies. Though Whitman continues to explore product line expansion, its core switch offering has seen increased demand from new technologies, and Whitman remains committed to deliver solutions that align with its values: high quality switches with an unrelenting focus on superior customer service.
With the onset of artificial intelligence, robotics, and other technologies centered around smart manufacturing, it is an exciting time to be in the American manufacturing industry. There have been a number of new unique uses of these actuation switches in various processes. Whitman’s ability to leverage its industry experience while keenly preparing for the future, coupled with its capacity to turn a customized solution around in two weeks or less, makes it ideally suited to meet the unique needs and demands of its customers, while catapulting the company over its competition.
Whitman Controls is a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business specializing in the manufacture of miniature pressure, vacuum, temperature, and liquid level switches. The company prides itself on the diversity and quality of its product offering, proven by its ISO 9001 certification and the industry leadership position the firm has held for over 40 years. Whitman applies the same principles of military service to its every day practices: tireless dedication, rigorous standards of quality, and faithfulness to its core values and mission. This translates into delivering a quality product with superior service to exact customer specification in two weeks or less. The firm’s engineering team is ready to assist you as your company looks to explore increased efficiency and profitability by engaging its diverse switch line (www.whitmancontrols.com).