Pressure switches are critical components in your application, providing accurate and reliable pressure measurements that are essential for the safety and efficiency of your process. However, if not correctly specified, a pressure switch can cause actuation errors, and damage equipment, leading to worker injury or other dangerous incidents. Make sure to choose the right pressure switch for your application to avoid these risks.
Are you having problems with your pressure switch? If so, what factors do we consider when selecting a new one? This article will outline the steps when choosing or replacing a pressure switch.
What Makes a Quality Pressure Switch?
Ensuring the proper pressure switch for your application is critical, as over 50% of pressure switch applications require the switch to be used for safety purposes, such as to start or stop a device or to send an alarm signal to the user. Therefore, when selecting a pressure switch for your application, it is essential to consider the device’s safety requirements.
When selecting the best pressure switch for your application, there are many factors to consider. From the style of the switch (diaphragm, piston, bellows, or electronic) to the wetted materials and housing construction, setpoint requirements, application pressures (working and maximum), and whether any approvals are required, it’s essential to evaluate all of these elements to make the right choice. Only then can you be sure you are selecting the best pressure switch for your application.
This accuracy, also known as repeatability, refers to the switch’s ability to provide the same setpoint, time after time, consistently. With this accuracy, you can be sure your pressure switch will operate reliably and accurately throughout its lifetime.
Different styles of pressure switches can have vastly different accuracies. For example, electronic switches often offer very good or high accuracy, while some basic switch designs may have very poor or low accuracy specifications. Therefore, it is crucial to consider the accuracy of your pressure switch when selecting the right one for your application.
Ensuring that your pressure switch is manufactured by a reliable organization using quality engineering and manufacturing practices is essential for accuracy and reliability. Your switch should be built and calibrated to industry standards to ensure maximum performance. Additionally, it is important to note that pressure switches are calibrated sensors that may require recalibration over time, depending on your application. You can ensure accuracy and reliability in the long run by making sure your switch is from a reputable company with quality engineering and manufacturing practices.
Price is an essential factor to consider when choosing a switch. You can find low-cost switches that use simpler designs and low-cost materials, as well as more expensive switches that offer better accuracy, reliability, and a higher level of safety. No matter your budget, there is a switch that can meet your needs.
A thorough understanding of your application’s requirements is essential when selecting a pressure switch.
How to Choose a Pressure Switch?
Identify the standard operating pressure and the maximum pressure of your application that the switch could see.
It’s important to identify your application’s standard operating pressure (SOP) and maximum pressure when selecting a pressure switch. This ensures the switch can safely operate in your system and handle the normal operating pressure and any pressure spikes you may experience. Also, make sure the switch you choose is ranged to handle both the SOP and maximum pressure of your application.
Is your required setpoint achievable by a mechanical or electronic pressure switch? The answer depends on the range of the switch. Mechanical pressure switches may be limited to setpoints within the lower 10-15% of the range, while electronic switches can provide setpoints almost anywhere in the switch’s range. It’s also important to consider if you need a single or dual setpoint switch, as having two setpoints can set two separate alarms (high and higher, low and lower, or high and low). Make sure to check the specifications of the switch before making your decision.
Consider the compatibility of process fittings or other wetted materials such as diaphragms and pistons/O-rings.
Check for compatibility with the process media when considering process fittings and other wet materials such as diaphragms and pistons/O-rings. Incompatible materials can lead to corrosion, safety risks, and even leaching into the process media. Make sure you are aware of any potential compatibility issues before executing your process.
Be aware of any possible high temperatures and compare them to the switch’s specifications.
Make sure to check the temperature of your environment regularly and compare it to the operational temperature specifications of your switch. If you notice that the temperature is higher than the specified operational range, take action to bring it down to a safe level. Operating your switch beyond its stated temperature specifications can lead to setpoint drift, component issues, and possible safety concerns.
Select a microswitch based on your application’s electrical requirements.
Selecting a microswitch for your application should be done based on the electrical requirements of your application. Before choosing a microswitch, check the electrical ratings provided by the supplier. These ratings are guidelines for the voltages and currents tested by third-party independent test labs to ensure the maximum cycle life of the switch. Even though the microswitch can handle many different voltages and currents, keep in mind that the cycle life may be reduced if the electrical requirements exceed the ratings.
Assess whether hazardous area approvals are required or industry-type approvals are required.
Verify if your application requires a hazardous area or industry-type approvals such as explosion-proof, intrinsically safe, non-incendive/increased safety, boiler, and steam limit control approvals. These hazardous area approvals are provided by independent and nationally recognized test labs known as NTRLs, and certifying agencies such as FM, ATEX, CSA, IEC, and UKCA. By determining the approval requirements for your application, you can ensure you are using the correct switch for these types of applications.
Assess whether your switch requires additional features.
Do you need a specific setpoint, material, certification, or mounting option for your switch? Factory Set (XFS) is a common variation that ensures the switch is accurately calibrated upon delivery, making installation easier. Additionally, you can select various options to customize your switches, such as unique materials, NACE certification, pilot lights, and more. Let us help you determine which options are best for your switch needs.
Choose between a fixed or adjustable deadband.
Choose the right deadband for your application with fixed or flexible options. Fixed deadbands have a predetermined value determined by the mechanical properties of the switch. In contrast, adjustable deadbands offer the flexibility to select a deadband value within a specific range that best meets your application requirements. You can find a deadband solution that fits your needs with these options.
An indoor or outdoor switch.
Using a pressure switch indoors or outdoors presents different considerations to ensure its performance and longevity. When used outdoors, temperature and weather effects such as rain, snow, sleet, and more must be considered. It is also important to note the IP/NEMA ratings needed to ensure the switch is suitable for use in the intended environment. Taking these precautions can ensure that your switch has been working correctly for years.
BCST Pressure Switches
BCST has 21 years of experience manufacturing pressure switches, offering unmatched quality control from raw materials to the finished product. With a wide range of configurations available, BCST pressure switches are perfect for nearly every industry, assuring you that you have the right product for your specific process. In addition, our fast delivery and abundant raw material stock ensure you always get your product when you need it. Plus, when you choose BCST, you get the added benefit of OEM design services. All this makes BCST the ideal one-stop solution for reliable and quality pressure switches.