What is a piezo touch switch and how does it work?

The mechanical switch with no moving part relying on piezoelectric effect

For engineers immersed in the realm of control interface design, the Piezo touch switch stands as a unique component that blends precision and innovation. In this blog post, we will delve into the intricacies of Piezo touch switches, exploring their functionality and shedding light on what happens beneath the surface.

Piezo touch switches are found in a wide range of industries, including consumer electronics, medical devices, and industrial equipment.

Piezo touch illustration

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piezo touch switch on ATM

What is a piezo touch switch?

Piezo switches are classified as touch switches and not as mechanical switches, despite their appearance. They don’t rely on moving parts to open and close their circuits. A piezoelectric touch sensor works based on the direct piezoelectric effect. When a user interacts with the sensor, pressure is applied to the piezoelectric material. This mechanical stress results in the generation of an electric charge, which can then be detected and processed.

How does it work?

At the heart of a piezo touch switch is a piezoelectric material, often a crystal or ceramic substance. Piezoelectric elements convert and store mechanical energy as electric energy. When mechanical force is applied to this material, it undergoes a change in shape, resulting in the generation of an electric charge.

The piezo touch switch consists of one or more piezoelectric elements and conductive materials that are strategically arranged to form a switch mechanism. When pressure is applied, it generates a voltage, allowing current to flow through the conductive elements.

Advantages of piezo touch switches

One of the key advantages of piezo touch switches is their high sensitivity and responsiveness. They can detect even the slightest touch or pressure, making them ideal for applications where precision is crucial.  Their reliability and longevity make them suitable for environments where conventional switches may falter.

Some additional advantages of piezo switches are as follows:

  • No moving parts for durability. Unlike traditional mechanical switches that rely on physical movement, Piezo touch switches operate without any moving parts. This lack of mechanical components contributes to their durability and resistance to wear and tear.

  • Design flexibility for engineers. The absence of moving parts allows for greater design flexibility. Engineers can integrate piezo touch switches into sleek and compact designs without compromising on performance.

  • Durability and reliability. Piezo switches are easily completely sealed, so they are waterproof and can be cleaned without damage. Piezo touch switches are known for their robustness and long lifespan, making them a preferred choice for engineers seeking durable solutions.

  • Precision control. The high sensitivity of piezo touch switches provides engineers with precise control over the user interface, enhancing the overall user experience.

In the intricate world of electronics design, piezo touch switches excel because of their unique construction. They offer a reliable and responsive solution for applications like service kiosks and point-of-sale kiosks, chemical and laboratory instruments, bank cash machines/dispensers, vending machines, and medical devices.

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