Standardization helps shorten lead times

Electronics Sourcing asked EAO’s VP sales, HMI Components, Joe Torzillo, for an overview of the switch supply chain and innovative product developments.

Q) How is the switches supply chain holding up regarding deliveries, lead-times, raw materials and suppliers?

Increasing standardization makes it easier to manage the supply chains today. This leads to better raw material management and availability and, as a result, helps shorten lead times. Current allocation in worldwide semiconductor production is being monitored and may cause longer lead times for switches based on electronic components.

Q) What have been the main developments and innovations driving the switch sector over recent years?

Most recently, the Internet of Things (IoT) with its requirements for connectivity, predictive maintenance and prescriptive diagnosis has become more important. Innovations, such as intelligent switches connected via bus systems, equipped with sensors and fulfilling the highest safety standards are defining the leading edge in switch technology. Environmental issues also impact switch development, including IP69K protection and sealed switches.

Q) How has EAO responded to these driving forces?

EAO is more than a manufacturer of individual switches and control elements. A core philosophy is that we’re a solution-focused partner, providing the option of technical and mechanical customizations to existing HMI components and systems in line with our customers’ individual requirements.

With this approach in mind, things such as functional safety (ISO 26262 for keypads, ISO 13850 for emergency stops), CAN/LIN bus integration, programmable switches, touchless switches and sensor integration are innovations we develop to ensure we’re providing the best possible solutions.

Q) What advice would you offer purchasing professionals sourcing switches for their manufacturing requirements?

Make safety a priority. For example, know the difference between e-stops and stop switches. Different applications have different requirements for the appropriate switch. Put yourself in the operator or end-user’s position—switches must be intuitive and reliable. It’s also important to work with a collaborative partner regarding your needs vs an order taker with no experience.