Applications and Functions of Limit Switches

Limit Switch Applications & Functions

If you work with electrical machinery, then you’ve probably heard the term “limit switch” before. But what exactly is it? And what is the function of a limit switch? Below, we provide you with a basic overview of what limit switches are, their applications and how to use them.


What Is a Limit Switch?

A limit switch is a piece of electromechanical equipment that’s made up of an actuator connected to a series of contacts. These contacts allow the limit switch to detect the presence and proximity or absence of a material or object, usually in industrial settings. Based on what the contact detects, the sensor moves an actuator, which in turn changes the state of an electrical circuit. This movement signals that some preset ‘limit’ has been reached.

Because limit switches automatically detect preset limits, they eliminate the need for human workers to monitor those levels. This change makes operating everything from heavy machinery to industrial conveyor belts not only much easier and more precise but also much more reliable. As a result, production becomes more efficient, and work environments become safer.


Limit Switch Applications and Functions

Limit switches are often used to tally items or materials so that when a limit is reached, the switch closes or opens. This condition is frequently the case in industrial applications such as assembly lines. For example, when the limit switch in a specific piece of equipment detects that it has added a predetermined number of components to a product, the switch moves the actuator, which in turn moves the piece of equipment away, and the product goes on to the next station.

Limit switches can also be used as safety interlocks to prevent machine parts from moving any further when a specific point is reached. A good example of this is an automatic garage door. Without a limit switch that stops the door when it reaches the bottom rail, the door would keep moving downwards and eventually crash into the ground, causing serious damage.

Limit switches can also be used as part of a larger control system. When a certain limit is reached, the actuator can de-activate or activate a device to prevent malfunctioning or emergencies.


How to Use a Limit Switch — Operating Principle

The limit switch operating principle is rather simple, but as you can tell from the examples above, it’s integral to a host of industrial and commercial mechanical operations. Its most basic use is to slow down, stop, start or speed up operations. You can integrate a limit switch into a wide range of electromechanical applications ranging from residential garage doors to material handling in warehousing and distribution.


Limit Switch Supply

Various types of limit switches exist, including:

Contact us today to learn more about our inventory of limit switches for valve operations!