Switches are electromechanical components that control the current flow by connecting and disconnecting the electrical circuit. Even the popularity of touch screens has not changed the fact that it is still the leading method of user-device interaction. Therefore, they perform an extremely important function, and at the same time seem to be such simple elements that many engineers do not pay due attention to choosing the right component. Indeed, the multitude of switch types and models available on the market can be overwhelming. However, it is worth looking for products where quality and reliability go hand in hand with an attractive price. The products of NKK Switches, a Japanese manufacturer that has been operating since 1953 and has established itself as an innovation leader in the production of switches, can serve as an example. The company’s products are widely ranked as the best in the industry, and many of the company’s solutions have become standard, including Sliding Twin Crossbar (STC) mechanism, which provides high reliability and stable switch operation. TME offers more than 100 models of NKK Switches, including toggle, rocker, sliding, rotary, and miniature switches.
Below we present the three most popular product groups in TME’s offer.
NKK toggle switches
Toggle switches are universal switches widely used in electronics and industrial automation thanks to their high durability and ease of use. Two-state and three-state NKK toggle switches can be used, among others in mobile devices, industry, transport, and medicine, i.e., in very demanding environmental conditions, where at the same time, durability is crucial. The wide selection of products in this group facilitates the work of designers, who do not have to make compromises, having the ability to choose the optimal switch in terms of dimensions, connections, switching methods, or to choose between two or three states.
Electronics, including switches, are becoming more and more compact. Switches of the A, B, D2, and G series are compact switches designed to save valuable PCB space. These elements, based on patented STC mechanism, are enclosed in a sealed housing, making them suitable for PCB mounting using wave soldering. Additionally, the B series has an anti-static carbon impregnated design that protects the unit against the risks of electrostatic discharge. NKK Switches components are characterized by high mechanical and electrical durability, which can be up to one million cycles for selected G-series models. The M and S Series are waterproof switches with an IP68 rating, extending the range of potential applications to include devices operating in particularly demanding environments.
It is worth noting that, regardless of switch type, NKK switches are available in many contact configurations, including the most common: single-pole, single-throw (SPST); single-pole, double-throw (SPDT); and double pole, double throw (DPDT).
Pushbutton NKK Switches
Pushbutton switches are commonly used in almost every market segment of electronics. Computers, consumer electronics, white and brown goods are the most popular examples. These switches are used to disconnect the circuit only when the pushbutton is pressed, but can also operate in bistable mode when successive activations alternately disconnect and connect the circuit. Depending on the model, NKK pushbutton switches can withstand voltages up to 250 V (AC and DC) and current up to 5 A, with contact resistance ranging from 10 mΩ to 200 mΩ.
In addition to such features as lifetime and reliability, the usability aspect is also of great importance. Aesthetics and ergonomics come to the fore, and customers value products that ensure user comfort. NKK pushbutton switches are available in a wide range of dimensions. GB series microswitches, thanks to their weight of only 0.25g, are perfect for portable devices. On the opposite pole are switches from the LB and LP series, i.e., larger switches that offer high mechanical and electrical durability in addition to ease of use. In selected models, the manufacturer has decided to use a modular design, so you can choose a button according to the required functionality; by choosing the appropriate fronts or backlighting, you can achieve the desired look of the button.
NKK slide switches
NKK Switches manufactures 2-, 3-, and 4-state miniature and ultra-miniature slide switches, with the slide on the top or side for mounting convenience and to easily adapt the switch to application requirements. Most switches of this type have SPDT contacts, i.e., single-pole, double-throw and thus they are commonly used for switching between different circuits. An equally popular category is DPDT configuration for simultaneous control of two separate circuits, used, for example, in the control of motors and electric actuators.
In this category NKK Switches offers switches with leads for PCB and soldering. Increasing miniaturisation is at the same time a challenge for manufacturers in terms of quality and manufacturing accuracy. The mechanically rugged design, proven manufacturing process and rigorous testing of NKK Switches guarantee their reliability even under heavy use. The MS series is characterized by excellent durability, providing a mechanical life of 100.000 cycles, making it recommended for particularly demanding applications. It is worth noting that the seals used in all the company’s switches provide excellent resistance to adverse environmental conditions such as humidity and dust. The switches, e.g., the SM series, work over a wide temperature range, from -40°C to 85°C.
Rocker switches by NKK Switches
The SNAP-IN version of the switch is fitted by pressing it into a matched hole.
Rocker switches are most often used as components responsible for closing a power supply circuit or changing the device operation mode – that’s why they offer outstanding current parameters. In the case of NKK Switches, selected products feature contacts with a maximum load of up to 30A (for 30V DC and 250V AC). The switches are available in variants with 1, 2 and 3 stable positions, not only in basic contact configurations, but also DP3T and 3PST. The switches can be installed on a panel, using SNAP-IN anchors or soldered directly to a PCB (through-hole technology, THT). Low contact resistance (from 10mΩ) limits the risk of component overheating – nevertheless, their operating temperature reaches up to -30…85°C. Additionally, it should be emphasised that the switches are available in illuminated versions.
Encoder switches by NKK Switches
Encoder switches are often used as components for presetting and configuring devices at the time of their installation. They combine a compact (and low-profile) size with the possibility of entering multiple values – in the case of NKK Switches products: 10 or 16. These products are available in both through-hole and surface-mount versions (THT and SMT) and can therefore be used in small footprint circuits. Moreover, they are available in straight and angled variants (knob axis parallel to the PCB surface). All the encoder switches from this manufacturer have an area of 10x10mm and a height of 4mm. They are characterised by a good service life (min. 10000 cycles) and excellent thermal resistance, reaching from -25°C to 85°C. Thanks to the accurate, tactile click when changing the setting and the clear position labels, the use of NKK Switches is comfortable and reduces the risk of mistakes.
A 16-position encoder switch allows the input of hexadecimal values.