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Industrial Pushbuttons

A pushbutton is a simple mechanism for controlling some aspect of a machine. They are typically made out of plastic or metal and come in a variety of specifications, sizes and shapes.  The surface can be flat, recessed and domed-as is the case in palm or mushroom head pushbuttons.  They are often color coded to associate them with a certain function such as red for stop and green for start and may be illuminated or lighted.

A pilot light is commonly added to draw the attention of the user and to provide feedback if the button is pushed.  While pilot lights can and often are a simple operation/feedback indicator, the pushbutton itself can be illuminated in the center and a colored lens replaces hard metal or plastic center. The source of the energy to illuminate the light is not directly tied to the contacts on the back of the pushbutton but to the action that the pushbutton controls. In this way, a start button when pushed, will cause the machine to be started and a secondary contact designed into the operation process will close to turn on the pilot light and signify the action of pushing the button causing the process or action to start.

Pushbuttons are most often biased switches.  A biased switch contains a mechanism that springs it into another position when released by an operator. The momentary pushbutton is a type of biased switch. The most common type is a "normally-open" (NO) switch, which makes contact when the button is pressed and breaks contact when the button is released.  A "normally-closed" (NC) switch, on the other hand, breaks contact when the button is pressed and makes contact when it is released.

In industrial applications, push buttons can be connected together by mechanical linkage so that the act of pushing one button causes the other button to be released. In this way, a start button can "force" a stop button to be released. This method of linkage is used in simple manual operations in which the machine or process does not have electrical control circuits.

Many of our pushbuttons, because they were taken from prior applications, come in small individual enclosures or stations with multiple pushbuttons and/or pilot lights.