Non-contact guard switches designed and manufactured in the UK

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Non-contact guard switches designed and manufactured in the UKMechan Controls is promoting its non-contact safety switches and monitoring systems for machine guards, emphasising that these high-quality products are all designed and manufactured in the UK. Furthermore, they are independently tested by TUV Nord and UL, and are CE marked accordingly. Customers can therefore be fully confident of the quality, as well as having direct access to the best possible technical support.

Established in 1972, Mechan Controls has a long history of developing electronic safety switches for machine guarding, including manufacturing 'badge engineered' versions of its safety switches for other well known suppliers of electrical equipment. Most recently, in 2013 Mechan Controls launched the HE Series that combines simple coded magnetic technology and robust electronic safety switching, resulting in a low-cost yet reliable safety switch. These coded magnetic safety switches are suitable for use in Category 4, SIL 3 and PL e safety-related control systems.

The fully-encapsulated HE switches withstand vibration, wash down and most harsh environments, making them an excellent choice for use in food processing, filling and packing applications, as well as many other situations where non-locking machine guard switches are required. Various configurations of the HE Series switches are available, with plastic or stainless steel bodies, together with a SCU control module for installation in the machine control panel. A patented HED safety switch is claimed to be unique in its ability to monitor two adjacent doors using a single switch and a coded magnetic actuator on each door, which saves on installation time, cabling, parts count and purchase costs - one HED switch costs around half the price of two separate switches.

Complete safety system

The F-Series is the latest version of Mechan's electronic safety system that now has a record of over 40 years' reliability in all types of industrial applications. The safety control unit mounts on DIN rail in the machine control cabinet and monitors up to 30 Mechan safety switches and/or emergency stop buttons. F-Series electronic non-contact safety switches are fully encapsulated, easy to install and tolerant of misalignment.

Together the switches and control module provide a safety system capable of meeting the requirements Category 4, SIL 3 or PL e, and provide long-term reliability, even when installed in harsh environments.

As with the HE-series, the F-Series electronic switches are offered in various sizes and styles to suit different applications. Included in the range are versions with enhanced resistance to electromagnetic interference (EMC immunity) and optional unique coding. In addition, the Mechan PLU air-operated locking unit is a complete, fail-safe system that locks a guard or access panel securely until it is safe to enter; this can be determined by a motion stop detector or a timer. The PLU incorporates both a bolt position sensor switch and a Mechan guard switch to sense when the locking bar is in position.

Magnetic safety switches

For customers wanting magnetically-operated safety switches without a guard locking facility, Mechan offers the Magnasafe range in a wide variety of sizes and contact configurations. Tolerant of misalignment between switch and actuator, and with all models sealed to IP67, the Magnasafe non-contact safety switches are supplied with ABS or stainless steel bodies, including M18 and M30 threaded body styles (ABS only). Maximum switching current is 2A.

Electronic safety switches

Mechan S-Type switches are electronically operated standalone safety switches designed to work with any safety relay. Based on the Mechan top-of-the-range F-Series electronics, the S-Type safety switches use Mechan's frequency-operated switching system. This ensures only the Mechan S-Type actuator can operate the switch, which prevents unauthorised overriding of the safety switches. S-Type switches are often used for replacing standard magnetic safety switches where additional security is required, as well as improved reliability and status indication at the switch. Fully encapsulated, the switches and actuators feature rugged ABS bodies.

Category 3, SIL 3, PL e safety system

Where the requirements for the safety system are slightly less demanding, Mechan Controls offers the ISIS safety system, comprising a control unit and one or more coded magnetic guard switches. Customers can choose a combined safety switch and emergency stop monitoring and control and unit or a gate switch control unit, either of which can be extended using one or more expansion modules. ISIS guard switches are available in different sizes and styles, with fully encapsulated ABS or stainless steel housings.

Mechan Controls still supports the MPX monitoring system that was first introduced more than 40 years ago. Proven to be safe, reliable and easy to install, the MPX control units are offered in both chassis-mount or 35mm DIN rail-mount formats for installation into existing controls, and they can be used with any of the F-Series safety switches (F-Type, B-Type, S-Type, C-Type and Dinky).

Extensive portfolio

Mechan Controls believes that its extensive portfolio of guard switches and monitoring systems means it can meet virtually any customer requirement for safety switches. If one of the Mechan monitoring systems is used, it is straightforward to use the outputs from this in another safety-related control system. With machine builders and system integrators increasingly turning to non-contact switching due to reliability and tampering concerns relating to tongue-operated guard switches, Mechan's coded magnetic and coded electronic switches are very attractive. Furthermore, the fact that these products are designed and manufactured in the UK gives added peace of mind in terms of quality and technical support. Follow the links above for more information about individual product ranges or go to

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