Technical explanations for electronic pressure switches

An electronic pressure switch converts the medium pressure which is present at the measuring cell into a digital, electrical switch signal (ON/OFF). An electronic pressure switch is more complex than a mechanical pressure switch, and thus generally more expensive. As an electronic pressure switch has no moving parts (relative to each other), it usually has a much prolonged service life and provides a higher level of precision (depending on application). The hysteresis can be set over a wide range and virtually independently of the switching point. Electronic pressure switches can also be equiped with additional functions, such as optical displays and menu control.

The pressure measuring cell fitted has a membrane that is exposed to the pressure to be measured. Affixed to this membrane is a bridge circuit consisting of four ohmic resistors in the form of a Wheatstone bridge. The values of these resistors change proportionally to the pressure load present at the measuring cell or membrane. The bridge voltage of the measuring cell is amplified in the evaluation electronics and processed digitally by a microcontroller. Once the switching point or switch-back point is reached, the output transistor closes or opens depending on the output function (normally open/closed contact).

In the silicone-on-sapphire technology, the substrate of the thin film measuring cell is synthetic sapphire. This has excellent mechanical and temperature stable properties and prevents undesired parasitic effects, thereby having a positive effect on accuracy and stability. In conjunction with a titanium membrane, this results in virtually unique coaction between the temperature coefficients of sapphire and titanium. This is because, unlike silicon and stainless steel, they are more closely matched and thus require only a low level of compensation. This also has a favourable effect on longterm stability.

In this measuring cell technology, the piezoresistive measuring cell is packaged within a metallic housing filled with fluorine oil. This means the measuring cell is virtually free of external mechanical stress. Fluorine oil has excellent characteristics in regards to temperature and ageing behaviour, and is not flammable and so fits perfectly for oxygen applications. It is not recommended for food applications.

Ceramic thick film pressure measuring cells are made up of a sintered ceramic body. The ceramic body sleeve already has the key geometries for the subsequent pressure range. The membrane thickness required and thus, the pressure range required is established with grinding and lapping. The resistors are imprinted with thick film technology and interconnect to form a measuring bridge.