1) EXTREMELY RUGGED CONSTRUCTION.
Solid metal construction and our proprietary sensing techniques allow
us to fabricate the most vandal proof, outdoor compatible, rugged products
on the market. ActiveMetal Switches actually sense touch through
solid metal. There is no thin metal overlay as in piezo technology that
is vulnerable to being pierced with a screwdriver or dented with a hammer.
These products are explosion proof and insensitive to vibration and impact.
2) IMPERVIOUS TO EXPOSED OUTDOOR ENVIRONMENTS.
Products for this application must operate reliably in rainstorms, freezing
rain, tropical heat, and dust storms. We have been successful in meeting
these challenging environments principally because the switches are impervious
to water and operate over a wide temperature range. Standard specification
is -40 to +85 Celsius. When wider temperature range components are used,
the switches function at a minimum of between -60 and +125 Celsius.
We have discovered a proprietary trapped ultrasonic mode
that is insensitive to all water conditions, but senses fingers and any
kind of glove pressure. This mode functions while completely submerged
underwater to extreme depths.
3) EASE OF INTEGRATION IN HARSH ENVIRONMENTS.
Sealing is a critical issue in harsh environments. Our switches operate
in virtually any metal, so any enclosure, panel or bezel can have switch
positions defined from the rear surface. No need to drill holes or any
additional sealing steps. The switches sense touch through metal and therefore
do not affect the integrity and rating of an enclosure.
4) CONTROLLED TOUCH SENSITIVITY.
Touch sensitivity is microprocessor controlled and the touch detect circuit
is inherently tolerant to electronic noise from nearby circuitry. This
means that the switch responds reliably and consistently to a light touch
from any kind of glove. The switch is insensitive to the rate of activation,
no need to poke at it. It can also sense multiple levels of touch pressure;
for example, one touch pressure level for select and a greater pressure
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5) DIAGNOSTICS AND 'SOFT' FAILURES.
Touch sensing is continuous and under microprocessor control which will
indicate if a switch is working or not in real time. Using firmware algorithms
it is very straightforward to report out failures and anticipated failures
for each switch position. This is particularly useful for mission critical
and remote applications and also enables us to replace a switch with either
a standby or less mission critical position. When the switches are part
of an integrated display bezel for example, switch functions can be indicated
on the periphery of the display or with back lighting so that changes
in switch position can be highlighted.
6) CONTINUOUS SIGNAL WHEN TOUCHED.
Every switch position gives a continuous signal when the switch threshold
has been exceeded. This means the switch can be inexpensively multiplexed
directly to the microprocessor. No need for a circuit at each position
to store charge. Keyboards and keypads that require multiple switch positions
are easily multiplexed. Each switch is sensed so quickly, (less than 200
microseconds per switch) that even a 130 position keyboard circuit is
a very simple design.
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7) ENHANCED TACTILE RESPONSE.
Texzec switches have no moving parts and are fabricated in solid robust
materials. This greatly increases reliability compared to any other existing
switch products but requires a different approach to tactile feedback.
We take advantage of the solid plate material by arranging for the back
of the plate to be struck whenever a switch is activated. This gives an
audible and vibratory response that is very effective. Contouring the
front surface to give a finger a positive fit is an additional feature.
This technology is well suited for use with inexpensive overlays that
provide a conventional keyboard response but can be discarded or removed
for aggressive sterilization. Applications such as food processing and
pharmaceuticals can now have an input device that is insensitive to liquid
spills and other contaminants but has a familiar tactile feel.
8) ADVANTAGES FOR MISSION CRITICAL APPLICATIONS: "SOFT"
FAILURES, FAILURE PREDICTION AND FAILURE REPORTING:
Texzec's switches are a natural choice for Mission Critical applications.
Due to their construction and absence of moving parts these components
are very reliable. However, it's possible for any piece of equipment to
fail, so in addition to high reliability, we offer the following unique
(a) Continuously reporting switch status. Three states are possible:
Switch is good, Switch has failed, and Switch is about to fail.
(b) Switching a mission critical function to a known good device in the
event of a switch failure (known as a soft failure).
(c) Predicting imminent failure.
See the Technology page for "How
we do it"!
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