Variable Speed Foot Switches – Uses and Benefits
||Manually-operated production equipment requires the capability of the operator to control not only when the motor is turned on/off, but also the speed of the motor during operation. The machine’s operator may need to control these functions to prevent accidents and to maximize production efforts simultaneously. Variable speed foot switches provide a viable way to do so while freeing the operator’s hands for other operation duties.
Often called “foot potentiometers” these are industrial foot pedals with various designs and modes to cater to variety of applications. They are designed with various types of shields to withstand the harshest environments. Most variable speed foot control companies offer pedals with or without built-in foot guards, depending on individual needs.
There are also varying features among brands and types of switches. For example, the Hercules foot potentiometer by Linemaster features a strong protective cast aluminum shield and cast iron housing with a NEMA IP56 enclosure for greater durability. It also has a spring-loaded treadle, an option to add an auxiliary switch contact rated at 15 Amps 125-250 VAC, and an optional potentiometer with 5,000 Ohm or 10,000 Ohm values.
Variable speed foot switches come with various modes of operation. Momentary mode allows the operator to press the foot pedal to start the machine and then lift the foot off the pedal to stop the process (pedal will spring back into initial position). Maintained mode requires pressing the foot pedal once to start the machine and then pressing it one again to stop it. Proportional Output means that while the foot switch is pressed, the output is proportional to the movement of the potentiometer. Anti-Trip mode means there’s a special lever for additional safety which allows the pedal to be activated only when the lever is pushed in the forward position.
Typical Applications for Foot Pedal Potentiometers
Foot pedals for variable speed motors can be used for a variety of manually-operated equipment. Some common applications include sewing machines for textiles, shearing machines, cutting machines, sealing, stamping, presses, punching machines, spot welding machines and others. The operator may adjust the speed, start and stop these machines with the foot pedal instead of with their hands. This helps move production along at a steady pace and enhance the output.
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