Switch harvests energy to operate wireless link

July 04, 2014 // By Julien Happich
With the demand for intelligent networking in the industry and the increasing trend for the 'intelligent factory', energy harvesting technology from Cherry offers many advantages in applications where a complex wire assembly and/or batteries would be inappropriate.

The required RF-energy is created by the mechanical actuation of the switch and the data is transmitted wirelessly using RF-technology.

The company offers two standardised package versions for industrial applications: as a rocker switch for actuation by hand and as a snap-action switch for mechanical actuation, e.g. by a machine. The switch can easily be connected with a standard SPS bus system like OpenCAN and Profibus or industrial interfaces like RS485, SPI, 4-20mA and 0-24V. The signal received simply transmits to an SPS or other industrial control.

An evaluation kit is available, providing a functional demonstration of the technology while offering users the chance to measure signal strength and range. The evaluation kit contains an energy harvesting generator, including RF electronics integrated into a microswitch housing, a receiver PCB with multiple digital and analogue outputs, a high performance dipole antenna, a chip antenna, and a CD containing the driver & installation instructions, as well as an instruction manual.