The Many Forms of Electrical Contacts

If you have heard anything about electrical contacts, you probably know that they are used in almost every electrical device that requires a switch. You may even know the difference between welded and brazed contacts. However contacts can be made into many different forms to accommodate unique designs and needs. For special purposes, manufacturers have been able to produce electrical contact tapes and rivets for special purposes, as well as custom manufactured contacts for prototyping. Here is a basic overview of the different forms that electrical contacts can take and their uses.

Rivets

Electrical contact rivets have been a staple of the industry since their development. Since they are in the form of a rivet, it allows them to be incorporated into a variety of designs and devices. One of the most common types of rivets are cold headed rivets, which are named from the process that is used to produce them. Cold heading involves feeding a material such as wire/rod into a machine that makes the head of the rivets from the material. This has great flexibility over traditional machining due to the fact that the head can be formed into a variety of different shapes depending on the application.

Tape

One of the more recent innovations in manufacturing is the production of electrical contact tapes. While tapes are generally only suitable for low voltage applications, they can be customized and layered depending on the needs of the designer. This allows them to be used in a variety of devices where a rivet or other type of contact would not be appropriate, further enabling innovation by allowing profile tape to be ordered in spools.

Custom

The nature of electrical contacts presents a unique challenge for designers who do not have the capacity to produce their own. Thus, in order to test prototypes they will often collaborate with a manufacturer to produce a limited number of custom contacts that they can install and test. Whether it be a simple light switch or the next smart phone model, custom contacts are usually an important part of any manufacturer’s portfolio.

As long as technology continues to develop, electrical contacts will be a needed product. Seeing as tech shows no signs of slowing down, it is highly likely that manufacturers and designers alike will have to collaborate and innovate to meet rising demand. Whether it be through producing electrical contact tapes, rivets or custom parts, the industry will continue to endure and develop even more varieties of electrical contacts.