Choosing Industrial Switches

It is easy when buying industrial equipment to over spec. No one wants their expensive production facility to grind to a halt for the sake of a cheap switch. On the other hand a top of the range switch is overkill to get that decades old CNC machine on to the network.

We often need certain features, like a temperature range or IP rating, even when we want to do something relatively small or straightforward. Sometimes we just have to buy the one that fits in the cabinet. Frequently we see bits added on ad hoc or patched together to solve a problem and left that way because we think improving it out would get too expensive or too complicated. But the one thing we repeatedly hear from engineers is that they want to be able to fit something and walk away from it, confident that they can rely on it.

With the drive to get devices on the network in the modern factory Ethernet infrastructure shouldn’t be an afterthought.

The production line can look less like an oily shop floor and more like a surgical ward. Management want the kind of insights PC software programs can give them, whilst the network admins and electrical engineers are trying to figure out how to integrate their systems without compromising the security.

When it comes to Ethernet switches you can pick one up for few dollars or spend thousands. With all these buzz words like IoT and industry 4.0 floating around it is easy to roll one’s eyes, but the when equipment is properly networked there are genuine advantages.

Being able to network a solid, reliable piece of production equipment like a CNC machine can bring the benefits of the modern factory without have to invest in completely new equipment. If programs can be delivered via the network direct from the company servers, change over times can be reduced, wires don’t need to be trailed or engineers ‘pop’ down with a laptop. If signals like the door is open or the stop button has been pushed can be monitored in real time or reviewed we can responded faster and make better decisions about how we manage our equipment. Every time we make a process more efficient or reliable we save money, which drops straight to the bottom line.

For monitoring and control all these sensors and devices now have one thing in common – we want them networked. This means expanding the Ethernet network and putting in switches.

So looking at your application, what do you need the switch to do and how many machines are you trying to connect to?

Unmanaged switches are usually all that’s needed if you are only connecting a few devices on a simple network. Besides being able to just plug them in the main advantage is that they are a lot cheaper than managed switches and there is no need to compromise on industrial format and temperature spec.

Luke Walsh, Managing Director of Brainboxes, comments: “We’ve been listening to our customers, and they increasingly need to extend their networks. With the drive to get equipment online and Industry 4.0 taking off, even the best designed networks are running out of ports. We have come up with a range of switches to greatly expand your network at an industrial spec that meets the needs of users who demand reliability and high performance.”

The power input range means Brainboxes switches can be run from: a 24VDC factory floor supply; a standard car battery, making it ideal for in-vehicle and aboard boats; or even a computer USB port, using an optional accessory cable (PW-650).  

The features you want at the right price:









Desk top and wall mount plastic case

+5V to +30VDC

0ºC to +60ºC





Slim DIN mount plastic case

+5V to +30VDC Dual Redundant

-40ºC to +80ºC





Compact slim DIN mount plastic case

+5V to +30VDC Dual Redundant

-40ºC to +80ºC





Slim DIN mount plastic case

+5V to +30VDC Dual Redundant

-40ºC to +80ºC





Tough Metal case IP50

+5V to +30VDC Dual Redundant

-40ºC to +75ºC



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