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issue: April 2005 APPLIANCE Magazine

Electronics Report
Ultra-Slim Touch Control


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Calw, Germany-based Seuffer has developed STC SLIM, a new ultra-slim touch control technology for glass-ceramic hobs and cookers.

According to Seuffer, its touch control technology is able to permanently monitor the sensors. In the case of a malfunction, the relevant data is stored, an error message is generated, and the touch control is switched to safe mode.

The ultra slim control panel allows the touch control to be positioned along the bottom of the glass-ceramic surface, according to the company. A power section integrates the power supply, relays, and a buzzer, while a control unit houses the touch controls, display element, and microcomputer.

Based on IR control technology, the panel consists of a series of modules that can be combined for individual applications. This allows Seuffer to change the design quickly, and end users can customize options like interface, number of displays, number of pushbuttons, and relay numbers, says Andreas Buchholz, development engineer.

Flash technology is also included in the touch control, which allows the customer to specify a variety of options. “By using this technology, our customers can define many different operations and can choose them at the end of the production line,” says Mr. Buchholz. “So customers can buy one control unit and change the running program [during] production.”

Springs press the control panel against the glass-ceramic surface, and the springs compensate for the tolerances of the glass, which the company says ensures easy assembly.

The touch control also uses a software that is said to not only recognize the pressure applied by the finger, but also detects the way in which the finger approaches the touch controls. This feature helps avoid unintended actions being carried out, such as wiping over the panel and accidentally activating the controls, or exerting permanent pressure.

According to the company, with the support of the software structure, the microcomputer continuously measures the ambient light and adjusts the sensitivity of the sensors accordingly. This, it says, excludes practically any influence on the function from surrounding light conditions.

The power supply can also be separated from the operating part to achieve a low installation height of 9 mm. At the same time, the width of the touch control can be reduced to 30 mm.

Transformers have been removed from the power supply unit, resulting in reduced weight and a low standby power consumption of less than 1 W. The company says removing the transformers allows for other voltages to be connected without making adjustments (220 V/50 Hz or 110V/60 Hz).

Other features include all-pole disconnection, a key-lock function, timer functions, residual heat display, and fast initial heat-up.

Suppliers mentioned in this article:
Seuffer GmbH and Co.
 

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