To Air or not to Air!

Bellows vs Electric? To air or not to air, that is the real question. Many users of foot and hand controls are probably not aware of the bellows version of both these product lines. Traditionally a hand control or footswitch has always had some type of electronic switches encased within it’s body. The beauty of the bellows model is there are no electronics inside the casings of these products, and the switches are remotely attached, commonly referred to as an airswitch. So whats the difference and who cares? Well for one thing you have the safety issue of no electronics inside the unit themselves and therefore presents no shock hazards or worries about cords getting pulled out and disconnecting from the internal switches. Lets not forget that rating these products for medical and other industries is a piece a cake. What are you going to rate inside the switch? Empty space? Air? There are no electronics inside these units to rate. The remote switches connected to these bellow models carry UL,CSA, and CE markings, pretty much everything that your standard wall switch would carry. Believe it or not this whole bellows concept started with the pool and spa industry so that a homeowner didn’t get lit up like a Christmas tree when he went to turn on his Spa in the dead of winter. The bottom line is that bellows are safe! Nobody is knocking electronics, in fact the pool and spa industry has gone back to electronic topsides controls for spas because the technology is 10 x better and safer than it was before and the voltage is extremely low going to these control panels.

We still sell a lot of bellows into older pool and spas as replacements but for the most part that technology has gone back to electronics, but we have found wonderful growth in other industries ranging from agriculture to medical for the bellows or “captive air” systems to operate everything from a dairy cattle gate to skin lasers. Just saying if you haven’t heard of bellows before you may want to give it another thought, the applications for this technology are endless. Take a look at the handcontrols in the picture on this post. The blue one is electric and the red one is air, and you would never know it by looking at them. However, if I was in an environment where the hand controls were constantly getting dropped, subject to wet environments, i.e. heavy wipe down areas – you may want to consider the bellows model.


Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

  1. Ian

    I come back to Royal Distributors for their great customer service. They are my go-to vendor for Herga products. Their quick replies to questions and quote requests make them a pleasure to work with

  2. Suzette

    Royal Distributors provided same day turn on my RFQ which is vital to my line of work. They are on the top of my list for Herga items. Thanks again Terry!

  3. Renee Towne

    I had an airswitch for a Kohler jet tub motor that needed replaced and Terry with Royal gave me excellent advice and recommended the proper replacement part. Thank you for all of your help Royal.

  4. Kristy

    Wonderful customer service!Terry is great to work with and provided prompt service. I look forward to working with him and Royal again!

  5. Michael Fernandes

    Amazing people, wonderful service, special thanks to Terry. Being a fully disabled but active person, it can be difficult to find and obtain equipment parts which, at times, just suddenly stop working. Supply companies are not always understanding or easy to get a response from. The hand controls to the patient-lift we use needed replacing urgently, and Terry & RDI, on the west coast, were a veritable rescue service to this Mass. east coast guy. Boundless gratitude to a company that other service providers should learn from and emulate.

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