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.