An Inside Look On How Reed Switches Are Manufactured


[York] wrote in to share a video he stumbled across while researching reed switches and relays, which documents the tightly controlled process through which they are produced. Like many other electronic components out there, we usually don’t give a lot of thought to how they are made, especially when the final cost is relatively small.

For something often taken for granted, the process is an incredibly precise one, requiring a clean room environment the entire way through. The video follows the production line from beginning to end, including the soft annealing of the contacts to remove magnetic remanence, the sputtering process that applies sub-micron thick conductive coatings to the contacts, through the laser cutting and sealing of the glass tubes that make up the body of the switch.

At the end of the day, the video is little more than a manufacturer’s promotional video, but it’s worth the 8 minutes it takes to watch it, if only to satisfy your curiosity as to how they are made.


14 thoughts on “An Inside Look On How Reed Switches Are Manufactured

  1. fascinating, always wondered about that.

    In case anyone is curious, reed switches are still often used on bicycle speedos due to the zero power requirement.
    They are also used on some electronic chess/draughts/etc sets, and for industrial applications where a reliable switch is needed that can withstand harsh environments.

  2. I believe many flip phones and slide phones use reed switches sometimes triggered by the magnet in the speaker.

    I would like to know how much these specific reed switches cost. I would also like to know what the failure rate of the production process is.

    1. Phones used to use Reed switches but nowadays only use hall effect sensors. The Ericsson T10 and T18 that I used to work on utilized minature reed switches to sense the flip being opened and closed but this is just not the case any more. You can get hall affect sensors in 0402 and possibly smaller sizes. A 4mm glass tube cannot be compared and believe it or not are nowadays harder to solder than a 0402 due to their large size and rounded body.

  3. Hmm, wonderful. I’ve always wondered how they made them that small. Now I know. I agree with Nardella, I’d like to know more about these witches specifically. I use reed switches in projects from time to time, and usually like to get the best quality I can.

  4. (Can’t directly reply to randomdude for some reason)
    Reed switches have the nice property of being switches and so can be used with almost no power draw from a battery/accumulator.

  5. It’s always interesting to see how a lot of our technological components are made, what’s more information similar to the video shows us how we can make/hack our own components our own way, despite the strict protocols used in manufacturing components in large plants, we don’t have to follow such protocols to get the same results, making the special protocols found in manufacturing obviously just for quality [assurance]akin to a magflaslight and a homemade flashlight, for example.

  6. Wow. I’ll break my reed switches with more respect from now on.

    They’re common in model railroads for detecting magnets hidden in the track or to time the chuff sound on steam models.

    Somehow, any time I have to work on one in a loco, I break the silly thing and have to put in a new one.

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