Monday, 20 May 2019

An Introduction to the Applications and Components of a Pilot Device

Components of a Pilot Device

Components of a Pilot DeviceA pilot device is a device that functions as the indicator and controller of a process of an operator. It refers to a family of related products including pushbuttons, pilot lights, stack lights, signal beacons, toggle switches, selector switches, and more.

Applications of a Pilot Device

The device communicates information in two ways – from a human operator to a machine or vice versa. You’ll find their frequent uses in industrial and commercial fields where a human-to-machine interface is needed.

Some of the industries where the devices are used are:

  1. Packaging, transporting, storing, and distribution of material handling
  2. Manufacturing of heavy equipment, glass, plastics, automotive
  3. Marine and aviation industries
  4. Packaging and distribution of food and beverage
  5. HVAC(R)
  6. Mining, extracting, refining, and processing of oil and gas
  7. Mining, refining, processing, and forming of metals

Also, the devices have their uses in scores of other commercial applications.

Functions of a Pilot Device in a Motor Control Circuit

A motor control circuit primarily uses two types of components – primary control devices and pilot control devices.

A primary control device such as a motor starter does the job of connecting a load to the line whereas a pilot control device controls or modulates the primary control devices. For example, a toggle switch (a pilot device) can control a magnetic contactor (a primary control device). The switch closes the main line contacts and energizes the contactor coil when it is “ON” and vice versa when it is “OFF.”

Components of Pilot Devices

The shapes and sizes of pilot devices depend on their functions and applications. They are primarily designed for the global (IEC) and North American Market (NEMA).

Check out some common pilot devices and their applications:

Flush Pushbutton

Such a pushbutton requires direct pressure on the operator surface for its operation. It reduces the possibility of accidental activation of a device.

Extended Pushbutton

An extended pushbutton is used in a control panel for controlling and modulating the most important of commands. It is easily accessible because it has a height bigger than other pushbuttons.

Mushroom Pushbutton

Such devices are frequently used for emergency controls. They provide a larger push area that facilitates an effortless activation.

Components of a Pilot DeviceIlluminated Pushbutton

It does the job of both an indicator and a controller, thereby saves space and cost.

Double Pushbutton

Just like the illuminated push button, it also combines the functions of two operators into one 22 mm position on a panel.

Selector Switch

A selector switch does the job of managing more than one command in a single control device. It is also used when any application requires a custom control option.

Keyed Selector Switch

Such a switch is used to tackle safety-related issues such during the lockdown of a machine for maintenance purpose.

Emergency Stop

It helps an operator to reset a control function.


The device does the function of regulating the amount of voltage sent to a machine.