Pickering Electronics is the relay division of the Pickering group of companies. Privately-owned, it manufactures in quality-accredited factories located in the UK and Czech Republic. Pickering Electronics has been designing, manufacturing and distributing reed relays for 50 years and supplies some of the smallest reed relays available. It also manufactures the largest range of reed relays on the market. Innovative and patented technologies, such as its SoftCenter technology, brings significant advantages over the usual hard moulded construction of reed relays.
Pickering reed relays are constructed using SoftCenter® technology, which uses a soft inner material to reduce stresses on the reed switch. In addition, contact life and more reliable contact resistance are achieved by using Former-less coil winding. Former-less coils are manufactured using a fully automated process that provides consistent output quality and repeatability. Former-less coil winding increases the winding “window” and brings a number of advantages to Pickering reed relays, including a much higher magnetic drive level and better magnetic coupling, due to the greater efficiency of smaller diameter inner turns (more turns per Ohm). The number of Ampere Turns (AT) is increased – Reed switches are usually rated in sensitivity by an Ampere Turn number, for example, an AT rating of 15AT is twice as sensitive as one with a 30AT. Because the 30AT switch needs more magnetic drive there is much more ‘restoring force’, which is the ability to open when the coil drive is turned off. This in turn extends the working life of the reed switch many times.
Pickering Electronics products are used in instrumentation, automatic test equipment, high voltage switching, low thermal EMF, direct drive from CMOS, RF switching and other specialist applications. Its product range is available in SMD, single in line, (SIL/DIP) dual in line (DIL/DIP) and many other popular package styles.
In the past year, Pickering Electronics introduced a number of new products including:
Industry’s smallest high voltage relay, the Series 131, with a footprint of just 12.5mm x 3.7mm and a height of 6.6mm, delivering a minimum stand-off of 1500V.
Pickering Series 131 miniature SIL reed relays utilise vacuumed, sputtered ruthenium reed switches which have a superb low level performance, making them an excellent choice where a wide range of signals are involved. The Series is based on its long-established Series 113 style of plastic package that incorporates an internal mu-metal magnetic screen to enable high packing density, and Pickering’s SoftCenter® construction which protects the reed switch. Featuring a choice of 3, 5 or 12 volt coils, with optional internal diode, Series 131 reed relays are available in the 1 Form A (energize to make) SPST N.O. configuration, and can switch up to 0.7 amps, 10 watts. Devices are ideal for cable testers, mixed signal/semiconductor testers, backplane testers, high voltage instrumentation, in-circuit test equipment or other HV applications.
The new high-density 10W 0.5 A Series 122 reed relay in 1 Form A SPST N.O. The internal mu-metal magnetic screen of this device allows ultra-high PCB packing density – the highest packing density currently available – and with a PCB footprint of only 4mm x 4mm, saves space and costs. It is ideal for applications that demand very high density such as ATE switching matrices or multiplexers.
In the past 12 months, Pickering Electronics has achieved a number of business milestones. Having celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2018, the company announced it had completed a refurbishment of its UK interfaces site. A complete revamp of its UK relay manufacturing facility was also commenced and is ongoing. A distribution deal was signed with US specialist distributor Testco, widening availability of its reed relays for ATE switching and semiconductor test in the US market. A distribution agreement was also recently made with Comcraft in Japan, and currently the company is widening business activities in the Indian market.

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