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Supplier Profile: MERZ Schaltgeräte’s Top-Quality Switches

Satisfy customers. Produce high quality, reliable switches.

Continuously improve and align. Seventy-five years ago, Gustav Merz put these key values in place when he began manufacturing electrical switches in Gaildorf, Germany, in a building on his own property. These critical cornerstones formed the foundation of success that has propelled his company – MERZ Switchgear – forward in size, scope, and product offering.

Merz Headquarters
MERZ Headquarters

“The most important objective we have is to maintain the trust Mr. Merz started,” said Uli Hönig, from MERZ Marketing.  “He created the pillars that carry our corporate philosophy: Systematic care and promotion of exchange of ideas with our customers; Integration of our customers as partners in a solid and successful team; Optimal lean organizational structures that provide proximity to customers or users of our products and to our suppliers; High level of quality; and a constant willingness to innovate. Consistently aligning our actions with these guiding principles is the basis for our customer solutions and a reliable promise for the future.”

In short, MERZ knows that clients rely on its switches to keep production lines and operations running smoothly and does everything it can to ensure they are not disappointed. It also partners with customers to understand their specific applications and needs.

Innovating High-Quality Products from the Start

Merz began producing switches on October 1, 1946. Just seven years later, despite the challenges of that post-war period, the company had grown to 30 employees who made a wide range of 15-to-100-amp switches. In the early 1960s, the company added motor protecting switches and power-distributions made of sheet metal and cast-iron enclosures to its line of products. In the mid-1960s, it expanded its production facility, started the first serial production of assemblies for construction sites, and added testing technology panels to its product range.

“We have been known for our high-quality switches and solutions from the beginning,” Hönig said. “We have continued that focus throughout the years, as Mr. Merz would have wanted.”

In 1972, Mr. Merz passed away, and his daughter Ursula Scholler took over leadership of the company. She ran the company until the mid-1980s, then her husband took over the leadership until 1990 when MERZ became part of Schupa GmbH, which later became Gewiss Germany. In 2005, PC Electric bought MERZ. 

Expansion Around the World

Today, MERZ Schaltgeräte is a subsidiary of the PCE Group, a global provider of high-quality electrical switches, industrial plugs and sockets, and distribution boxes. MERZ offers a diversified product range of low-voltage switchgear which includes enclosed and open cam and compact switches for direct and alternating current applications. The products are known for their reliability, even in the most difficult applications and environmental conditions.

“Companies around the world use our switches, including those in mechanical engineering, air conditioning, ventilation technology, underground mining, food machinery manufacturing, elevator companies, and the photovoltaic industry,” Hönig said. “They value our expertise and quality, and we take their trust in us and our products seriously.”

AutomationDirect sells a variety of MERZ products, including:

MERZ compact and cam switches are sold in more than 50 countries and are assembled at two locations within the European Union. Its research and development, quality management, and production planning teams are in southern Germany next to Stuttgart. The company has 120 employees.

“We develop and design the switches using 3-D CAD systems which let us align quickly to market and customer demands,” Hönig said. “We also conduct a 100% final inspection of switches at all assembly sites. We make sure our products meet the high requirements of national and international certification institutes.”

High-Quality Switches to Meet Many Needs

MERZ offers six categories of switches: Repair and Maintenance Switches, DC Switches, Compact Switches, Cam Switches, UVR Switches, and Industry-specific Solutions. It also produces freely configurable switches with technically sound solutions to meet customized requirements needs.

Repair and Maintenance Switches

These switches are used to safely shut down machines and facilities that are not directly connected to a control unit or may bear the risk that the machine or facility starts operating during maintenance or repair activities. The handle on these switches must be lockable by interlocks to prevent workers from hazardous situations and must meet the same requirements as main switches according to EN 60204.

DC Switches

These switches disconnect DC loads and are used in photovoltaics field. The product range includes a series that can safely carry a current of 10A to 160A and safely switch off and disconnect generator open circuit voltages up to 1500VDC. The switches are available for front and bottom mounting and are approved by IEC 60947-1 / -3, CCC and UL508i.

Compact Switches

The term “compact switch” commonly describes a design of disconnect switches. It is about On-Off switches arranged for switchboard installation. In most cases, the switches are used for snap-on DIN rail mounting, base mounting, or front mounting in the door. The terminal screws are accessible from one side and are situated in line of the conduct. The basic series ML0 is used in applications from 16A to 32A. The ML1 to ML3 series range from 25A to 125A, and the high-performance ML4 – ML7 series range from 125A to 630A.

Cam Switches

According to their contact arrangement, these switches are fitted with switching chambers with one, two or three (series 111 only) double interrupted conduct paths. Each path has two firmly seated terminals and one mobile contact bridge which is guided by a plunger. The contact bridge is positively opened by the cam and closed by a spring. The indexing device is available in different torques and four switching angles. The finger proof Cam Switches are equipped with screws with captive screw heads. All terminals are fitted with screwdriver guiding, funnel-shaped cable entries, and in chamber like design. Cable end stops assure the correct insertion depth.

UVR Switches

These switches are available for a power range from 32A -63A. They are electromechanical devices which automatically shut down when the supply voltage falls below a certain value. At that point, the handle moves to the OFF position and the switch opens its contacts (release-free) even though the handle is eventually blocked. Undervoltage switches are required in many countries, especially for machines with rotating tools.

Industry-Specific Solutions

These switches are available for a power range from 10A – 125A. They are freely configurable due to their modular principle and can be adapted to virtually any customer requirement, including motor protective circuit breakers, voltage changeover switches for generators, mains changeover switches, bypass switches, and more.

MERZ works with its partners to showcase its highly sought-after products and solutions at 15 trade shows in Germany, Australia, Brazil, China, Columbia, Mexico, and the United States. One application the company highlights is how its DC switches are used in battery-powered automated guided vehicles in smart factories.

“Our DC switches help protect lives and equipment in manufacturing environments that rely on automated machines,” Hönig said. “They feature a compact design, very fast shut off times, and have a long-life span. They are also virtually maintenance-free, making them a favorite for many factory applications.”

Looking to the Future

MERZ aims to continue its long-standing tradition of satisfying customers, producing high quality and reliable switches, and improving its products. Earlier this year, the company redesigned its website to make it even easier for viewers – whether they are current or potential customers or vendors – to quickly and easily understand MERZ’s core competencies and its entire range of switchgear services. The company also intends to continue working with customers to ensure its products meet their current and future needs.

“It’s wonderful to work at MERZ and help so many customers throughout the world with their switch and application needs,” Hönig said. “We believe that Mr. Merz would be proud of how we have built on the foundation and pillars he created in order to collaborate with and serve customers.”

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