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Supplier Profile: Schmersal

Open, close. Lock, unlock. On, off. Within industrial operations, the seemingly simple action of a switch has the power to keep a production line humming, prevent a potentially disastrous equipment accident or failure, or even save a life. With automated systems continuing to grow in scope and sophistication, so does awareness of the importance of tools and processes to support safe operations for both people and machines. Enter Schmersal and its over 18,000 different switching devices. As an international, market-leading innovator and manufacturer of controls for safety applications, including pushbuttons, switches, indicators, sensors, and other safety control accessories, Schmersal has been at the forefront of safety solutions for over 75 years.

Generational Commitment to Safety and Operational Excellence

The history behind the Schmersal brand began with two brothers, Kurt Andreas and Ernst Schmersal, who co-founded the company in 1945 in the industrial city of Wuppertal, Germany, where the company continues to be headquartered. During its early years, the company initially manufactured elevator parts and added mechanical switching devices to production soon after.

As the company grew, so did its focus on safety applications. As industries trended toward ever more intensive automation over the latter half of the twentieth century, Schmersal’s products were there to support that evolution, including the development of the first contactless magnetic switch in 1969. Over the subsequent decades, the company experienced growth as marked by the opening of additional facilities in Germany, China, Brazil, and India, as well as through acquisitions.

Today, the company maintains seven operating sites on three continents, has subsidiaries and sales partners in more than 60 countries, and has grown its global workforce to approximately 1,900 employees. Schmersal USA has been active for 25 years and includes a 16,000 square foot warehouse facility in Indianapolis as well as administrative offices in Valhalla, NY. The Schmersal Group is currently led by the third generation in CEO Philip Schmersal and services industries that include elevators and escalators, packaging, food processing, intralogistics, robotics, machine tools, heavy industry, and automotive.

Safety Switching Devices for a Range of Applications

Schmersal’s products include safety interlocks, industrial switches, position sensors, and related control accessories that support safe operations and prevent machines from operating in hazardous or unsafe conditions.

One line of products offered through AutomationDirect are Schmersal’s limit switches, electromagnetic devices that are designed to limit the range of travel of an object. And detect the position of a product in a machine cycle or conveyor

A simple example of a limit switch application would be one applied to a moving object such as a garage door that causes it to stop once it reaches a fully open or fully closed position. In today’s industrial settings, limit switches have numerous uses and state-of-the-art technology integrations. Reliability and durability are crucial for these devices and Schmersal switches are designed with a mechanical life of millions of operations and able to accommodate thousands of operations per hour.

Another category of products are Schmersal’s pushbuttons. During highly automated commercial and industrial operations, emergency stop pushbuttons are a critical protection mechanism for personnel and equipment, enabling fast and effective cessation of machine operation to avoid a potentially dangerous or destructive situation.

As a final example, Schmersal applies intuitive design and thoughtful material selection to its line of control and signaling devices, such as the IP69K rated joystick that bears resemblance to a video game controller. These devices are used for food processing, pharmaceutical and medical applications while their compliance with cleaning requirements helps prevent cross contamination.

Future technologies are constantly underway at Schmersal’s research and development department, which consists of more than 100 employees across six facilities. With an ear tuned to the voice of the customer, a working environment that supports creativity, and a collaborative network of international institutions, ideas receive the support they need to grow.

Walking the Talk on Safety

Schmersal’s top to bottom focus on the safety of people and machines is reflected in their tagline: “Safety is our DNA” and further illustrated by the company’s dedicated tec.nicum safety training and engineering services center which opened in 2007. At tec.nicum, customers can access not only safety training, but a range of consulting and engineering services as well as safety system integrations.

The company earned accreditation from International Accreditors for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) for its training programs in 2022 and offers a calendar of learning events focused on machine safety that qualify for continuing education units. The company further supports product and safety education through webinars, regular newsletters and a machine safety magazine,, that is published twice a year. Turning to its own operations, the company has implemented a SAFER Workplace initiative that reinforces a safety mindset and works to reduce the potential for work-related accidents and injuries.  

A Mission and Values-Driven Workforce

Schmersal’s stated mission is to provide their customers with “safe, reliable and innovative solutions oriented towards ensuring the safety of man and machine” and includes a dedication to customer success and a spirit of continuous improvement. Built on the company’s family-centric foundation, Schmersal’s values prioritize safety, collaboration, excellence, solutions-orientation, people and the planet. The successful integration of mission and values across the organization is reflected in the company’s continued growth and engaged workforce, which includes many second generation Schmersal employees. The company’s focus on its people has also helped Schmersal achieve awards for workplace satisfaction and management culture.

“At Schmersal, we have always believed that safety and productivity can and should work shoulder to shoulder. As we match pace with sophisticated digital technologies and other leading-edge developments, our solutions reflect the needs of tomorrow while maintaining the same commitment to safety of people and machines,” said Gary Ferguson, Managing Director. In a fast-evolving industrial landscape, Schmersal is positioned to anticipate and respond while staying true to its legacy. While the operation of a switch can by design cause machine movement to stop, at Schmersal, the spirit of safety, innovation, sustainability, and collaboration work to constantly move the company forward.