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Alps Electric is a large Japanese manufacturer of printed circuit board components, such as switches, encoders and connectors, as well as automotive electronics and entertainment equipment. The company was formed in 1948 under the name Kataoka Electric, and initially manufactured rotary switches. Shortly thereafter, production was expanded to include capacitors, potentiometers and tuners. In 1964 the company's name was changed to Alps Electric, and in 1966 it opened its first European office in Düsseldorf, Germany. Demonstrating the company’s dedication to quality and safety, Alps has ISO 9001-2008 certification as well as TS 16949-2009 automotive quality management certification. Alps Electric manufacture a range of PCB operating switches designed for mounting directly on PCB boards. These switches are typically rated for 50,000 operating cycles with a guaranteed minimum contact resistance to ensure reliable operation at voltages up to 12 volts DC. The PCB mounted rotary encoders can be used to determine the position of the shaft. Typically these have 15-20 detents per rotation and are ideal for controlling digital circuits, though a further option to perform the same function is the analogue potentiometer. These are available with linear or logarithmic scales suited to different applications such as position or offset control and volume control.

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