ZF Electronics

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Cherry Corporation
Type Corporation
Industry Computer hardware,
Founded 1950s
Founders Walter Jay Cherry
Headquarters Auerbach i. d. Oberpf., Germany
Revenue 250 Mio. Euro (2007)
Employees 3,100
Website www.cherrycorp.com
www.cherry.de

ZF Electronics GmbH (formerly known as Cherry GmbH) is a German computer peripheral-device maker. The company has its roots in the USA.[citation needed] They also manufacture a large range of products including sensors, input devices and automotive modules. In 2008, Cherry GmbH was bought by ZF Friedrichshafen and as a result was renamed to ZF Electronics GmbH, now a subsidiary of ZF Friedrichshafen. However, they continue to sell products under the Cherry brand and the Cherry logo is still in use.

A keyboard by Cherry
Production facility in Bayreuth

History[edit]

Cherry was founded by Walter Cherry in 1953 in the basement of a Highland Park, Illinois restaurant. With the passing of its founder, his son Peter took over the ownership of the organization. The headquarters of the company were moved to Auerbach in der Oberpfalz, Germany in 1979. Cherry has been manufacturing keyboards since 1967. The company claims to be the oldest keyboard manufacturer in the world that is still in business.[1]

The company maintains production facilities in Europe (most notably in Bayreuth, Germany), Asia as well as the Americas. All products are designed and developed at the company's headquarters in Auerbach in der Oberpfalz. Additional offices can be found in the UK, Italy, France, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, Australia and others, with distributors in most major countries.

In 2008, Cherry was bought by ZF Friedrichshafen AG and completely incorporated as the ZF Electronics GmbH Corporate Division. The Cherry brand continues to be used.

Among widely known products of Cherry are its line of "MX" and "ML" model key switches that have been used in industrial electronics and Point Of Sale environments since their inception in the 80s, but more recently (~2008) have been employed by numerous manufacturers of consumer PC keyboards.

Today, the Cherry brand name of ZF Electronics Corporation is used in four market divisions:

Cherry switches in consumer keyboards (circa 2014)[edit]

Cherry MX switches in an opened mechanical keyboard
Cherry MX switches — Cherry MX Blue closed (left) and Cherry MX Brown, opened (right).

Cherry MX switches were developed and patented in the early 1980s (U.S. Patent 4,467,160) and first marketed around 1985. In the consumer keyboard market, Cherry MX switches are often referenced by the color of the key stem -- the part of the switch below the keycap that moves downward when pressed.[2] Most common Cherry MX switches are:

  • Linear
    • Cherry MX Black
    • Cherry MX Red
    • Cherry MX Grey*
  • Tactile, non-clicky
    • Cherry MX Brown
    • Cherry MX Clear
    • Cherry MX Grey*
  • Tactile and clicky
    • Cherry MX Blue
    • Cherry MX Green
    • Cherry MX White
    • Cherry MX Grey*

[*Cherry MX Grey Switches can be found in Linear, Tactile, and Clicky variants. Given their use primarily in large keys like spacebars, the feel is selected to match that of the other keys on the board.]

There are other types of switches like Cherry MX Green and Grey used for larger keys (spacebar, shift, return, etc.). Cherry MX green switches were compared with buckling spring switches from the IBM Model M keyboard.[3] Cherry switches have lifespan of up to 50 million actuations depending on switch type.[4] Force needed to actuate the switch can vary depending on the switch type.

Switch type Clicky Tactile Actuation force Product code
Cherry MX Black No No 60 cN MX1A-11xx
Cherry MX Red No No 45 cN MX1A-L1xx
Cherry MX Brown No Yes 45 cN MX1A-G1xx
Cherry MX Clear No Yes 65 cN MX1A-C1xx
Cherry MX Blue Yes Yes 50 cN MX1A-E1xx
Cherry MX White Yes Yes 50 cN / 80 cN MX1A-A1xx
Cherry MX Green Yes Yes 80 cN MX1A-F1xx

Awards[edit]

In 2008 the production facility in Bayreuth received the Bayerischer Qualitätspreis 2008 award.[5] On end of 2006 Cherry received the Automotive Lean Production Award of the German economy magazine Automobil-Produktion. In 2005, the Cherry GmbH in Auerbach was able the claim Industrial Excellence Award as best European industrial facility.

References[edit]

  1. ^ cherry.de - Über Cherry
  2. ^ "Cherry MX". Deskthority wiki. 2013-09-06. Retrieved 2013-09-11. 
  3. ^ Kowaliski, Cyril (2013-03-07). "A first look at Cherry's MX green key switches - Eat your heart out, buckling springs". techreport.com. Retrieved 2014-01-07. In both feel and specifications, though, the greens are closer to the buckling spring switches of IBM's iconic Model M keyboards. That makes them uniquely appealing to old-school geeks. 
  4. ^ "Cherry MX". deskthority.net. 2014-06-05. Retrieved 2014-06-05. Long life 20–50 million operations (depending on switch variant) 
  5. ^ Bayerischer Qualitätspreis 2008 (german)

External links[edit]