ZF Electronics

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Cherry Corporation
Corporation
Industry Computer hardware,
Founded 1950s
Founder Walter Jay Cherry
Headquarters Auerbach i. d. Oberpf., Germany
Revenue 250 Mio. Euro (2007)
Number of 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.[1] 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 company's headquarters were moved to Auerbach in der Oberpfalz, Germany in 1979. Cherry has manufactured keyboards since 1967, and claims to be the oldest keyboard manufacturer still in business.[2]

Cherry maintains production facilities in Europe (most notably in Bayreuth, Germany), Asia, and the Americas. All of its products are designed and developed at the company's headquarters in Auerbach in der Oberpfalz. It also has offices in the UK, Italy, France, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, Australia and other locations, with distributors in most major countries.

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

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

Today, the Cherry brandname 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.[3] 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.]

Other types of Cherry MX switches, such Green and Grey, are used for larger keys (spacebar, Shift, Enter, etc.). The feel of Cherry MX green switches are often compared to that of the "buckling spring" switches on original IBM Model M keyboards.[4] Cherry switches have lifespan of up to 50 million actuations, depending on switch type.[5]

The auditory and tactile nature of each switch, and the amount of force needed to actuate it, vary depending on the switch type:

Switch type Clicky Tactile Linear Actuation force Tactile force Product code
Cherry MX Black No No Yes 60 cN N/A MX1A-11xx
Cherry MX Red No No Yes 45 cN N/A MX1A-L1xx
Cherry MX Brown No Yes No 45 cN 55 cN MX1A-G1xx
Cherry MX Clear No Yes No 55 cN 65 cN MX1A-C1xx
Cherry MX Blue Yes Yes No 50 cN 60 cN MX1A-E1xx
Cherry MX White Yes Yes No 50 cN / 70 cN 60 cN / 80 cN MX1A-A1xx
Cherry MX Green Yes Yes No 70 cN 80 cN MX1A-F1xx

Awards[edit]

In 2008, Cherry's production facility in Bayreuth received the Bayerischer Qualitätspreis 2008 award.[6] At the end of 2006, Cherry received the Automotive Lean Production Award of the German economy magazine Automobil-Produktion. In 2005, Cherry GmbH in Auerbach received the Industrial Excellence Award as best European industrial facility.

References[edit]

  1. ^ - About Cherry
  2. ^ cherry.de - Über Cherry
  3. ^ "Cherry MX". Deskthority wiki. 2013-09-06. Retrieved 2013-09-11. 
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ "Cherry MX". deskthority.net. 2014-06-05. Retrieved 2014-06-05. Long life 20–50 million operations (depending on switch variant) 
  6. ^ Bayerischer Qualitätspreis 2008 (german)

External links[edit]