Mechanical Counters Information

Mechanical counterMechanical counters are used to detect, totalize, and indicate a sequence of events in applications that do not use electrical power.


There are four basic types of products:

  • revolution counters
  • rotary counters
  • stroke counters
  • pushbutton, or manual, counters

Revolution counters are mechanical counters that record one count for each revolution of a shaft. Rotary counters are designed to record a specified number of counts per rotation. Stroke counters record one count for each stroke. Typically, the count stroke is measured in degrees. With rotary ratchet counters, a type of stroke counter, an internal spring returns the shaft or lever to its original position. Pushbutton counters are used for manual counting. The pushbutton is actuated by the operator and typically records one count for each actuation. Most pushbutton counters, or manual counters, are handheld devices. Other unlisted, specialized, or proprietary mechanical counters are also available.


Mechanical counters differ in terms of reset style, number of digits, and special features. Some mechanical counters cannot be reset by the user. Others can be reset with a manual knob or lock and key. Products that reset automatically after reaching a predetermined count are also available. Most auto-reset devices are user-programmable. The number of digits refers to the total number of digits in the display. Typically, this determines the counting range. In terms of features, mechanical counters may be able to perform both counting and timing functions, or sound an audible alarm. Products that are equipped with double shafts can have left and right extensions for separate left and right inputs, or a dual shaft on one side for dual inputs. Specialized mechanical counters may use a dial indicator in place of rotating digits. 


Mechanical counters are used in a variety of industries and applications. Pushbutton counters are used in traffic surveys, inventory control applications, and point-of-sale (POS) transactions. Stroke counters are used in copy machines, printing presses, cut-off machines, and part-counting applications. Revolution counters can be used with material handling equipment, rapid transit vehicles, street sweepers, farm machinery, carts for recreational use, and construction equipment. Mechanical counters are also used in gaming machines, vending machines, and depth-flow meters. 

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ArmoldReinhold / CC BY-SA 3.0


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