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Impact switches are components that detect and trigger a response to force. They are used in many different devices and systems for a range of purposes. Some of the most common uses of impact switches are as triggering devices in munitions and as part of crash detection and emergency alert systems in various aerospace and automotive applications. When an abrupt force impacts an object along a specific sensory axis, a number of different responses can be trigged. Most custom switch manufacturers also carry plenty of stock of the standard type switches. 
 

Impact switches are similar to crush switches but are somewhat more complex. As a result, they provide tighter activation parameters and allow for more customization. Crush switches will also only respond to triggers in a single direction, whereas impact switches will respond to stimuli across multiple axes. They can be configured as linear, planar, or omnidirectional switches.

These switches are normally open and are non-latching. A sudden force will cause the switch’s circuit to close, which can trigger a mechanism, but as they are non-latching, the circuit will not remain closed one the stimuli stops or is removed. 

Impact switches are used in some commercial and industrial applications for purposes of responding to crashes, collisions, or drops. In the event of such an upset, an emergency alert, automatic shutdown, or other response is triggered. Impact switches are also used in many defense and aerospace systems. Impact switch manufacturers that provide such products will frequently use highly-conductive, heavy-duty materials in the construction of the switch. Gold plated connectors provide enhanced conductivity and nickel housing is highly resistant in a range of environments.

What does an impact switch do?

An impact switch will trigger a response when an object comes into contact with an abrupt force. They are commonly used as crash detection devices in automotive, industrial, and aerospace applications, and for detonation systems in munitions and other military technology. Depending upon how an impact switch is configured, it will respond to force along a single axis, a plane, or across an omnidirectional zone.  

What is the difference between an impact switch and a crush switch?

An impact switch shares a few features with a crush switch. They are both used in systems that must respond to an abrupt force. They are normally-open switches that respond when an impact causes a circuit to close. 

There are also a few differences between them. Crush switches only sense impact in a single or unidirectional configuration. They are far simpler in construction compared to impact switches and do not allow for as much customization or as precise activation parameters. Impact switches are more complex and can be configured to be linear, planar, or omnidirectional. Impact switches are also non-latching and will not remain closed once the force stops or is removed. Crush switches are latching and will remain closed once they have been activated.   

Are impact switches and disturbance switches the same thing? 

Impact switches and disturbances switches are different types of sensor components. Impact switches are meant to trigger a response when an object comes into contact with an abrupt force. They are used in crash detection devices, emergency alert systems, and detonation mechanisms. Impact switches are integrated into a range of aerospace and defense equipment, as well as industrial, automotive, and commercial machinery.

Disturbance switches are more often used in industrial and commercial systems when a response to vibration, tremor, or shock is required. They are also sometimes used in defense and aerospace equipment, but they are more commonly used as tamper detection devices and vibration sensors. Both disturbance and impact switches are non-latching and can be configured as unidirectional, planar, and omnidirectional.