Design & Manufacturing Of All Types Of Acceleration, Impact, Disturbance & Tilt Switches
In various industrial applications, switches are sensory devices that are used to detect and respond when a specific type of force is imposed on a system or object. The switch will cause a circuit to either open or close, which can then trigger any number of responses. As electronic devices, they can be simple or quite complex and can be manufactured to many unique specifications and for all manner of applications.
Switches will often have a set sensory range. This refers to the detection area of the switch. The most basic sensory configuration is shown in a unidirectional switch, which detects and responds to stimuli across a single direction. Horizontal or planar switches will detect stimuli across an axis. Omnidirectional switches will sense force in all directions.
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Switches may be latching or non-latching. A switch that latches means that the circuit remains closed and the response continues even after the triggering event has ceased or the force has been removed. A non-latching switch will open again and the response will stop after the triggering force stops.
Depending upon the application, a commercial, off-the-shelf product may be suitable. There are also dedicated switch manufacturers that custom cater sensory components to the requirements of an individual system. Aerospace and military OEMs will often rely on switch manufacturers rather than a commercial supplier to provide options for highly complex or critical applications.
There are general categories of switches that also indicate their function. Some of the most common types of industry-specific switches include:
Acceleration Switches: Acceleration switches sense abrupt changes in velocity and can trigger a response once speed increases or drops to a specific preset defined by g-force. These switches are often compared to inertia switches. While they both respond to abrupt changes in acceleration, inertia switches are specific to fuel-pump shutdowns in automobiles. Acceleration switches are used in a wider range of applications, including aboard aerospace safety systems and as part of arming devices in munitions.
Disturbance Switches: Disturbance switches are also known as motion detection switches and vibration switches. They respond to an abrupt force or displacement of an object. Disturbance switches are incorporated into tamper-detection devices, munitions, and other systems.
Tilt Switches: Tilt switches, or tip-over switches, will respond when an object is tilted beyond a specific preset angle. They are used in roll-over alert systems, safe arming devices, and other equipment to ensure proper handling and that an object remains in a static or upright position. Mercury was used in the construction of these switches but that element has since been replaced with ball-bearings, otherwise known as mercury-free tilt switches.
Impact Switches: Impact switches will trigger a response when an object is struck by an abrupt force or impact. They are used in crash detection, detonation, and other systems that need to respond to direct and sudden contact with another object.
Crush Switches: Crush switches respond to a sudden force or impact. They are similar to impact switches, but they are simpler in construction and latching. The circuit of the switch is closed as the housing or can of the switch is crushed. Crush switches are fairly standardized, although their performance can be modified by lengthening the switch’s can.