What Are Anti-Vandal Switches?
An anti-vandal switch is an electro-mechanical switch designed to be installed in devices and equipment where it is susceptible to harsh use, vandalism and theft, as well as to withstand extreme temperatures and be resistant to dust and moisture. Anti-vandal switches are also referred to as vandal-resistant, vandal-proof, tamper-resistant or tamper proof.
Demand for a switch designed with durability in mind developed in the early 1980s. ATMs and other equipment with public access to keyboards used standard computer keyboard buttons. This made them easy to vandalize by removing and rearranging the keys, which caused users to enter an incorrect password or number passcode, thus preventing access to a bank account or the proper function of a ticket kiosk. In some cases, key pads were missing all together, making the keyboard unrecognizable.
So, for security reasons and to avoid vandalism, keypads were designed with flat surface keys and panels that wouldn’t allow any access in between the actuator and switch body, nor would the design provide access under or behind the keys with sharp or metal tools. Today, the anti-vandal switch offers that same security in an individual switch to prevent vandalism.
How Do They Work?
The way an anti-vandal switch works depends on its design and construction, but here are some common features and mechanisms you might find in such switches:
Robust Enclosure: They’re typically housed in a robust and durable enclosure made of materials like stainless steel, aluminum or rugged plastic. This enclosure is designed to protect the internal components from external damage.
Sealed Construction: Many have a sealed construction that makes them resistant to dust, water and other environmental factors. They often have an IP (Ingress Protection) rating indicating their level of protection against these elements.
Tamper-Resistant Design: They’re designed to be tamper-resistant, which means they are difficult to damage or disable intentionally. This can involve reinforced casing, anti-pry features and secure mounting methods.
Momentary Action: Most operate using a momentary action mechanism. When the button or switch is pressed, it makes or breaks an electrical circuit for as long as it’s held down. When released, it returns to its original state.
Illumination: They often have built-in LED indicators that can be illuminated to provide feedback or status information. These indicators may be designed to resist damage or vandalism.
Security Key or Tool: Some require a special key or tool to operate, making it more challenging for unauthorized individuals to activate the switch.
High Actuation Force: These switches typically require a higher actuation force compared to standard switches, making it more difficult to activate them accidentally or through minor tampering.
Low Profile: Many have a low profile or flush-mount design, which reduces their vulnerability to physical impact.
Pros & Cons Of The Switch
The E-Switch Anti-Vandal series offers esthetically pleasing switches due to the quality housing materials and multi-illumination options in pattern style — ring, dot, power symbol, ring/power symbol combo, plus numerous choices in LED colors including bi-color and RGB. They also offer dust and moisture protection ratings of IP65 and IP67.
Not only durable to resist damage from sharp or heavy objects, the long-life expectancy of the anti-vandal series makes them excellent choices for high security locations, as well as harsh and rugged industrial-use environments.
When deciding if you need an anti-vandal switch, it’s important to consider that the actuation force required to press the switch might be a disadvantage in certain situations where it needs to be pressed frequently or by people with limited strength.
Installing anti-vandal switches can also be more complex than standard switches due to their specialized design, and using one that requires a special tool or key to operate could be a drawback in an emergency situation.
It’s essential to ensure that the switch you choose is suitable for your specific application and system requirements, so use E-Switch’s parametric search to find the best product to suit your needs.
What Are Anti-Vandal Switches Used For?
The specific design and operation of an anti-vandal switch can vary depending on the manufacturer and the intended application, but they’re typically used for: