Anti-vandal switch

Rugged performance, low-profile design

Anti-vandal switches are used in applications found everywhere in the public realm, often away from supervision or surveillance. The range of applications is vast and includes nearly everything from elevators and lifts to customer kiosks and security access systems.

Switches are one of the hardest working components in electronics. Unique among components, these devices are the crucial interface between the operator and the machine. Of all the categories of switches, there is one that must work even harder than most - the anti-vandal switch. Regardless the application, this type of switch must provide robust functionality, reliable performance, and rugged protection while also enabling simple installation and easy use. Above all else, these must provide rugged protection against deliberate attempts from unfriendly hands to tamper and damage the device.

anti-vandal switch on emergency call box
Anti-vandal switches feature low-profile designes to limit opportunities for damage.
anti-vandal switch on a crosswalk light
Anti-vandal switches are common in public spaces, such as crosswalks.

Most anti-vandal switches are available in circular, push-button designs. These are manufactured with stainless steel for the frame and actuator in the switch, providing a combination of mechanical strength and chemical resistance. As the part of the switch most exposed to harsh use, the actuator is typically shaped to limit opportunities for misuse and damage by would-be vandals to cause damage.


When engineered with a low-profile design, the actuator helps limit the spacing between the switch and the panel, which in turn helps minimize damage from screwdrivers or other slim tools while making access easier. Also known as vandal resistant switches, these switches are attached to a panel using a front-mounting technique, which further enhances the smooth exterior profile of the switch by hiding the fixing nut (known as the jam nut) safely behind the panel.


In most cases, anti-vandal switches are mounted in areas exposed to wind and rain, in applications such as exterior security systems. This means the switch must be manufactured with materials that will resist not only heavy use but also harsh elements. Using the right materials is crucial for long-term reliability in protecting the delicate electronics within equipment.

To achieve this, designers need to go beyond simple waterproofing. This involves develop solutions that protect the device against more sinister substances, such as strong adhesives or flammable liquids, both of which can damage equipment. There are other hazards they must also consider when developing the right type of switch for an application.

 

Choosing the right switch begins with understanding how actuators in anti-vandal switches are manufactured – in terms of fine tolerances, to limit or prevent liquids from entering the device. Switches can also use sealing materials that can withstand aggressive chemicals. In addition to delivering rugged protection and reliable performance, anti-vandal switches must offer an attractive, eye catching design. Since these switches are sometimes used in low-light areas, the design must help people understand how the controls work and what it controls.

 

At TE, we design and manufacture a robust assortment of anti-vandal switches built for reliability, to rigorous specifications, with an emphasis on user-friendly interfaces for easy operation, with materials that protect and optimize operational life.

Using the right materials is crucial for long-term reliability in protecting the delicate electronics within equipment.

Our anti-vandal switches are designed as a fit-and-forget solution. This is important for situations where the devices are exposed to potential harm and there is a need for better control to increase output.

 

For example, in harsh environments such as factories, our anti-vandal switches can provide continuous use under extreme conditions. In high-use technology such as elevators and electronic kiosks, these can provide reliability over time.

 

Because the costs associated with a failed piece of equipment can be high, and not only in terms of repair or replacement, but also in terms of unexpected downtime or delays in replacing faulty components, we developed a line of anti-vandal switches to perform as expected despite vibrations, fast-moving machinery, and corrosive liquids.

 

Browse our portfolio of anti-vandal switches – and find the right solution for your design.