Safety Interlock Switches

Safety Interlock Switches are a machinery safety device which monitor the position of a guard or a gate. They can be used to shut off the power, control personnel access and prevent the machinery from starting when the guard is open. The operator must follow a predetermined sequence in selecting keys, locks or switches otherwise the machinery will not work. Not only does this prevent industrial accidents but it prevents damage to the machine too. Most rely on an electromechanical switch to work. Some of the different types of safety interlock switches are keyed or tongue, hinged interlocks and manually-operated bolt interlocks. They also differ in their actuators. The sensor which recognises that the machine is not being used correctly could be mechanical or it could use infrared beams or photodetectors. Safety interlocks switches have a number of industrial uses especially for machines which operate at high speed or pressure such as high inertia rotating machines. These are particularly hazardous since disconnecting the power does not immediately stop the rotations. For domestic use, washing machines and blenders also contain this safety mechanism. Lifts also use this device to prevent accidents involving the doors.

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