What is an enabling switch, and what is its purpose?
An enabling switch is a 3-position switch that functions in an OFF-ON-OFF fashion as it is depressed. This type of switch was developed for the robotics industry and is used on many teaching pendants. It is designed to ensure that a device (i.e. the robot) is only enabled as long as there is a very deliberate action on the part of the operator, such as holding the pushbutton half way down. If the operator panics and either squeezes or lets go of the switch, the circuit will open and the load will be shut down. IDEC is one of few manufacturers who make such a switch. Models range from a basic single contact to multiple redundant contacts with additional monitoring functionality packaged into a molded hand held "grip switch".