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Safety Switches

There is a major difference between Safety Switches and Isolator Switches. Safety Switches are designed to break 8 times the rated full load current, for example a 25A AC23 safety switch will break 200A and continue to work correctly. Isolator Switches are designed to act purely as an isolator and should only be switched when there is no current flowing in the circuit.
Safety Switches have three different ratings AC21, AC22 and AC23. AC 21 rating is for switching resistive loads. AC 22 rating is for switching mixed resistive and inductive loads. AC 23 rating is for switching motors and other highly inductive loads.
A motor, when switched on, can have a start up current of up to 8 times its normal running current and hence the requirement of a Safety Switch rating of 8 times the AC23 rated current.
The other feature required of a Safety Switch is that the handle must be able to accept 3 padlocks in the 'OFF' position. This is to ensure the safety of personnel on that circuit, so that they can switch the Safety Switch 'OFF' and then up to 3 people can fit their own padlock to ensure that nobody else can switch it on by mistake.
Safety Switches can be enclosed in plastic, steel or stainless steel enclosures, depending upon customer application.

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