Product development must consider enclosure access management. Multiple methods exist for granting or denying enclosure access. Usually, a panel and frame are joined with a latching or locking mechanism to separate the user from the enclosure’s contents. All latches close a door or panel. Actuation and mounting differ between latch types. Accessibility, security, environment, and other design factors can affect which latch to use. Engineers can design better products by knowing the different latch types.
First, define a latch. Everybody uses latches. Latch handles are everywhere, from kitchen cabinet doors to car hatchbacks. A latch joins two surfaces while allowing or restricting access to an enclosure’s interior.
The application determines the complexity of latches. When designing a latch, engineers should consider the following types. Different applications require different latches.
Simple and inexpensive cam latches are available for use by engineers. The body of this latch is fastened to a revolving door or panel; the cam lever operates with a stationary panel. To lock the swinging door or panel, the cam must rotate behind the stationary one. It takes a hand or a tool to turn the cam lever. The hairdo can lock for extra safety. Locking mechanisms for cabinets, drawers and other enclosures are cam levers. Zinc and stainless steel are both acceptable materials for cam latches.
A compression latch has a body and cam lever that can be rotated by hand or tool, similar to a cam latch. A compression latch’s cam clamps the two surfaces together. The compression force between the two panels prevents vibration or rattling and compresses a gasket to seal out dust and moisture. This protects machinery from external damage, reduces maintenance costs, and extends its life. You can also buy compression latch in a wide variety of choices.
Draw latches and use tension to pull two planes together. This latch has two parts. The first piece is an operating mechanism attached to one panel. The second panel will have the keeping mechanism mounted. Lever-keeper connection creates tension. Draw latches to reduce vibration and compress. Draw latches are externally mounted on engine hoods to HVAC equipment due to their simplicity. Draw latches may be the most cost-effective solution for engineers designing simple applications.
A sliding latch has a body that can slide or rotate and a stationary keeper. The surfaces are secured when the rotating or sliding piece moves in front of the stable piece. Slide latches that withstand vibration can be produced. Usually, manual operation is used. Depending on the application and load, sliding latches are available in a variety of styles and materials.
Indoor applications have fewer requirements than outdoors. Engineers won’t need to worry about UV rays and rain for indoor latches. Engineers can choose plastic or zinc latches to reduce costs. Indoor security may be lower than outdoors. Interior access control needs may require non-locking latches.
Mechanical Or Magnetic Latching
Engineers must also consider latching. Some latches secure the door, cabinet, or panel mechanically or magnetically. Some latches are electronic and don’t require direct actuation.
Visible Or Hidden Latches
The end user’s needs and operating environment will determine a hidden or visible latch. Visible latches are used when the user must see them to open them. For security, latches can be hidden behind a door or panel. Hidden latches allow for clean, uninterrupted surfaces, which can improve the look of a refrigerator door or gaming machine.
Engineers should work with an experienced supplier to choose the right latch. The chosen latch should allow or deny users enclosure access. Choosing the right latch type affects application performance and user perception. A car owner will appreciate a high-quality glovebox latching solution. This can improve their overall vehicle perception.