Control grips are handles or similar devices with built-in control switches that are designed for use with one hand. The best known control grips are joy sticks (joysticks) with fire buttons. An industrial joystick or control grip provides an ergonomically comfortable and easily controllable alternative to a traditional control panel.
Control grips are used with on/off switches, toggle buttons, push buttons, potentiometers for sensing motion, fuses, light emitting diodes (LEDs) or other indicators, and other snap action switches. The switches in a control grip are placed under a compact face plate and are typically activated by using only the thumb, providing quick response. A control grip may come with one or more buttons, depending on the size of the face plate. A control grip functions like a joystick controller and is often used for driving heavy machinery like forklifts, cranes, and excavators. Control grips for heavy machinery also come with safety handles that are compressed when an operator is in control of the joystick. If for some reason, the operator is disabled and loses contact with the control grip, the safety handles separate and can turn off the machine or vehicle.
Computer-based control grips or industrial joysticks are used for steering and positioning in flight simulators, as well as for control in small applications such as medical equipment, microscopes, and cameras. A USB joystick is an industrial joystick that connects to a computer through a universal serial bus (USB) port.
Control grips or joysticks can move in one or many directions. These are similar to how a computer joystick or joystick controller functions, sensing motion by using a potentiometer or an inductive or photoelectric sensor. Other options include a sealed toggle joystick, which is a control grip with sealed toggle switches to protect the switches from harsh or wet environments. Control grips may also use a fused combination switch, which is commonly used in control panel and motor control applications.