For those of us who spend all our lives at our desks, choosing the best keyboard is nothing short of crucial. This is the tool that we use to complete our work, search for necessary information, and communicate with friends. So it’s odd when we tend to neglect the keyboards. Finding a keyboard that works the best for you is just a matter of patience.
However, membrane keyboards are becoming increasingly popular these days. They live up their name by featuring a membrane-like design rather than separating moving keys. The keyboards are now used in nearly every commercial industry, including information technology, medical, telecommunication, retail, and more. Unlike standard mechanical keypads, membrane keyboards are comprised of pressure pads with printed symbols and letters on the surface.
Today, we are going to take a closer look at the membrane keyboards, revealing four fun facts about them and how they work.
They Have Three Layers
Membrane keyboards are designed in a wide variety of configurations, each of which has its own unique properties and characteristics. Most membrane keypads feature three layers. The first and third layer consists of conductive traces and the middle layer is a space that consists of air or some other inert gas or material. The middle layer has holes in which the keys get pressed, thus, separating the other two outer layers.
Available Early in Home Computers
Some people assume membrane keyboards to be a new phenomenon, first making an appearance in industrial devices and machines. But the fact is, they have actually been around for several decades from now. When searched on Wikipedia, membrane keypads were even first found to be used in some of the first home computers, dating back to the early 1980s. Since then, they have made their way into various other applications, including household appliances, consumer devices and more.
Function via Electronic Switch
Membrane keyboards are essentially a type of electronic switch. This means, upon pressing a key it completes the circuit. And using this circuit, the connected device identifies which key was pressed.
Protection from Debris and Moisture
One of the greatest reasons that make the membrane keyboards the most popular and preferable choice of input for electronic devices is their natural resistance to moisture, dust, debris, and dirt. The fundamental design of the membrane keypad protects against the intrusion from such elements.
Here are the 5 fun facts about membrane keypads which I’m sure many of you must not be aware of.
Hope you liked knowing these facts and reading the post. And for many other posts on membrane keypads, stay tuned with us!
At ElecFlex we have a vast experience in making graphic overlay, custom membrane switch, and related products for customers worldwide. We have over 10-years experience of working closely with customers overseas which have enabled us to be a reliable, better manufacturing partner in China.
Overlays are a critical printed interface layer component in membrane switches and touchscreens, or standalone durable label providing both protection and a surface for graphic printing to create a user-friendly and functional interface The first thing that the customers often witness first when interacting with a product, graphic overlays help in setting the first impression of your product and brand.
Manufacturers create state-of-the-art, ready-to-use control panels with a wide variety of graphic overlay options to match any specification. They offer the most extensive array of overlay options in the industry, offering adhesives, coatings, embossing, printing, tinting, display windows, dead fronts, selective textures, and backlighting to create a specialized overlay solution. Graphic overlays are helpful in visually enhancing your product and advertising your company by branding your product’s appearance. So it is important to construct an effectively designed graphic overlay that offers an eye-catching design.
Custom graphic overlays serve as an excellent canvas for high-resolution graphics for companies to showcase their logos and graphics, catching the eyes of customers. As they enhance the total appeal of a product, the performance capabilities and right materials are essential factors. Materials like polyester are mainly preferred for their long lifespan and durability, while polycarbonate is not as chemically resistant or rugged, but offers a crisp design.
A graphic overlay is a tailored cut-out that can be applied to the products to leave your brands distinctive mark over it. They are often seen on photography kit, automobile parts, scientific equipment, remote controls, AV equipment, computers, or otherwise.
Material selection in graphic overlays is essential because of the mechanical requirements of membrane switches. Polyester is solvent resistant hence making it ideal for membrane overlays. However, other materials may have the possibility to crack with the passage of time if the switches are repeatedly pushed.
Functionally, the graphic overlays are often used to forbid moisture entering into the user interface unit. The graphic designs are hugely offered in a wide variety of patterns, colors, shapes, and designs. Several graphic overlay manufacturers take customized order from their customers in order to come up with the overlay style as per their project necessities and personal preference.
Choosing the Right Substrate Graphic Overlay
The key part of any product development process for a brand is, selecting the right substrate for the graphic overlay. The crucial first step to review is the performance requirement and durability of the component and then you need to consider the below-mentioned points on the graphic overlay exposure to any of the following –
Graphic Overlays from ElecFlex - Your Trusted Supplier in China
Located in Nanjing, China, ElecFlex is the leading manufacturer of professional membrane switch, graphic overlays, membrane keyboards, and related products. With over 15 years of experience, we have excellent experience in manufacturing membrane switch for global clients.
Hello Folks!!! Hope you all are doing great!! Today I am again back with another post on “Graphic Overlay.”
In my previous post, I had discussed how to select the right graphic overlay substrate and what considerations to make prior to making your choice.
And today I am here again to discuss - “How Graphic Overlays can dramatically enhance or uplift the appearance of your products?”
So let’s get started…..
A countless number of products that we use in our everyday life bring our focus on graphics. Ranging from calculators and microwaves, the gadgets or equipment that we use every day has a strong graphic element which is often achieved with the use of graphic overlays.
These bespoke graphics are decorative and generally used as the front panel of equipment. They usually act as a customized label or as an integral part of a membrane switch and can assimilate a number of features specific to products such as cut-outs for switches or clear windows for LEDs.
Graphic overlays are today increasingly adopted for most types of machinery and equipment. Various different types of equipment can print an abundance of colors and designs onto a mix of materials.
The procedure of making graphic overlays seems to be much simpler than it is. By using color-matched inks, the design is screen printed on the end of the material. This ensures the picture is seen correctly from the front. Usually, a high-performance release liner and adhesive is then chosen and added to create an industry level graphic overlay.
One gargantuan advantage with graphic overlays is that they can be wiped clean and are durable. The long-lasting finish and high-quality of the keyboard is popular with customers who are aware that with a little care they can keep the product looking fresh and new or years. Embossing is one such method that you can use to make graphic overlays look luxurious. They can add to the function of the switches and can drastically uplift the overall look of the overlay as well.
Many manufacturers of graphic overlay will offer you the option of assisting with the design of overlays by allowing you to select from a range of textures to make sure that the graphic overlays are exactly what you want. The matte texture makes the finish look smooth and fine, anti-glare will look good with some sheen, the velvety texture will hide scratches and fingerprints, and the gloss finish will enhance printed colors.
Graphic Overlays: The Need of the Hour
Graphic designs are hugely offered in a wide variety of patterns, colors, shapes, and designs. Several graphic overlay manufacturers take customized order from their customers in order to come up with the overlay style as per their project necessities and personal preference.
Electronics assembling and manufacturing industries love the custom feature when it comes to ordering membrane switches. In such switches, Pressure Sensitive Adhesives (PSA) plays an important role that you should know. It will not only make placing custom orders from membrane keypad manufacturers easy, but you will also know where exactly you want it.
Today's post will take you through many pointers that will explain PSAs and its uses. So, let's get started.
What are Pressure Sensitive Adhesives? An Introduction
2.Indeed, some factors can affect this bonding. It includes:
3.Designed to bond at room temperature, it can be perfect for both permanent and removable applications. Examples -
Permanent bonding: In between layers of membrane switches and keypads
Removable bonding: Safety labels for various power equipments
How Pressure Sensitive Adhesives get manufactured?
4.PSAs get manufactured in two distinct ways.
5.Many labels and tapes are made using liquid PSAs. This is done by coating the support surface and then evaporating the water carrier using a hot air dryer. This process needs a dry viscous heat to create a cross-linking reaction. It helps to increase the molecular weight.
6.Solid PSAs are low viscosity polymers. They pass through radiation to increase the molecular weight for adhering. Melting solid PSAs reduces its level of viscosity. It makes the coating process easier before it cools back to its last form.
7.They are made up of specific bonding tapes that comprise of fluid adhesive micro wed and a composite backing. Applying these adherents is only possible by the use of force exerted by fingers.
8.The process of application for PSAs is cleaner and stronger as compared to other types of adhering agents. Its basic composition includes an elastomer which can contain any of the following:
9.PSAs must also have an enhanced tack - stickiness on the surface of the adhesive. For ensuring this, the elastomer gets mixed with a tackifier - a lighter molecular compound. Tackifiers provide stiffness during high strain while retaining high-stress compliance. The commonly used tackifiers are:
Where membrane keypad manufacturers use the PSA for construction?
10.PSA membrane switches are the favorites when it comes to application. These switches are popular in switch construction since they are compatible, durable, flexible and repositionable.
11.PSAs are compatible with various switching mechanics such as:
12.Membrane switches are liable to high stress. PSA bonds thus offer a high level of elasticity and are resistant to moisture, heat, and chemicals. This cuts the stress out giving the switches a robust durability.
What more must you know about PSA membrane keypads?
13.You need to identify the environmental situations where you intend to install the switches.
14.PSA switches might fail if subjected to extreme temperatures or comes in contact with certain chemicals.
Thus, it is imperative to note that extreme temperatures, moisture, and chemicals are the enemies of PSA membrane switches. With this set of information, now you have a higher sense of understanding the PSAs. Next time you connect with a membrane keypad manufacturer, feel free to explore the lengths of customization. It is because you can tweak many layers of the membrane switch to keep the expenses low. Oh! And that doesn't hamper the quality or performance of the switches. All you need to do is find a manufacturer that can cater to your needs.
A countless number of products that we use in our everyday life have a focus on graphics. Ranging from calculators to microwaves, the equipment that have a strong presence in our everyday life is often achieved with the use of graphic overlays.
Overlays are today being increasingly adopted for most types of machinery and equipment. They are used throughout many different industries from security, medical, instrumentation to catering and fire. Their easy to clean and durability make them the ideal solution for many sectors. This feature is popular with the customers who know that simple care instructions will keep the product looking fresh for years.
The Right Substrate for a Graphic Overlay
Selecting the right substrate for the graphic overlay is a key part of the product development process. The first step is to review the durability or performance requirements of the component and that is considering the below-mentioned points on will the graphic overlay be exposed to any of the following:
The two major plastic types recommended for graphic overlays are: Polycarbonate and Polyester. Let’s have a brief discussion about each one of them.
The reason why polycarbonate is a great choice for graphic overlays is the combination of the impact resistance of the surface of the plastic. It is a thermoplastic holding a melting point of 155 degrees Celsius. Polycarbonate provides many of the positive features of the glass at a lower weight. However, this is not recommended for overlays which will get exposed to chemicals in the end-use environment.
Finishes available: Matte/Velvet, Gloss with custom selective texture application
Polyester can either be a thermoset plastic or thermoplastic which can be used in applications with heat exposure of up to 245 degrees Fahrenheit. They are the tougher and more durable plastic than polycarbonate. Polyester is harder and can withstand to almost any commercially available solvent. A polyester substrate is ideal for the graphic overlay components that get exposed to chemicals, heat, abrasion or more tough conditions.
If graphic overlay’s main function will be cosmetic, and the panel will be in low environmental exposure or risk, polycarbonate is the obvious choice of material. It comes in a broad range of thickness, easier to die cut and emboss, and available in more finishes. Overall, the polycarbonate graphic overlay will cost you less than the polyester one.
However, in the case of more challenging projects, considering polyester overlay becomes a better option for ensuring the durability of the component.
ElecFlex’s Graphic Overlay Artwork
Welcome to ElecFlex for graphic overlay artwork. We can exactly screen-print what you need an immediate basis. Just send us a clear photo with full dimension info or scan version of the graphic or a jpg and we will complete the artwork for you and screen-print the overlay for you.
Printed circuit board or PCB keypads are excellent for compact devices. It gives users easy controlling option for their devices. Also a PCB keyboard makes devices look sleek, slim and premium.
So, if you are looking to get connected to the right sources before acquiring one, you have landed on the right page. Here you will find the right place to make a purchase. Also I would love to tell you why I prefer ElecFlex. Read on to get a detailed overview about what you can get as per your needs.
ElecFlex, the best manufacturer of PCB keyboards!
I run a manufacturing unit myself. Our company produces induction cook tops. Not all components are manufactured by us. We also rely on outsourcing some of the peripherals. Likewise, I was in need for PCB keypads for the induction cook top.
When you try to stick to your budget keeping your targeted market in mind, you will want to connect with reliable outsourcers. Same was the case with me and with a bit of online research, I came across ElecFlex. They are a China based manufacturing unit with clients all around the world. I am from UK and I love ElecFlex for its excellent customization options. Also the prices are quite in budget. So you are on the safer side right from the beginning.
Benefits of buying PCB Keyboards from ElecFlex
I am sure that these beneficial factors will help you. If you are looking to find the right product for your unit, read on to know more.
I love this option. I am not acquainted with software like Coral Draw or AutoCad. So I rely on pen and paper. You can also do the same.
Only you and your team will know about the requirements. So before placing an order with ElecFlex, I advise you to provide them with a circuit diagram and take a sample. Once you get the sample, you will be in a strong position to place an order.
2.You can cut down manufacturing cost for the PCB Keypads!
You will find this option only with ElecFlex. No I am not asking you to bargain for lowering the prices. But experts of ElecFlex can suggest you excellent manufacturing procedures for lowering costs. They do it by manipulating certain layers on the circuit board without degrading the performance. So if you are looking for a light weight product, you can have that with ElecFlex.
3. ElecFlex helps you select the convenient design
For manufacturing any peripheral for any particular device, both parties must have a clear picture of what’s required and what needs to be delivered. Now you might not have all the best ideas in mind at one place.
In such situations, ElecFlex helps you select the perfect style and look for the PCB keypads. This gives your product an appeal and elegance. Moreover, PCB keyboards are meant for ease of access and only experts of this field will suggest you the best and trending options.
You might run after the best. But do you understand the significance of the word best? When some product or service fits your requirement as you wanted, you term it as best. ElecFlex has the right solutions for you and they let you customize your product. This is why I refer ElecFlex as best. They gave me accurately what I wanted and I am sure that you too will get what you need with ElecFlex.
If you have questions, post them below in the comments. I am eager to guide you and help you find the right solutions. Share this post and help others know more about reliable services.
When it comes to keyboards, there are a lot of varieties that you can choose from the products available in the market. However, among those several choices two alternatives has always been the favorite of most. There is membrane keyboard on one side and mechanical keyboard on the other side. While a lot of people mainly use the keyboard for all their heavy typing jobs, some also indulge in playing games and other work. So what keyboard can work best for you? This is the question that this post will address to here. Read on as I will be listing a comparative discussion on the pros and cons of both of these keyboards so that you can choose your preferred option depending on all the factors. So, let’s get started.
The Foundation Of A Membrane KeyBoard:
Let’s first look at foundation of our first alternative – the membrane keyboard. It basically uses 3 different layers in the design which makes it very flexible. The first one is actually the top membrane layer, under which you can find the conductive trace. So when we press any key is pressed, the pressure moves through the second layer which is consisted of holes that allow the pressure pads that are located under each key to pass through, and thus completing process of reaching the conductive traces on top of the bottom membrane layer.
Mainly there are two types of designs that you can see currently. First one is the flat key design that you can find on devices like microwave ovens and the other type is called dome switched keyboard that uses a dome with printed letters on top. These keyboards implement a rubber or a silicone keypad that comes with domes as the top membrane layer.
Pros Of Membrane Keyboards:
Thanks to the functionality of dome switch keyboard it can simulate the spring structure of mechanical keyboard that gives this particular keyboard equipped with solid physical feedbacks. However, you would feel a difference of typing experience between the membrane keyboard and those of mechanical keyboard. Although due to the advancement of technology the gap between these two alternatives is getting smaller.
We all know that keyboards can be quite noisy when typed with speed. However, in this case the membrane keyboard has a better reputation than mechanical keyboards when it comes to typing sound volume. You can even find some mechanical keyboard like the blue switches that is very loud.
Membrane ones are mostly made out of plastic which makes them much lighter than mechanical keyboard which is basically comprised of metal gears. You can easily carry them around anywhere and type on your lap if you want to.
These keyboards are made with common materials and advanced technology; hence it is much more affordable than a mechanical keyboard having the same features.
Cons of Membrane Keyboards:
You might need more effort to type when you press down on the key. Some also says that membrane keyboards are “mushy” to type on, which affect their typing experience.
With this keyboard, it might happen that while typing in speed your keystrokes might not get registered as the key wasn’t pressed down all the way. This happens to a lot of people and hence they have discarded this alternative.
Although the membrane keyboard have a lifespan of millions key presses, still it can wear out quicker than a mechanical keyboard. After they deteriorate these keyboards will feel mushier which causes the keys to lose feedback.
In case of a mechanical keyboard, you can just take away the keycaps for cleaning; however, it becomes harder to clean a membrane one since the keycaps are usually not removable.
The basic functionality of the mechanical keyboards is achieved through switches which typically send signals. Each key has its own switch, which comes with a base, a spring and a stem. The most common switches are blue, red, brown, black etc. Some require a certain amount of force to be press, Tactile while making a clicking sound or without, and others can be easy to press.
Pros of mechanical keyboards
The key caps of the mechanical keyboards can be removed which allows the user to customize it as per choice and makes it much easy to be cleaned.
Since the mechanical keyboard does not contain a membrane inside it, they stand much longer in serving compared to membrane ones. Plus their feedback also stays the same which becomes immensely helpful for the user to use it in the long run.
The tactility allows the typist to register the letters much easily which can be a great benefit if you are a first timer.
Different Typing Style
With this keyboard, one does not have to press a key all the way down to make it register. It can be achieved by pressing half way down also. This allows faster typing speed and less fatigue.
Mechanical keyboard usually allows the user to press more than one key at the same time. With some keyboards you can also press all the keys at the same time. This reduces the key rollover which is an important factor.
Cons of mechanical keyboards
Mechanical keyboards are comparatively much more expensive than membrane ones due to its materials and technology. So you would have to spend more money to get one of these pieces.
Mechanical keyboards tend to be much noisier. So if you’re in a location with other people and you don’t want them to hear your typing then it’s advisable that you don’t opt for the mechanical ones.
DIY skills may required
While one can do all sorts of customization with the mechanical keyboards, it may also require some DIY skills. So, if you choose to avoid it then it better to opt for the membrane ones.
So Which One Should We Choose Between These Two Alternatives?
With the above discussion, you now know all the perks and disadvantages of both of these keyboards. So the best ways to know which one suit you best is minding all these facts and understand which one will suit you based on your requirement and surrounding. It’s always advisable to try out both of these as a trial basis if possible before sticking to any one keyboard in particular. So what else would you like to know about membrane keyboards? Feel free to mention them in the comments section and I will be addressing them in the future posts. Till then keep following this space for more related updates.
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From engineering controls and hospital equipment to household appliances and telephone systems, membrane keyboard is used in a myriad of industries and applications. At first glance, one might assume them to be nothing more than a standard keyboard, similar to the type used with computers. Though they share some similarities, still they are a completely different type of peripheral with their own characteristics.
A membrane keypad is a computer component that alike other keyboards do not have separate keys. Pressure pads have outlines and symbols printed on a flat flexible surface. The keys are completely shielded by clear plastic shells, which safeguard components from dust and dirt. The membrane keypads used on electrical and mechanical equipment for commercial use needs daily maintenance to keep them in good working condition. But when they are used in a business environment the keys tend to have a high usage frequency by a lot of different people. Keeping this in mind, membrane keyboards can become a breeding ground for dust and bacteria.
The good news is that membrane keypads are much easier and quicker to clean than mechanical keyboards, as crumbs and dust do not actually get to settle under the keys. However, if you want the keyboard look new for ages to come, you will still need to perform some cleaning on a daily basis. Basic cleaning at least once a sennight and deep cleaning every few months can be helpful. Here are some top cleaning tips:
Step-By-Step Cleaning For Membrane Keyboards
Why is a clean and sanitized surface important for membrane keyboards?
Any sticky substance, sweat or other slippery residues on the keypad can actually prevent people from pressing the correct button. Make sure you clean the surface frequently that will keep your equipment in a prime condition making it work under all circumstances for years to come. If you notice that no amount of cleaning is helping the appearance of the keypad, it may be time to replace it.
Membrane keyboards are waterproof control panels with easy-to-use and cleanable surfaces. This makes these keyboards well-suited for control panels in numerous industries, control systems for electronic appliances, for industrial computers, hospital beds, alarm systems, etc.
The China-based manufacturing company, ElecFlex has vast experience in making graphic overlay, custom membrane switch, and related products for customers worldwide. We have over 10-years experience of working closely with customers oversea which have enabled us to be a reliable manufacturing partner in China.