Membrane keypads are durable and robust. These keypads are commonly used in medical fields. These days, many business organizations are using membrane switches keypads for various applications.
Why Should You Use Membrane Keypad?
Membrane switch assemblies that include membrane keypads or membrane panels are highly innovative electromechanical assemblies. They are useful to control machines through a UI, called the user interface. You can apply them in medical equipment, industrial machinery, or aerospace sector. Implementing this technology into your workspace has a great number of benefits. The benefits are easy-to-clean surfaces and a variety of design options, including chemical, fire, and water resistance.
Perfect for Your Business Use
A membrane keypad sends a signal from the key by way of a flexible membrane to the computer. People generally use standard keypads, this might work for them, but the membrane keyboard is excellent. These types of keypads are cheap, work well, and easy to clean. You can find it in the nearest stores. If you are running a business, you can use this type of keypad. It is suitable for an office with a lot of cubicles.
Membrane keypads won’t disturb other employees in the office. They are relatively cheaper compared to other keyboards. These keypads are suitable for people who eat at their desks a lot and have little time to clean their workstation.
Membrane Keypads: Features
A membrane keyboard has pressure instead of a mechanical key. These keys have circuits that send the command of the given key. This type of keyboard has a flat surface printed with various symbols. They work as a regular keypad with mechanical keys. Despite their portability and design, membrane keyboards cannot be used for touch-typing.
Nowadays, many business owners prefer to buy membrane keypads because these keypads are not only inexpensive but also resistant against the dirt and liquids compare to other keyboards. Membrane keyboards are smaller than mechanical keyboards, which is why these keyboards last longer than their mechanical counterparts.
The Bottom Line
Modern-day gadgets include some sorts of keypads that are using for managing different functions. There are several types of keyboards available in the market; among them, the two most widely used and widely available are: mechanical keypad and membrane keypad. You may have seen this type of keypad used in medical devices. X-ray machines, portable diagnostic equipment, and dental equipment often attached to membrane keyboards. One of the most important things is for which this type of keypad is widely used is sturdy and durable. These keypads can withstand the effects of rugged wear and tear.
Graphic overlays are one of the most useful tools that are used in a wide range of industries in multiple purposes. Starting from the aviation industries to medical purposes, these overlays are extremely useful. During the manufacturing of medical equipment, it requires chemical resistant materials and this is exactly why you need to opt for the best quality overlays. Now, different materials can be used for the manufacturing of graphic overlays. With a plethora of options, it could become overwhelming for the companies to choose the right kind of material to manufacture the overlays. In the following section of the blog, we are going to share the best kind of materials that can be used for the manufacturing of these overlays.
Considering the applications and the environment, certain materials should be preferred over other manufacturing graphic overlays. The reason is, sometimes a certain material is much more effective than the other.
One of the best materials for manufacturing these overlays is vinyl. This is a low-cost adhesive and this is what makes it extremely affordable. This is a very good choice for simple overlays or labels. But one thing that needs to be considered is, vinyl can only be printed right on the front. This means it might not last for a long time. This is a backdrop of using vinyl. This is perfect for non-demanding conditions which don’t involve a lot of wear and tear.
The next material that can be used for the manufacturing of these overlays is polycarbonate. One of the best features of this material is it is tough and hard-wearing. It also comes in a wide assortment of thickness and surface finishes. Thus, you can easily personalize it according to the requirements. Polycarbonate is thermally stable and this is why it can be used at different temperatures. Some surface textures can be used as fire retardants. This is why it is very much useful in different environments.
Polyvinyl chloride is yet another material that can be used for the manufacturing of the graphic overlays. PVC offers outstanding durability for a lot of environments. This is a cheaper option than polycarbonate and polyester. There is a wide range of choices that are available with a finish that includes clear or block colors. You will also have the option of a textured finish that protects overlay from abrasion. This is what makes the PVC material a preferred option for the designing and manufacturing of machinery in a different environment.
You can also use polyester for creating the overlays. This is popular because it is resilient and UV stable. This is ideally the strongest and most resilient of all the materials that are available in the market. The overlays that are designed with this material come with varying thickness and with a wide range of textures and anti-glare finishes. The primary advantage of polyester is improved chemical resistance. A polyester overlay can be designed with multiple anti-microbial coatings as well.
A membrane switch can be described as an electrical switch used to turn a circuit on and off but it should not be confused with a mechanical switch. A membrane switch is not similar to an electrical switch. A membrane switch is a circuit printed on ITO or PET whereas the electrical switch comes generally made of copper and plastic parts. Professional-grade membrane switch panel sourced from a leading and an accredited membrane switch and related product manufacturing company should be considered for best possible outcomes. A membrane switch, also popularly referred to as touch switch, is designed to perform in a low voltage loop and offers momentary signals.
According to American Standards Test Methods or AST subcommittee on Membrane Switches, membrane switch is “a momentary switch device in which at least one contact is on, or made of, flexible substrate". This type of switch constitutes now a crucial user interface in all possible types of modem electronic application these days. Membrane switches feature a close association to toggle switches, keypads, and keyboards as they are all interface utilities. The operator simply needs to press the membrane switch whenever she/ he needs to control the device.
The basic parts
A membrane switch or a membrane switch panel generally comprises a few basic parts, which are Graphic overlay, Graphic adhesive, Top circuitry, Spacer adhesive, Bottom circuitry, Backer adhesive, and Rigid support layer. These parts are primarily utilized in constructing membrane switches or a membrane switch panel.
On the basis of the industry they are used in and applications they enjoy, membrane switches are also termed as membrane keypads and membrane keyboards. Membrane touch switches are used in a number of industries, from medical to consumer markets. A membrane switch or membrane switch panel is extensively used in the air conditioner control panel and microwave oven panel.
Membrane switch panels are also widely found in TV remote control, touch sensitive toys and also enjoy aerospace applications. The application of membrane switches in conjunction with lighting, touch screens, keyboards, etc can be also found in mobile phones and computers.
The popular usage of membrane touch switches is becoming increasingly prominent in the manufacturing and engineering industries. This is so because they are being instrumental in enhancing the aesthetics of human-machine interfaces without upsetting the budget. These are not just cost-effective but also are highly durable than other types of switch options available. High reliability, flexibility, and high conductivity are some of the salient features associated with membrane touch
There have to be a few more advantageous reasons behind the wider acceptance and extensive application of membrane switch panel in so many devices. The advantages of applying membrane switches include easy maintenance, a low profile, ease of cleaning, and remarkable sealing ability. Membrane switch panels used in mobiles and computers make these cost-effective user interface choice. They are reliable and are highly recommended for a diverse range of products. These are also available with several lucrative creative options.
The term “Membrane Switch” is an extensive category of methods or procedures of switching, and/or activating, an electrical route. That route could be a thin sheet of polyester or could be as thick as a printed circuit board. Now the question is - how is a membrane switch made? Let’s see how it made.
In a nutshell, a membrane switch is nothing but a user interface device made up of high quality lamented layers utilized as a switch that turns a circuit on or off. Whilst the material selection as well as the design may vary from product to product, normally most membrane switches are made out of the below primary layers.
• The rear adhesive backer layer
• The silver circuit layer
• The retaining adhesive separator
• The top graphic overlay
Normally, a custom membrane switch is manufactured by the screen printing that is the circuit directly onto a plastic substrate and with silver or carbon conductive ink.
The Basic Components
There are three basic components of membrane switches. These are:
• Interface Layer
• Switching or Circuit Layer
• Adhesive Layer
There is an interface layer in a membrane switch. This interface layer plays a significant role in a membrane switch as “the aesthetic value will sometimes be essential to the consumers for the purpose of durable products, as these are the products that are sometimes used for years”.
Imagine you are thinking to buy an expensive stove or oven. It is an important appliance that you might be using on a regular basis. Once you will narrow your choice down by features the next question will: does it look good? The interface layer of the membrane switches that all of the end users look for and work with. There are a few different choices on the interface layer of the membrane switches, like rubber keypads, graphical overlays, captive switch overlays, to name a few.
Importance of Switching Layer
The switching layer is the most important layer. After the user looks at the product, the next action would be to communicate or interact with it. There are mainly four primary options available for switching methods, such as steel domes, polyester domes, mechanical switch and capacitive switch. Each method has an individual sense of touch. It plays a role in how a computer recognizes the value in a product.
The next but most important is the adhesive layer. Different environments need different types of adhesives. Therefore, some switches would be exposed to salt spray, high humidity as well as sunlight. On the other hand, few switches are used in a desert with high heat as well as dust. Although, membrane switches need to function by way of these environmental trials.
Customized Options & Specifications
You have multiple customization options for the membrane switches. A membrane switch component can include many things, like metal panels, LEDs, connectors, printed circuit boards, ESD protection, light blocking, electronics, and other things. Each option builds on the value of switch and adds extra functionality that we have already discussed earlier in the blog.
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.