A variety of industries across every field have adopted membrane keypads. The reason behind this is the reliability of the keypad as well as the highly flexible design.
How do you customize the membrane keypad? It will help if you remember particular aspects. The environments in which the membrane keypad operates and functions have many underlying possible issues during the manufacturing process. Specific working conditions, wherein the input devices are exposed to moisture, fluid spill, dirt, debris, and dust; membrane keypads are effective. This implies they are suitable for outdoor applications. These issues require heavy customization and resolution by the client and the manufacturer. Membrane keypads are low-cost and aesthetics-driven.
If the customer can fully describe the application to Linepro, we can select the most appropriate products based on the application. A suitable design will resolve issues, cut costs and enhance aesthetics.
Customization options in Membrane Keypads:
Connectors for Membrane keypads:
The keypad’s membrane is connected to the PCB boards of the equipment through the conductive portion of the lead wire. There are three kinds of conductive components of conductor wire: ZIF (Zero Insertion Force), Female connector, or Male Connector. You can also connect them to PCB pin headers.
Membrane keypads are extremely flexible circuits. Additionally, the electrically conductive part of the circuit may be linked to the connector on the PCB via various bends. Sometimes it’s required to solder on the circuit board using thermal fusion to the connector.
Three types of connectors are commonly used:
The distance between pins on the PET (Polyester) membrane keypads is 1mm. 1.27mm or 2.54mm.
The Pins’ distance on the FPC (Flexible Printed Circuit) lead for the membrane keypads is 0.5mm 1mm, 1.27mm, and 2.54mm.
The width of the stiffener required on the other end of the ZIF line is generally 0.3mm. The distance between ZIF’s pins ranges from 0.05-1.27mm. The distance between connectors that have male and female connectors ranges from 1.27-2.54mm.
What factors are to be considered when customizing the Membrane keypad?
One of the benefits of membrane keypads is their independent design, which allows them to meet customer requirements by modifying different styles and structures. Therefore, we are extremely pleased to collaborate with our customers on the design of membrane keypads. But what are the factors we must be thinking about?
1. Waterproof performance – The IP rating the membrane keypad must achieve, be it NEMA4 or IP65, we can always serve you. If you want IP68, it is necessary to communicate data to Linepro to see if it’s feasible.
2. Cost-related considerations– To manage costs while ensuring that the product is of high quality. If the quantity of goods is large, there are many ways to cut costs. Following are steps taken to work on efficient costing:
· Utilize a silicone rubber keypad to form the panel
· Screen printing is transformed into color print. If customers can accept the difference in color that digital printing produces, the expense of printing with color is decreased by 35% compared with screen printing.
· The product doesn’t need to have a long life. In some cases, the product is a temporary or use-and-throw product, and we could utilize cheaper PC (Polycarbonate) materials for the panel.
· Use the non-dome membrane to lower the cost of domes made of steel.
While there are many methods to save money, the most important thing is to guarantee quality.
3. Silent Operation– The problem of noise is when the product is located in the recording studio or under development where the sound of a membrane keypad is not desirable; in such case, we have to select a non-tactile membrane keypad.
The difference between tactile and non-tactile feedback is that, tactile feedback has higher perceiving feedback functionality to the user over non-tactile.
4. Backlight option – If the product is used in darkness or a location with low light, your backlight keypad has to use the technology of backlights. Learn more about backlighting options and their effectiveness. It can act as a “star” in the night sky.
5. Compact and Flexible -The circuit is compact and has more electrical functions. FPC (flexible printed circuits) and printed circuit boards make excellent choices for membrane keypads. In addition, it can be utilized in high-pressure and high-humidity areas.
6. Outdoor use– The most prominent issue outdoors is humidity and ultraviolet Rays. It is essential to select an anti-ultraviolet product or a waterproof structure.
Additionally, it requires accurate tactile feedback. The membrane keypad comes in two different designs to satisfy this requirement.
1. There is a metal dome inside the Membrane keypad. The driving force typically ranges between 150 and 600G, while the lifespan is between 100,000 and 1,000,000 times.
2. The Graphic Overlays consist of embossing using hot pressing and using molds from hardware to give a more tactile experience. The interior doesn’t contain a metal dome, but more often, it needs silver dots.
What options do we have to select the material used for making the Membrane keypad?
The majority of membrane keypad panels manufactured by Linepro make use of polycarbonate in place of polyester. While polycarbonate is cheaper in comparison to polyester, functionality is much less than polyester. As per a recent study at Linepro’s R&D center, following 1,000,000 cycles, the panels made by polyester showed no evidence of wear. However, polycarbonate had a problem following the 100,000 cycles. Polycarbonate is less prone to corrosion.
Does the keypad require a shielding layer?
Customers often ask if an additional layer within the keypad’s membrane is a silver oil grid, ITO (Indium Tin Oxide), or PI (Polyimide) coating. What is the purpose of these coatings? With the increasing number of devices that use plastic casings instead of metal components, the principal reason is the plastic casings’ properties. They are portable as well as flexible in their style, and their cost is also reasonable.
While plastic products offer many advantages, they also have apparent drawbacks:
They can’t withstand the effects of ESD (Electrostatic Discharge), RFI (Radio Frequency Interference), and EMC (Electromagnetic Compatibility) that cause electronic failures on the part of the equipment. But, these issues can be resolved by combing methods such as printing silver oil grids, the PI, or ITO coatings with membrane keypads.
If we want to protect ESD, RFI, and EMC, we require electrostatic shielding layers.
How does the metal dome on the membrane keypad affect the user experience?
1. While the metal dome is not directly visible beneath the graphic overlay of the keypad’s membrane, it is a crucial element. It is among the main factors determining whether a membrane keypad can transform into a seamless input device.
2. Load: The load that is imposed by various metal domes is different. Based on the product’s shape, choose the appropriate metal dome, typically between 280 and 350G.
3. Metal dome size: The metal dome size between 8.4-12.2 is very popularly used, and the hand feel is also in a decent range.
4. Metal Dome Material: Most of the time, the membrane keypad is made using the traditional stainless steel dome. However, the gold-plated or nickel-plated metal dome must be considered when used in products with susceptible electrical properties and high resistance.
5. Profile of Metal Domes: The metal dome can be round or rectangular; selected as per the particular situation for the specific product.
6. Life of metal dome: The smaller the dimension of the metal dome, the higher the load and the shorter the life. Therefore, the metal dome that falls in the 8.4-12.2mm range is preferred by Linepro, thereby ensuring longer life.
A high-quality membrane keypad needs the effort of both suppliers and customers. Linepro is always committed to creating the best optimal membrane keypad for our customers because we handle every product with great care. When we know more about your requirements, we can assist you in creating better products. Contact Linepro to learn more today!