Pricing and reliability are most important when designing a new membrane keypad or switch project. The design of the user human machine interface (HMI) must be sustainable in the working environment, should be able to meet functional requirements and economical.
Read our Blog on : What is Industrial HMI? Applications & Design Considerations.
The price of creating a customized membrane keypad design has to be in line with the overall project budget prior to committing to any kind of production. The price of a custom membrane keypad is proportional to the material components used in its construction as well as the features demanded by the client that are selected and the manufacturing methods. Linepro has world’s finest component material suppliers under the belt to cater it’s quantity and quality requirements, which ultimately grants success every day since last 30 years in industry. The cost also depends on the type of keypad- whether Flexible type Keypad or PCB based keypad, environmental factors and any conformity tests that the product must be able to pass or as demanded by the client. Each project for a membrane keypad is unique and our Engineers at Linepro take into consideration all possibilities of design before determining the price. The ideal time to discuss costs and reliability of the keypad is during the concept stage of the project.
Price and reliability can be estimated early in the process at the beginning of a concept design meeting. Knowing the exact requirements for a product at the beginning of the process will help Linepro’s design team to ensure the selection feasibility of keypads while analyzing cost-saving options. This knowledge is vital when a product has distinctive features like waterproofing that has the IP65 to IP67 rating.
Here are four important parameters to keep an eye upon based on our experiences with clients who have been with us before.
Design and Type of Circuit for Membrane Keypad or Switch
The costliest component of a membrane keypad (flexible type) is the circuit that is printed using silver and copper based conductive inks. It is important to note that Linepro has in-house screen printing and digital printing facility consisting of automatic roll-to-roll printing machinery and numerous semi-automatic screen printing equipment. A number of tracks can determine the type of termination or connector type. For simple industrial uses, we generally print a silver-conductive circuit. But, the cost can rapidly increase when you add SM LEDs or LED-driven light guide film lighting (LGF). LGF is an effective backlighting option. Know more about various backlighting option for membrane keypads. In the same way, adding EMI shielding will add costs. In other cases that require shielding, we might have to switch to PCB based membrane keypads or flexible type keypads because of proper track pitch or environmental test requirements.
It’s logical to conclude that more intricate membrane keypad design is, more skilled labor time it takes to ensure the job is suitable. This could involve testing, engineering or the combination of our own screen printing capabilities. This isn’t an area in which customers should think about compromising! Linepro’s quality is the result of careful understanding and planning.
Custom Membrane Keypad Design Construction
Based on the device’s membrane keypad function, the layers utilized for construction could differ. It is evident that the most cost-effective solution will be the one that is simpler in its design. Membrane Keypads usually have six layers, but they can also include additional layers to provide extra functions.
The basic layers are as follows:
Graphic Overlay: The front fascia of the keypad which has graphics, company logo, key embossing and keys to facilitate input for the user.
Selective adhesive: Adhesive is profile cut to match the contours of the overlay.
Tactile layer: the pressure-sensitive buttons.
Spacer: A type of material which creates voids that keep the buttons in place.
The printed circuit is the layer where electronic conductivity connects different components.
Mounting adhesive: An adhesive sheet is placed on the back to hold the piece together.
When you begin adding special displays, LED driven backlighting and specific functionality the cost and complexity of membrane keypad rapidly increases.
Optional Features for Membrane Keypads
The final thing to consider is that your design might include some unique attributes that go over and beyond the competition. Linepro has wonderful solutions such as embossed keys that provide tactile response (Read more about various tactile and non-tactile effects for Input devices) to backlighting a display for easy access and usage in dark environments. The simplest additions of protective coatings or other finishes can greatly impact the perception of the user towards the membrane keypad. So, why experiment with other keypad suppliers when you have Linepro by your side!
Manufacturing is an alliance
Linepro is aware of all the problems you face when sourcing your membrane keypads. We’ve helped hundreds of clients with thousands of solutions for over 30 years. If you require new approach to make your next membrane keypad, we’ll discover a solution that fits the requirements you have. In the beginning of the design process, shoot us a message and we’ll help to make your process easier with best ideas and methods that will certainly make a difference.