How to choose the right switch technology?

HMI Solutions

When it comes to Human Machine Interface solutions for machine, there are a variety of switch technologies that can be used. You can read our article ‘Which are the available HMI solutions for machines and why are they important?’ to know more about various HMI solutions.

Each switch technology has its own benefits and it is very important to choose the right technology for your project. Choosing the right technology depends on various factors. Let’s focus on few of the factors in this article.

  1. Environment in which the product will be used

Every machine requires an input device for the user to interact with the it. Machines can vary from those used at home like the microwave oven, washing machine, etc. to those used in public sector such as Public utility machines, ATM, fuel dispenser, elevators, etc. It is very important to know which switch technology suits which environment.

For example, for home applications like Microwave Oven, Washing Machines, Induction cooker, etc. simple membrane keypads can be used. But for public utility machines like ATM, fuel dispenser system, ticket vending machines, there are chances that people may use the product roughly and the machines may also be subjected to harsh environments. Therefore to reduce the chances of the switch getting damaged, it is advisable to use Metal Keyboard in public utility machines. On the other hand, for medical applications, we need switches that are easily readable even in low light areas and switches that can be cleaned frequently and easily to reduce cross-contamination. Touch sense switches are easy to read, can be back lighted and also can be cleaned easily.

2. How the product will be used

Since there are a wide range of switch technologies, it is essential to understand which switch will work best for your application.  The frequency and the application of use is also the deciding factor for choosing the right switch technology.

For example, in fuel dispensing systems, we require switches that can withstand exposure to various liquids like gasoline, diesel, etc. Also the switches should be able to clean easily. In these cases, metal keyboard or touch sense keyboard can be used.

In cases where the user needs multi finger fast operation and feedback from the switch then it is better to go for silicone rubber keyboard. Example of silicone rubber keyboard is the one which we all are familiar with – Computer Keyboard. This type of keyboard is profitable only if the quantity to be produced is large since the initial molding cost is quite high.

3. Quantity to be produced

If the demand for the product is huge and it needs to be mass produced in a lower cost, then membrane switch will be best solution.

For example, consumer products like washing machines and microwave ovens have a great demand in the market. It is advisable to produce switches in a bulk so that the operation cost can be reduced. Thus membrane switches can be produced at a low cost.

4. Aesthetics

If you are looking to develop a product that builds its competitive advantage through design and aesthetics then you must go for Capacitive sensing Switch. Capacitive switches are aesthetically pleasing and require a low actuation force. They are a popular choice among engineers looking to improve the appearance of their smart appliances. Back lighting adds to the aesthetics of the switch. Capsense switches are a popular choice among engineers looking to improve the appearance of their smart appliances.

If you have any queries regarding the perfect switch technology for your project, get in touch with us today. Our expert engineers are ready to advise and guide you about the best technology suitable for your design. Contact us now!

LP 3994 Capacitive Sensing Keyboard with backlighting
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