It is evident that application of Vandal Proof Metal Keyboards, Keypads and switches in our world is increasing every day. As companies and the public sector seek to control costs and offer customers a better experience, technology is being deployed in many public locations – both indoors and outdoors.
While this brings a number of benefits, it also poses a number of challenges. One of these relates to the human-machine interface (HMI), which often consists of a series of pushbuttons. In contrast to devices we own for personal use, that we handle and store in safety, these publicly accessible devices are far more likely to suffer abuse.
To address this, highly rugged metal keyboard and keypads that are resistant to harsh working conditions are now available to enable designers to develop HMIs for publicly accessible technology that will stand the test of time.
In this article, we will look at some of the key applications for this technology and the key, the designers should consider when specifying metal keypads and keyboards for rugged HMIs.
The need for anti-vandal Keyboards, Keypads and switches
Fundamentally, systems need inputs from their users either to define what they want the system to do, or to provide information to the system. While technologies such as voice recognition are in the early stages of development, the use of keyboards, switches and keypads, in all of their various forms remains the preferred method for developing HMIs.
When equipment is placed in unsupervised areas and operated by people who do not own the equipment, it is likely to be subject to harsh treatment. This could be a malicious vandalism where, for whatever reason, individuals take it upon themselves to damage the equipment. It could also be legitimate users of the equipment who are somewhat less than careful and use over-forceful switch presses that will shorten the life of the equipment and, in particular, the HMI. Clearly, a delicate membrane keypad, keyboard or switch matrix will not last long in these circumstances.
As the deployment of these types of equipment increases, so does the need for robust HMIs. In almost anything we do in our daily lives when we are away from our homes, we are very likely to encounter some form of push button driven system.
If we get into our car to travel somewhere, then at the fuel station there could be metal keypad buttons on the pump to select the grade of petrol, diesel or CNG we want. If we have a modern electric vehicle (EV), then the charging station will have several metal keypad buttons to provide inputs and start/stop the charging process. While we are at the service station, we may choose to inflate our tires, or wash our vehicle; all of these will involve some interaction with a metal keypad button-based HMI.
Even if we are not traveling by car and decide to take the train, we will see more of these metal keypads, to open the doors of the train, access the restroom or to use the intercom facility. When we buy our ticket, we likely used a machine that had a rugged HMI.
Once we get to a destination, we may need cash; the ATM will have a metal keyboard or keypad to protect against damage. The building we are visiting may have access controls or an intercom to gain entry and, once we are inside, there could well be more such metal keypads to call the elevator and let it know which floor we desire to alight.
Keypads and Keyboards for rugged HMIs
When selecting switches for rugged HMIs with metal keypads and keyboards that can deal with heavy-handed users or vandals, these switches will differ from standard switches in terms of their construction materials and methods.
Typically, anti-vandal keypads will be of metal construction. This is most often stainless steel, but nickel (Ni) plated brass and anodized aluminum is also used for special applications. The switches will be sealed to prevent the ingress of moisture, either from weather conditions or something that is inadvertently (or maliciously) spilled on the HMI panel. Typically, this will be IP65, which means that the switch is fully protected against the effects of dust, and can face fluid spill without any issue.
It is fairly common for anti-vandal switches to include an option for a legend on the button to indicate the function. In many cases, this will be illuminated by an LED to provide feedback on operation in low-light conditions. As one of the world’s leading suppliers of keypad, keyboard and switch technology, Linepro offers several series of anti-vandal switches to suit different applications.
The LP 3307 TP anti-vandal metal keyboard from Linepro is an anti-vandal sealed pushbutton switch that incorporates standard touch pad for cursor movement. The switches are constructed from stainless steel with a scratch-resistant actuator to preserve appearance. ” LP 3307 TP” switches are rated for 10 million cycles and are suited to use in ambient conditions between -40°C and +70°C. LP 3307 TP switches are IP65 sealed and ROHS compliant.
As well as the LP3672 with 4 x 4 metal keyboard with character backlight, is useful in dark working conditions, where light is absent.
We have wide range of Vandal Proof Metal Keyboards for every application, for every industry. We have a dedicated R&D Team to innovate upon customized metal keyboards and keypads. You can view our range of metal keyboards in our web gallery. To know more and get consultation on Vandal Resistant metal keyboards, we are just a click away!