The switch panel comprised of membrane switches is 0.7–1 mm thick. The only thing limiting the appearance is printing technology.
As the name suggests, membrane switches are manufactured on a transparent membrane, by means of printing technology. If necessary, there may be several layers.
The topmost layer is usually visible to the user as keys printed on the surface of the membrane. The lower layer conducts electricity used to transmit information about a contact to the control circuit. The control circuit may also be further away from the device, at the end of a wire.
Transparent parts or holes can also be made on the switch panel, for leds and displays and more traditional adjustment knobs.
The switch panel can have touch control switches or membrane keys
If the buttons should have a better feel or if a touch control switch is too sensitive for the demand, membrane switches can be used.
In such cases, small metal arcs are placed underneath the membrane whose elasticity can be used to adjust the sensitivity of the key. The stiffness of the arc thus affects the force needed to press the key.
Patterns withstand abrasion and wear and tear
One advantage with controllers manufactured with the membrane switch technique is that patterns and symbols on buttons are extremely resistant to wear and tear.
The reason is that all the patterns and colours are printed on the interior surface of the membrane, where they are almost completely protected against mechanical wear and tear.
Polyester sheeting can also be used as membrane material. This type of sheeting has good durability for chemicals and UV-light.
Membrane switches have replaced obsolete buttons almost everywhere
Modern membrane switches have replaced obsolete buttons and knobs in most uses, such as on control terminals in machinery and equipment.
Membrane switches can be easily installed into place with double-sided tape and they take a really small amount of space. Furthermore, membrane switches can be designed with almost total freedom, because the only limitations are constraints imposed by printing technology.
The advantages of membrane switches are:
- Not much space needed
- Long service life
- Protection against spills and dust
- Freedom of design
- Chemical resistance
- Ease of installation (self-adhesive)
- Structure with ESD/EMC/EMI protection
Membrane switch vs. mechanical switch
There is a place for mechanical switches also, but in most uses the advantages of membrane switches over obsolete mechanical switches are indisputable.
Membrane switches are thin and extremely resistant to wear and tear. The structure also makes them relatively dust- and spill-proof. If necessary, membrane switches can be manufactured to withstand highly demanding conditions.
It is also possible to emboss patterns, such as numbers, letters and braille, on the surface of a membrane switch. The keyboard can also have a backlight.
The electronics of a membrane key is located under the membrane, protected against dirt and other factors impeding the operation of the device. The same cannot be said for most mechanical switches that may be difficult to protect.
Why should you buy membranes from us?
We have been operating in this industry since 1992, so we know precisely what we do. We are repeatedly praised especially for our flexibility, high quality and delivery reliability. We often support our customers already in the prototype and design phase. All work related to the switch membranes and operating and front panels we deliver is done in Finland.
Please contact us
Request an offer or contact us for any other reason. Our up-to-date contact details are available here »