First impressions can make a lasting impact. When it comes to most electronic equipment, the initial experience a user may have is with the interface. At the same time, device manufacturers need the user interface to fit within the product’s overall design and budget. Often, a membrane switch is a solution that checks all the boxes and satisfies everyone.
The basics of membrane switches.
A membrane switch is an electronic control that can be used for user interfaces. It is comprised of multiple layers, including a graphic overlay and printed circuits on film membranes. When the user presses on a specific area of the membrane switch, the underlying circuit is closed, enabling action from the device, until the pressure is released. Membrane switches are common in many industries such as medical devices and industrial equipment.
Benefits of membrane switches
Incorporating a membrane switch into your user interface can offer several benefits. In fact, here are ten of them:
Durability – Because of its simple design and lack of moving components, membrane switches are known to be more durable than other types of controls.
Low profile – Thanks in part to the printed circuitry, membrane switches are very thin and require minimal space.
Design and ordering flexibility – Membrane switches can be custom designed to fit your application. You also have your choice of assembly options by ordering either a complete membrane switch or its individual layers.
Affordability – Compared to other interfaces such as touchscreens, membrane switches are cost-efficient without sacrificing the functionality.
Ability to withstand a variety of environmental factors – With an enclosed design and rugged outer materials, membrane switches can be resistant to moisture, water, chemicals, UV rays, heat, scratches, and more.
Clean surfaces – The smooth outer layer makes membrane switches easier to clean than mechanical switches with protruding buttons. They can also be designed with an anti-microbial film for medical or industrial controls.
Shielding – A shielding layer can be added to a membrane switch to block electromagnetic (EMI) or radio frequency interference.
Option of tactile or non-tactile – Depending on your application, you can add embossing and graphics to mimic the user experience of a button with a manual switch.
Lighting – Membranes switches can be enhanced with LED and backlighting.
Low circuitry and voltage requirements – Interacting layers are sealed together with adhesive to create a self-contained, low-voltage circuit in a compact package.
Manufacturing partner for membrane switches
Tapecon has ample experience helping clients design and produce high-quality membrane switches for their products. Our team is ready to provide materials recommendations and design consultation. We also offer exceptional manufacturing flexibility, with the ability to offer prototypes, pilots, and full production. Finally, you can rest easy knowing your membrane switch is manufactured in a USA, ISO-certified facility.
Get started with membrane switches.
At Tapecon, we have over 100 years of experience helping customers solve their complex product challenges. Learn more about our membrane switch applications.