"How much does it cost to make a membrane switch?” It’s a common question we get from customers (and likely one you’re pondering if you’re reading this article). Unfortunately, the short answer is…it depends.
Since membrane switches are custom-made and include so many variables, it’s not feasible to provide a clear-cut estimate without first reviewing the specifications and discussing a few areas. However, based on our experience, three main factors impact the cost of manufacturing a membrane switch.
The printed circuit is the most expensive layer of a membrane switch. Material choices and design (such as the number of traces) can significantly impact the unit’s cost. High-quality membrane switches typically use conductive silver ink, which provides the highest conductivity. Depending on application and budget requirements, lower-conductive inks such as carbon, copper, and alloys can be used.
Number of layers and optional features
Standard membrane switches have a minimal quantity of layers to function as a user interface. Keeping it simple is obviously the most cost-effective option. However, you can include an assortment of optional features in the switch design – from embossing and tactile elements to backlighting to protective coatings. These features either add a layer or are incorporated into an existing layer. Unless the feature is required for the application, it’s up to you whether the additional components’ value is worth the added cost. In addition, material selection of each layer factors into the final price.
Human and machine costs
Beyond the raw materials, the final price of your membrane switch will include costs such as engineering services, skilled labor, and manufacturing processes. Essentially, the more complex your design, the more time and effort it will take to produce. That being said, these are not areas where you necessarily want to cut corners; otherwise, it could cost you more in the long run.
Manufacturing partner for membrane switches
At Tapecon, we understand that while the user interface is essential, it’s only one of many components that you need to source – and that keeping costs down is imperative. That’s why, as a full-service custom converting partner, we aim to provide as much value as possible.
Through engineering consulting and expert materials selection, we can help you design the highest-quality membrane switch at the lowest price. We also keep manufacturability in mind throughout the process to ensure a smooth, cost-efficient transition from design to production.
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.