Membrane Keypad Manufacturer: The Basic Concept
Today, membrane keypad Manufacturer deliver high-quality membrane keyboards throughout the world. The reason being, membrane keypads have become an integral part of several electronics. You will find them in hospital equipment, telephone systems and other wide variety of applications.
For a lame man, there is very little difference between a standard keyboard and a membrane keyboard. After all, both these keyboards do look alike in first glance. However, as you pay more attention, you will notice the difference. Except for the first glance, there is nothing common in these keyboards.
The membrane keypad is an entirely different kind of peripheral. It has its own characteristics. It holds great importance in the industry. In the course of this article, we will discuss the basic concept of a membrane keypad.
Making of Membrane Keypad Switch
Membrane switch refers to the activating of an electrical pathway. You can use it for a wide category of methods of switching. The pathway is available in different sizes. You can use a pathway as thick as a PCB or you can use a thin sheet of polyester.
It is important to understand the basic components of a membrane switch. After all, they have become an important part of modern electronics.
Basic Components - Membrane Keypad Manufacturer
Below are the three basic components of the membrane switch.
- Interface Layer
- Circuit Layer/ Switching
- Adhesive Layer
Interface Layer - Membrane Keypad Manufacturer
The interface layer is a critical component of the membrane switch. After all, the consumer pays close heed to the aesthetic value. They would want the product to last for many years to come. For example, you are planning to invest in an expensive microwave oven. Of course, you would want it for many years to come.
The first thing that you would want is that it offers great features. After features, you will think about the design. How many of us often leave a model simply because it is not pleasing to the eye. Therefore, it is important to come up with a smart interface layer of the membrane. After all, the user will be seeing and interacting with the interface layer.
Membrane keypad manufacturer does have several choices in case of the interface layer. They can use capacitive switch overlays, rubber keypads or graphical overlays.
Circuit Layer is the second most important part of the membrane switch. After the user likes the looks of the product, next would be interacting with the product. A product that is pleasing to the eye, but is difficult to operate does not work.
The lack of seamless interaction would turn off the consumer. Therefore, it is important to choose the right kind of switching layer. Manufacturers generally have three main types of switching methods. These methods include a capacitive switch, mechanical switch and polyester domes.
Every switch comes with a different tactile feel. In addition, it does play an important role in how the consumer would perceive the value in the product.
Last, but not the least, we have the adhesive layer. It is important for the manufacturer to understand that the same adhesive will not work everywhere. In fact, different environments require different adhesives.
For instance, the switches might be exposed to sunlight, high humidity, and salty spray. Likewise, some switches would have to function in a place with extremely high temperatures.
It is not possible to use the same adhesive to generate optimal results. Thus, it is important for the membrane switches to function through environmental trails.
Customizing the Membrane Switch
The manufacturer offers different customization options. The type of membrane switch you choose mainly depends upon your requirements.
Your membrane switch components can include ESD protection, Printed Circuit Board and LEDs. Likewise, it also incorporates metal panes, light blocks, and several others.
Each option has its own benefits. They add on to the aesthetic value of the electronics. In addition, they offer additional features.
Next in line is the specification of these components. There are certain sets of standards that they need to meet in order to ensure high quality. For instance, they need to have a certain ingress protection rating.
The IP rating reflects the degree of protection that a device has against external factors including water, dust or different body parts.
The Working of Membrane Keyboard
Now that we have a basic understanding of membrane switch, let us focus on the working of membrane keyboards. These keys consist of separate moving parts in the traditional keyboard. However, that is not the case with a membrane keyboard.
Membrane keyboard manufacturer uses a different technique to design and develop these keyboards. Instead of having a separate working facility, the membrane keyboard works as one. In this keyboard, the keys are part of the entire device. It is a single equipment.
If you are still unclear, let us illustrate in a simpler way. Think of having a membrane keyboard that consists of pressure pads. These pads have symbols printed on them. Symbols can be letters, alphabets, special signs, etc.
Now when the user presses any of the pressure pads, the equipment detects the pressure. It gives the signal that a key is being pressed. In the membrane keyboard, the user will not have to press very hard. It delivers a minimal amount of tactile feedback.
There is no denying that it makes easier for the user to press the key. However, at the same time, it does offer lower accuracy. It means users get easier key press at the cost of low accuracy. In certain situations, low accuracy might not be a problem.
How exactly does membrane keyboard work?
The general overview did help to understand the basic concept of the membrane keypad. Now focus on the exact working of it.
For starters, you should understand that exact working does vary from model to model. A certain ABC model will have a different working format in comparison to another BCD model. Nonetheless, the membrane keypad manufacturer says that the basic functionality is almost the same.
Most of these keyboards rely on an electrical connection between circuits and the keyboard. These circuits are present under the keys that a user presses. When the user is not pressing the key, the circuit is broken. Membrane keyboard manufacturer calls it the “Normal State”.
Now, when the user presses the key on the membrane keypad, there is some electrical connection. First, the top membrane will push into the bottom membrane. This push would lead to the registration of an electrical circuit. Thus, allowing the electronics to register that a key has been pressed.
A typical membrane keyboard comprises of different layers. It has an upper layer, a center layer, and the bottom layer. The upper and bottom layer contains conductive traces.
The Center layer, on the other hand, has a filling of certain insert substances. Some manufacturers even use air as the inert substance. Now when a user presses the key, it forces the top membrane layer into the bottom layer.
This would allow the conductive traces to flow. In most cases, membrane keyboard manufacturers lift open the switch on a membrane keyboard. The reason being, the current is unable to cross the gap without the help of the upper membrane layer.
What does Membrane Keypad Manufacturer Prefer: Tactile Membrane or Non-Tactile Membrane?
Consumers usually have the option of both tactile as well as non-tactile membrane. What they choose greatly depends upon the electronics’ requirements. Nonetheless, it seems that the non-tactile membrane is a favorite of many manufacturers.
It seems that a non-tactile membrane is cost-efficient. It is robust and it has a reliable design. The non-tactile membrane lacks tactile feedback. It is straight and simple. Since it lacks the tactile feedback, thus it uses other methods to identify feedback.
The non-tactile membrane uses several methods to identify that a connection took place. Manufacturer use beeping sound or LED light that blinks. Similarly, they even use a certain sound that indicates that the user pressed a button.
In short, we can say that when a user presses the button, they can either see an LED light or hear a sound. This indicates that the desired action did take place. Incorporating this kind of non-tactile switch increases the lifespan of the membrane.
Tactile Membrane Switch
Tactile membrane switch is the other type of membrane switch. One of the major reasons behind its popularity is its ability to provide direct feedback. So, when a user presses the button, he or she will instantly feel that a connection took place.
There are several ways to design a tactile membrane switch. However, the most famous one is dome emboss the keys on a graphical overlay. The manufacturers tend to pay more in terms of building cost. In addition, they need to have an additional embossing tool. These factors contribute to their cost.
Despite being expensive in comparison to the non-tactile membrane, it is common. Consumers, in general, prefer this type of direct method. They believe that this provides more satisfaction instead of non-tactile methods.
Second Design Technique
Another effective design technique is to emboss the polydome. It is basically the upper switch layer. Like the first method, the manufacturer would need an embossing tool. So, that is an additional cost to the overall expense.
It is not as popular as the first technique because it offers a milder tactile response. In short, the consumer will not feel a prominent snap action. In addition, the temperature has a direct effect on it. It is not suitable for high temperatures.
The high temperature might have an adverse effect on its snap feedback.
To ensure that you get the best tactile feedback and optimum snap, use a metal dome. However, there is the issue of cost. If the membrane switch comprises of several keys, the metal domes will be extremely expensive.
Nonetheless, the manufacturer does use the metal dome for efficiency and effectiveness. In case, you use a metal dome, you need to pay heed to certain points. For instance, ensure that the graphic overlay of the keys is fully embossed.
This will help accommodate the height of the metal dome. Thus, you will still need an embossing tool. The manufacturers also need to ensure that the metal dome that they use for the tactile membrane should have a rigid back.
This would ensure that the metal dome does not invert after the user presses it. After all, an inverted metal dome will lead to the failure of a tactile membrane.
NOTE: Inverted Metal Dome is among the major failures of a Tactile Membrane.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Membrane Keyboards
A membrane keyboard tends to offer a variety of advantages. Thus, consumers around the globe tend to reach out to membrane keypad manufacturer instead of any other manufacturer.
Below, we did list some advantages of the membrane keyboards.
- The keyboards are of a comprehensive size. They are of small size and are compact.
- The slim design offers the convenience of use. It means you can incorporate them with almost any type of electronics.
- They produce minimal noise during usage. Something most users would love to have from a keypad.
- Membrane keypads have a longer shelf life as they do not feature separate moving parts of the keys.
Below are some common disadvantages of a membrane keyboard.
- Consumers are a fan of tactile feedback. However, the membrane keypad lacks this feel. It produces minimal to zero tactile feel.
- Cleaning of the membrane keypad is a daunting task. The major reason behind this is that the keys are part of the overall equipment. They do not have separate moving parts.
Membrane keypads have become an integral part of modern electronics. Therefore, it is imperative to use the services of a well-reputed membrane keypad manufacturer. Keypad-FD is among the best manufacturers.
It produces a wide variety of high-quality membrane keyboards. They have years of experience in the respective industry to meet high-quality standards.
The manufacturer will ensure timely delivery. So, you can reach out to them at any time of the day. Their knowledgeable staff will resolve all your issues.
They will provide you with complete feedback on how to go about choosing your own membrane keypads.