SSI Membrane Switch Technology: Stronger Than Ever
SSI Electronics has been a leading membrane switch manufacturer for more than 30 years. Despite advances in other technologies, membrane switches are still consistently utilized as user interfaces for a plethora of membrane switch applications, from industrial machinery to medical devices to agricultural equipment.
A key factor in the staying power of membrane switches is the ever-increasing robustness of this technology. Now, companies serving even the most rigorous of industries can count on proven membrane switch panel technology to provide a reliable, long-lasting reliable human-machine interface.
Membrane Switches: The Basics
A membrane switch, also called a membrane keyboard or membrane keypad, is a momentary switching device comprised of a series of flexible layers of polymer films and adhesives.
The upper most layer of a membrane switch panel is typically called a graphic overlay, and is produced by printing on the second surface of clear polyester or polycarbonate film. Circuitry is created by screen printing conductive silver ink.
Tactile devices can easily be incorporated into the membrane switch to provide feedback to the operator that the switch has been activated. Other electronic components can be implemented, as well, such as discrete LEDs, backlighting sources, and connectors that make membrane switches easy to integrate into other systems or devices.
Key Benefits of Membrane Switch Technology
- Moisture Resistance: Membrane switches are comprised of thin polymer films that are laminated together using powerful pressure-sensitive adhesives. Both the film itself and the adhesives used provide superior resistance to moisture without the need for individual seals around each key on the membrane keypad.
- Easy to Clean/Sanitize: The relative flatness of membrane switch panels make them far easier to clean and sanitize than other HMI options. The appliance, medical, and dental industries have long utilized membrane switch technology for this very reason.
- Low Cost: Compared to mechanical keys, touch screens, capacitance switches, or other interface technologies, membrane switches are generally the most economical option. Membrane switches not only provide the lowest per-piece price, but also the lowest tooling costs among all competing devices.
- Easily Customizable: Thanks to the above-mentioned low tooling costs, membrane switches are easy for designers to customize. Size, shape, look, and feel can all be tailored to user requirements to create truly custom membrane switches.
- Integrated Graphics: Unlike other technologies, membrane switches allow for the seamless integration of complex graphics. Membrane switch panels can include nearly limitless graphic options, from logos to fades to multi-colored designs. This gives designers an easy and effective way to differentiate their products from the competition.
SSI’s Membrane Switch Options
In addition to custom membrane switches that can be tailored to meet your unique specifications, SSI is one of few membrane keypad manufacturers that provides a line of stock membrane switches. SSI’s membrane switches are an easy and cost-effective way to take initial steps toward integrating membrane switch panels into your equipment. Get a quote today or give us a call at 800-866-8510 with your keypad requirements.
Using Hybrid Keypads as an Alternative to Membrane Switches
Membrane switches from SSI Electronics are a reliable and versatile solution for a range of applications, but for those desiring a more unique design, we also offer hybrid keypads. Our hybrid keypads provide the same features as our membrane switches with the added look and feel of a rubber keypad. The custom rubber keypad embedded into the design ensures that your users know their finger is on the key, provides a superior tactile response, and provides an incredibly fresh look to the user’s product.
Contact Us for Membrane Switches
Download our membrane switch design guide for more information (see “Featured Download” at left). Contact SSI to discuss membrane switch options for your application or request a quote or call 800-866-8510 today.