An Introduction To Membrane Switches

Membrane Switch Stackup
Membrane Switch Stackup

Over the past few years, there has been a dramatic upsurge in the use of Membrane Switches in medical, communication, instrumentation, and appliance products. These touch sensitive devices serve as an economical and reliable human-machine interface. Membrane Switch technology is particularly a good solution in applications where frequent cleaning or environmental conditions are an issue.

Not to forget, the aesthetics of Membrane Switches take them to an altogether different level in comparison to conventional switches. The following section provides a brief overview of Membrane Switches, their construction and types.

Membrane Switch: Basic Construction

A typical Membrane Switch comprises of the following components

  • Graphic overlay
  • Graphic adhesive
  • Top circuitry
  • Spacer adhesive
  • Bottom circuitry
  • Backer adhesive

In a Membrane Switch, there is a film comprised of multiple layers: static bottom circuitry, top circuitry, spacers and graphic overlay. Generally, polyesters and polycarbonates are used for making these layers because both these materials are easy to print on, can be easily die cut and embossed, and available in a wide variety of textures.

Types Of Membrane Switches
Membrane Switches can broadly be classified into two categories- switches with tactile feedback and switches without tactile response.

  • Non-tactile Membrane Switches: They are counted to be very reliable and economical at the same time. One of the biggest advantages with non-tactile membrane switches is that a wide variety of custom shapes and sizes can be fabricated for the active keypad areas. The operator doesn’t get a direct feedback from such a switch but this problem can be nullified by use of LED indicator or display change.
  • Tactile Membrane Switches: The snap action of tactile membrane switches is readily perceived by the operator. Tactile response is achieved by dome embossing of the graphic overlay.

Already, the Membrane Switch Technology has penetrated deep in manufacturing and engineering industries. It costs less and provides a robust and aesthetically appealing human-machine interface. With technological advancement, these switches will only get better and better.

Source: ArticleBase by Author Lorry Lou on behalf of RSP Inc.; RSP Inc. brings to you the finest range of Membrane Switches in China. The company has over 50 years of experience in designing and manufacturing Membrane Switches, Printed Graphics, Silicone Keypads, Touch Screens, Circuit Boards, Plastic Molding, EI Lamps etc. The company undertakes contract manufacturing as well.

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(Image Credit –RSP Inc. )

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