Membrane switches. What’s the big deal?

A membrane switch is a touch-sensitive electronic device that New England Keyboard creates through precise printing, cutting, and laminating of polyester or polycarbonate material

The History of Membrane Switches.
Believe it or not. Membrane switches have been around since 1970. Which is just a few years before New England Keyboard opened its doors. The earliest membrane switches were crafted to improve the appearance of the mechanical keyboards underneath them. These switches were screen-printed graphic overlays. They were not durable or stable and would often fail/wear over time.

The first really successful membrane switches became available in the 1980s. Using different materials these switches became dustproof, waterproof, IP68 rated, antibacterial, and UV resistant. In present-day? Membrane switches are tactical, infinitely customizable, easily mounted, and detailed with LEDs or optical fibers.

As we said earlier, these switches are extremely customizable and can be manufactured to meet your specific application needs. Let’s take a look at the different types.

Non-tactile
Easily create custom shapes to fit your application. Tactile means feedback, so that’s the only downfall here. Operators receive no feedback response when the buttons are pressed. Feedback will be visual, typically through a color change of LEDs or the change of LCD screen content.

Tactile
Domes can be added to membrane switches to provide tactile feedback. Domes can be made from stainless steel and polyester.

Mixed Panels
Just like the name suggests, non-tactile and tactile switches can be mixed in the same panel.

Kapton ® Membranes & Membrane Switches
NEK’s custom flat-panel membrane switches! Membrane keypads manufactured from etched Kapton┬« feature solid copper traces for high current carrying capacity, 0.5mm connector pitch, and extremely high temps. Special solvent-resistant textured overlays make them perfect for harsh environments. Suitable for most applications and totally customizable to your specifications.

Military, Industrial Equipment, In-the-Vehicle, and Commercial Kitchens
Membrane switches are some of the most versatile electronic accessories and benefit a wide range of industries. NEK’s membrane panels are currently used in military, industrial equipment, in-the-vehicle applications, and commercial kitchens, Depending on your product application, we can select a different material or design to meet your needs!

Looking for something that’s dustproof, impact-resistant, waterproof, easy-to-clean, UV resistant, and lightweight? At New England Keyboard, we can do that.

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