Membrane Switch Construction Elements

membrane switch, hallmark nameplate

We at Hallmark Nameplate are notorious for producing the highest quality products and using our experience and knowledge in the technology field to the utmost. We keep not just our products, but also our customers, at the top of our priority list when it comes to the task at hand, and membrane switch production is no exception. We’re fully equipped to assist with every step along the way, allowing you to rest easy knowing that your upcoming product is in great hands.

At Hallmark Nameplate, we are proud to offer membrane switches, featuring a robust construction which is completely sealed from the outside environment. We manufacture membrane switches in both tactile and non-tactile variations, which support a wide variety of designs and applications. Non-tactile switches are more robust, completely sealed from the external environment, and are capable of more than five million applications. Tactile switch types, on the other hand, are internally vented for a complete seal, available in SS dome, polydome, and hydro form dome constructions. They are also capable of more than one million actuations.

Membrane switches are non-standard, which means that each one is specially designed for your product specifications. This is ideal for medical equipment, computer peripherals, and even the military and aerospace industries. This allows a user interface with equipment while protecting the machinery from contaminants, environmental hazards, and debris.

Ultimately, there are three types of membrane switch construction elements: conductive silver, copper flex, and PCB-based.

Conductive Silver
Silver flex membrane switches are the most common construction for flexible, custom membrane switches. It’s also the most popular switch construction due to its affordability, especially when compared to bulky, costly electromechanical switch assemblies. Silver flex membrane switches feature very thin, flexible layers of material, of which some layers use screen printed silver and carbon conductive links, and are separated by an adhesive layer. Conductive silver can be used for tactile and non-tactile construction. It’s also great for LEDs and resistors. A great advantage of using conductive silver is that they’re lead-free. Cure temperatures are much lower than some other elements. Conductive silver also works very well for steady state temperature environments, particularly at extreme temperatures. Extremely thin construction makes conductive silver great for saving precious design space on your membrane switch. It can also be easily cleaned.

Copper Flex
Copper flex membrane switch panels are made by laminating a very thin sheet of copper to a flexible film substrate, and then chemically etched away. Copper traces are left as a result. Copper flex has the ability to provide higher density traces. It also has SMT low-profile components and is available for tactile and non-tactile construction. Copper flex membrane switches are ideal for smaller designs, where dense circuit patterns or trace routing limitations exist. The design also allows the ability to accommodate more complex circuit patterns while still maintaining the flexibility of a membrane switch. The copper flex keypads also have the advantage of being able to hard solder active and passive components into the assembly, making it a great choice in high-vibration, high-reliability environments.

PCB Based
A PCB (aka print circuit board) is typically made of copper-clad fiber infused into a resin material. The PCB membrane switch construction uses a PCB as the main structure or support substrate, with the membrane switch on the front of the PCB assembly, and the display, along with any other discrete components, on the back side of the PCB PCB Based membrane switches are available in tactile, non-tactile, and capacitive switches. They are also versatile in that they can be single sided, double sided, or multilayered in construction. PCB Based membrane switches also allow for multiple connector options.

Membrane switches from Hallmark Nameplate can be specifically designed to meet your environmental considerations. Our switches are internally vented and sealed to protect your equipment from contaminants. Hallmark Nameplate’s membrane switches can also be provided with or without terminating connectors as well as:

  • LED Indicator Lights
  • Backlight (LED, fiber optic, EL)
  • Chemical and Weather resistant
  • ESD/EMI/RFI Shielding
  • Various connector configurations

Contact us at Hallmark Nameplate today to learn more about the various constructions and product features we can offer, and learn how we can customize your membrane switch to meet and exceed your unique application requirements. With our experience and our long history of producing high-quality products for various needs, you can rely on Hallmark Nameplate to deliver what you need and beyond, and complete the job efficiently.

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