Rubber keypads can be found in test instruments, chip and pin devices, hospital call alarms, fire alarm panels and many more electronic control systems.
What materials are used to produce rubber keypads?
Rubber keypads are produced in silicone rubber by means of compression mould. Moulding the keypads in silicone means we can cater easily for specific material characteristics that are required, such as:
Conductive silicone keypads;
High Temperature Keypads;
Multi colored keypads (color matched to pantone references);
UL Flame Retardant Keypads;
FDA approved silicone keypads;
Medical Grade silicone keypads;
Anti-bacterial silicone keypads;
The most important feature of any keypad is how it operates and feels. There are several methods available:
Carbon Pills - Keypads can be designed with specific force and travel to ensure tactile feel, the keypad would then have carbon pills to create the switch between the keypad and the PCB
Metal Domes Layer - Keypads can be designed and supplied with a tactile metal dome layer assembled. This generally means a short operating travel but a strong “click” feeling as the keypad actuates the metal dome switch.
Poly dome Layer - Keypads can be designed and supplied with a tactile poly dome layer assembled. This generally means a short operating travel but a good “click” feeling as the keypad actuates the poly dome switch.
We can also supply keypads assembled to a flexible printed circuit board with connector tail ready for customer to assemble. After moulding the silicone rubber keypads can be finished in several different ways to add further value to the product.
Printing and Finishing Options:
It is extremely important to get the final finish quality of the keypad correct and there are many options available-
Multi color printing (all print colors can be pantone matched)
Spray color finish
Metallic spray finish
Negative printing. Often used on translucent keypads to offer backlit effects
Laser Etching and used to create backlit legends.
After printing it is important to add a protective finish to ensure any print or colored spray does not wear after use:
Clear matte silicone protective spray coating - This offers good wear protection and a smooth silky finish that also helps reduce dust and dirt attraction.
Clear silicone protective spray coating with antibacterial additive - This offers both wear protection and also antibacterial resistance.
Clear matte PU based protective spray coating - This coating offers a hard smooth surface feel and ensures excellent wear resistance for any printing or spraying
Epoxy Resin - This coating should ensure the button tops cannot wear during the life of the keypad. The resin is applied to the button top creating a high quality clear domed gloss finish cap finish.
Plastic Caps - We can quote to produce an injection tool that will allow a bespoke set of plastic caps to be assembled to the keypad, ensuring perfect fit. The caps can then be printed rather than the keypad or produced in clear PC / ABS material.