Choosing the right technology for application components is an important step in every project. To make your job easier, we lined up all the information you need about the two leading membrane keypad technologies to help you make the best choice for your equipment. In what follows, we explain what membrane and mechanical keypads are, how they differ from one another, and what benefits they bring.
What are membrane keypads?
Membrane keypads are keypads where the keys aren’t separate moving parts. By embedding the keys into one component, membrane keypads offer several advantages over mechanical membranes.
What are mechanical keypads?
In mechanical keypads, keys work as separate moving parts. The main difference between membrane and mechanical keypads is the fact that a membrane keypad is embedded and printed on the actual service where it’s operated.
Key benefits of membrane keypads
Membrane keypads usually cost less than mechanical keypads. You will surely find some exceptions to this rule, but most of the time, a membrane keypad will cost a fraction of the price you pay for a mechanical counterpart. This is especially important when purchasing bulk orders of keypads, where the cost difference can help you save a lot.
Protection against dust and debris
One of the key benefits of membrane keypads is the natural protection they offer from dirt, dust, and debris. The chances are that you have already owned and used a mechanical keypad before. You probably know how easy it was for dirt to stick underneath the keys. And when this occurs, the key might no longer function as well as it should. This problem is completely eliminated in membrane keypads. There is simply no room for dirt or debris to become stuck. That’s why so many businesses now choose membrane keypads for their applications.
Membrane keypads are better adapted to harsh or hostile conditions such as ultraviolet rays that all may damage electronic gadgets or devices. They are also designed to be resistant to chemicals.
Easy maintenance and repair
Membrane keypads are much easier to keep clean in comparison to other types of keyboards and switches. The dirt and grime mechanical keypads attract often become embedded or ingrained into the socket’s crevices. This creates a serious problem because cleaning and maintenance are more difficult. Membrane keypads are designed to be much easier to repair. When cleaning a mechanical keypad, the manufacturer removes the keys, cleans the device, and then puts the keys back one by one, which is a lot of work. In membrane keypads, it’s easy to spot which keys are damaged or not working, remove them, and clean them. The keypad will be as good as new.
More comfortable and ergonomic
Another benefit of membrane keypad lies in its ergonomics. Mechanical keypads need a greater amount of force to press down and activate. Moreover, they tend to be harder and stiffer than membrane keypads. This comes from the fact that mechanical keypads are made of hard plastic. Membrane keypads, on the other hand, are made of softer silicone rubber material. As a result, they are much more comfortable and ergonomic to operate.
Versatility and flexibility
Membrane keypads are simpler and easier to construct than mechanical ones. As a result, manufacturers can provide you with a custom-made keypad according to the unique requirements of your business. Moreover, membrane keypad can be easily printed from the screen or digitally printed without any compromise on the quality of the graphics. It’s impossible to achieve the same effect with mechanical keypads. This versatility and flexibility of membrane keypads is another serious advantage they offer over mechanical keypads.
Mechanical keypads come with one serious risk. Water can easily seep through the crevices and cracks, resulting in a short-circuit. This risk is completely eliminated with membrane keypads, which have a full seal. Manufacturers can even provide you with a waterproof membrane keypad with specific ratings.
We hope this article helps you assess the benefits and advantages of membrane keypads over the mechanical keypad.
At Melrose, we have many years of experience in providing our clients with high-quality membrane keypads matching even the most demanding applications in the aviation, healthcare, or military industries. Get in touch with us if you have any questions about membrane keypads, or you’re looking for a reliable manufacturer to take your application to the next level.