When it comes to switch technologies, engineers can choose from a wide range of types, including mechanical switches, capacitive switches, and membrane switches. Let’s focus on the latter type now. When it comes to membrane switches, you can choose between flexible and rigid membranes with assemblies made of different metals, continuous scrolling switches, or technologies designed for rugged environments.
And the choice you make is more important than you think. The switch is the component that breaks the electrical circuit and either diverges the current from one conductor to another or interrupts it. If you choose a poor-quality switch, it will make an impact on the entire application. Each switch type comes with its unique benefits, so it’s worth choosing switches based on more than just aesthetics.
In this article, we zoom in on the best practices for choosing the right switch technology for your project.
Read on to find out the key criteria for selecting the switch technology for your application and learn more about your options.
1. How will the product be used?
At Melrose Nameplates, we have come across a wide range of applications that use switches. And each of those projects came with its unique intended use cases. That’s why it’s essential that you first understand which type of switch will work best for your application. This helps engineers and product designers to choose the right switch for your project.
For instance, if your application is a medical instrument, a membrane switch is a great pick. Membrane switches work well in medical electronics because they have a low profile, are durable, lightweight, easy to clean, are RoHS-compliant. These features of membrane switches make them a great match for medical electronics that have a small number of features, are portable and require excellent visibility. In membrane switches, graphics are visible from a 180° radius. Moreover, you can cover membrane switches in antimicrobial films that help to keep medical facilities clean.
As you can see, the intended use of your product is going to play a significant role in determining the right switch technology.
2. In which environments will your product be used?
Products that require switch technologies are used in a wide range of environments. While some of them need to be more resilient when exposed to rugged conditions, others will require switches that can withstand exposure to liquids.
And as you can probably guess, some switches are better suited to particular environments than others. That’s why the environment in which your product will be used is another key consideration for choosing the switch technology for your project.
For instance, one of the common risks is that a product becomes damaged by a chemical spill or water. If you want for your application to function in environments where the product might be subject to liquids, a membrane switch is again an excellent choice. We can seal a membrane switch with a full perimeter seal or gasket. Such design and material choices can protect your switch from liquid spills thanks to sealing the enclosure where the switch is mounted. As a result, you get a sealed membrane switch that offers high visible status using low-profile surface-mounted LEDs.
So, make sure to consider the target environment of your product. Will it be subjected to harsh environments with exposure to UV rays, sunlight, chemicals, extreme humidity or temperatures, or dust and debris? If so, this will impact the choice of your switch technology.
3. Consider the look of your switch
If you’re looking to develop a product that builds its competitive advantage through elegant and outstanding design, you need to carefully consider the aesthetic value of your touch switches.
On the one hand, they need to enable the right functionality – for example, continuous scrolling and sliding action. On the other hand, they should be aesthetically pleasing and require a low actuation force. Touch controls are a popular choice among engineers looking to improve the appearance of their smart appliances.
By using well-designed switches, you can create the feel of the capacitive touch switch at a reasonable cost. If you’re looking to develop a product with a high-tech and modern aesthetic, questions such as the look, color, material, and backlighting of the switch are very important.
4. Consider the material for your switch
The most common materials used to make graphic overlays for membrane switches are polyester and polycarbonate. Every overlay starts with the clear material, and graphics are printed on its reverse side.
You can use a variety of finishes to visually enhance the final look of your switch. Your options include embossing, texturing, and finish, as well as backlighting in various colors. Most of the time, membrane switches are manufactured to fit a particular project. You can choose from a virtually unlimited range of styles, switch sizes, and colors.
If you have any questions about the best switch technology for your project, get in touch with us. Our experts are ready to advise you and find a membrane switch that takes your application to the next level.