The internal structure of a keypad has a significant impact on the overall experience a user will have while operating it. Manufacturers use different mounting styles to achieve the desired effects in the sounds and feel of the keypad. In fact, the mounting style is the primary factor that helps to estimate the eventual build of the keypad and develop a product that offers the required experience.
In this article, we explore one of such mounting styles called gasket mount. What does it mean when a keypad comes with a gasket mount? When should you consider using it for your project? Read on to find out.
What is a gasket mount?
Let’s start by defining a keypad’s mounting style. A mounting style describes how the plate or PCB is secured in the keypad’s housing. Given that such components need to be secured within the keypad’s structure, manufacturers came up with several methods of achieving that. While some types of mounting are rigid, others offer more flexibility. The mounting style will affect the assembly method, the sound keys make when pressed, and the general typing feel of the board.
A gasket mount is a mounting style that locates a gasket material between the plate and keypad housing. This material goes both on the top and bottom sides of the board. As a result, the board gets a more cushioned feel because the plate isn’t in direct contact with other metal components of the keypad. A gasket mount can be made of many different materials and form factors.
NEMA ratings are an important aspect of gasketing. The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) is a non-profit organization that was established to establish professional requirements for the manufacture of electrical and medical imaging equipment. NEMA works to create industry standards in the areas of protection, innovation, interoperability, the environment, and business development. NEMA ratings define degrees of protection against substances such as water and dust.
Gasket mount – pros and cons
The undeniable advantage of a gasket mount is that it tends to make keypads quieter in operation. The cushioned feel dampens the sound and feel of the keypad.
Another pro of using a gasket mount is that it helps to seal the keypad against moisture. This is especially important for appliances that are used in humid environments where moisture could affect their operation.
Does a gasket mount come with any disadvantages? The only con is the fact that it tends to be more expensive than alternative mounting styles.
Why use gasket mounts? Case study
Our customer, an industry leader in at-home beauty devices, came to us with an issue that consumers were having with one of their products. Customers complained to the company’s distributor that the system stopped working after a period of time.
The product was a skincare device composed of a membrane switch with an on/off control keypad, vibration level, and displacement was included in the product. The keypad was often exposed to condensation moisture due to the product’s use case (but not submersion).
The keypad, which had been designed by a different vendor, became a problem after the distributor started getting feedback from customers who claimed the system had stopped working over time.
Our team discovered that the development of crystalline dendritic structures allowed the conductive silver traces to scatter over the conductive silver membrane switch tracks. This is called silver migration.
We suggested a temporary fix for the issue in the form of RTV silicone adhesive added to the tail escape site during assembly. The construction of a completely sealed membrane switch gasket was made possible by the use of next-generation plastic molds.
Get high-quality keypads from Melrose
Our experienced engineers know how to design switches and keypads that have a soft tactical feel, improving the user experience of every product we manufacture. Longevity, adaptability, and usability are all key factors we take into account when designing products for our customers.
Melrose offers a variety of options, so you’re likely to find a combination that suits your needs best. Get in touch with our consultants to secure high-quality keypads and membrane switches for your application.
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