From the perspective of a product designer, silicone keypads are the perfect balance between functionality and cost effectiveness. Silicone keypads have been used in millions of applications around the world, in everything from TV remote controls to the keypads on the international space station. Silicone keypads hold up to extreme temperatures and conditions when needed. The devices also cost less to manufacture than many alternatives.
Main Benefits of Silicone Rubber Keypads
• Silicone keypads can resist temperatures ranging from extremely cold to extremely hot. This means that they are ideal for applications in industrial equipment that is exposed to temperature extremes. It also means that they can stand up to temperature changes during device manufacture and shipment.
• Since silicone keypads have an elastic structure, there is virtually no noise when keys are pressed. This is ideal for noise-sensitive environments. It is also a positive for consumer environments where noise would be a distraction or annoyance.
• Silicone Keypads give the user tactile feedback as well as linear feedback The amount of feedback can be adjusted based on the snap ratio of the rubber keypad (alterations in the silicon density and in the shape of the keys)
• Silicone is not inherently opaque, and Silicone Dynamics can make keypads that allow light through them. This makes the custom silicone rubber keypads perfect for applications where the keypad will be back-lit.
• Silicone rubber keypads are water-resistant. This attribute makes them the keypad of choice for hospitals and other environments where devices must be sterilized and cleaned after use.
Rubber Keypad on PCB with Carbon Contacts
Silicone Keypad Use Cases
Silicone keypads are used in millions of devices and environments throughout the world. They are the most widely used input devices currently. There are a variety of potential use cases that demonstrate the strength of silicone keypads.
Remote Control Keypads –
Silicone is perfect for these devices because it allows quiet input of commands on the remote without interrupting the enjoyment of multimedia. Silicone is cheap, allowing for cost-effective remote production. The products stand up to repeat use over time. Many manufacturers also use silicone keypads because they can be back-lit, so the remotes can be used in the dark.
Industrial Control Panels –
Silicone is a neutral material that is electronically stable, and is resistant to temperature and moisture. For industrial applications, this is ideal because the keypads can be used in nearly any environment. Silicone keypads are used in industry for everything from complex input panels for detailed information input to larger keys for emergency use.
Patient Care Devices –
In hospitals, input devices must be ultra-reliable, but they also need to be resistant to germs. Silicone keypads can be sprayed directly with disinfectant. They are easy to use for people who do not have the hand strength to press firmer buttons. Many hospitals use silicone keypads in nurse-call-buttons for example.
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