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USER

INTERFACES
Membrane Switches, Touch Panels,

& Silicone Rubber Keypads

TECHNICAL ENGINEERING GUIDE

Delivering Quality Since 1952.

USER INTERFACES

DELIVERING QUALITY SINCE 1952.


Epec Engineered Technologies designs and manufactures customized, built-to-print, performance-critical
products for all sectors of the electronics industry.
At Epec, we have a powerful story to tell a history of great achievements, world class talent, and
innovative breakthroughs, but most importantly, a story of helping our customers deliver their high quality
products to market, faster.
Epec has a sixty year history of reliability, on time delivery, and financial stability. Our continuous investment
in people, technology, and new ideas are making it easier for our customers to do great work.
We have built the industrys leading supply chain platform and technology team, with Epec UL certified
manufacturing operations in Shenzhen, Taipei, and North America, to seamlessly manage the needs of our
customers product life cycles.
With more than 100 dedicated employees throughout North America and Asia, Epec Engineered
Technologies has become one of the fastest growing companies in the Industry.

TECHNOLOGY OVERVIEW
Epec has built one of the Industrys leading global supply chain and engineering platforms.
As one of North Americas leading PCB and built-to-print engineered product companies, Epecs annual
capital expenditures are consistently among the highest in the industry.
Our investments are focused on world class engineering design systems, such as EpecDFx, and on
continually improving our global technology platform, to accelerate our customers time to market.

ENGINEERING OVERVIEW
Epec's technical engineering and manufacturing solutions have helped thousands of leading companies
reduce their time to market.
With 24/7 North American engineering support we provide our customers the most in-depth feedback, with
exact accuracy, eliminating delays and quality problems.
Epec can provide complete engineering and design services on all our engineered products, from concept
through production in a quick and efficient time frame. With over sixty years of experience and knowledge
across diverse industries, Epec has the ability to think outside the box and create innovative designs and
solid manufacturing solutions.
Our technical staff will work with you to generate material specifications, product renderings, complete
documentation and prototypes.

USER INTERFACES - MEMBRANE SWITCHES

MEMBRANE SWITCH DESIGN GUIDE


A membrane switch is a touch sensitive device created by the printing, cutting and laminating of
precision thin film plastic materials. Low-voltage, low-current momentary electrical contact is made and
retained by applying finger-tip force to the front surface of the switch.
Membrane switches are primarily utilized with microprocessor based control systems found in medical,
communication, instrumentation and appliance products.
Membrane switch technology has become a reliable front panel solution where environmental concerns
or frequent cleaning are an issue. The sealed nature of the technology coupled with its reliability and
ability to offer tremendous aesthetic flexibility make it the solution of choice for many industries.

TYPES OF MEMBRANE SWITCHES


Non-Tactile Membrane Switches
The most reliable and economical membrane switch is the non-tactile type. However, they do not give
the user direct feedback from the switch. Using a LED indicator or display change can sometimes
overcome this drawback. Non-tactile switches also have the advantage of easily creating custom
shapes and sizes of the active keypad areas.
Tactile Membrane Switches
Tactile membrane switches have a snap action that is clearly noticeable to the operator. Conductive
stainless steel snap domes have the best action. They can also eliminate the need for a flexible
upper circuit layer. To ease the final mating of the switch and avoid the possibility of a dome becoming
inverted a .015" - .020" backing layer can be provided. Hydro formed polydomes offer a milder tactile
response and a narrower operating temperature range then the metal dome.
Because of the relatively short travel of membrane switches, it is often necessary to provide
users with some type of feedback. Feedback can be visual, audible, or tactile. Visual or audible
feedback should be a consideration in the electronics design.
Domes can be added to a membrane switch to provide tactile feedback. There are
two types of domes that we use in membrane switches, stainless steel and polyester.
There is no significant difference in reliability between these two dome technologies.
Mixed Panels
Non-tactile and tactile switches can be mixed in the same panel. This can be desirable
when a large active area is needed for a particular switch or perhaps
hidden maintenance or programming switches.
PCB Backed Membrane Switches
A printed circuit board can be used for the lower circuit. The
board can provide structural support and incorporate numerous
surface mount components. This assembly can be bonded to your
PCB or sub-contractors can be utilized to provide this type of construction.

USER INTERFACES - GRAPHIC OVERLAY

USER INTERFACE
The Graphic Overlay
The appearance of the graphic overlay is integral to the operator's view of the equipment.
Nearly any colors can be produced. The finest line (or space between lines) that can be effectively
printed is a .006" thickness. The maximum line screen is 230 LPI (lines per inch) for graduated
halftones and process printing.
Embossing can be used with either tactile or non-tactile switches but pillow embossing alone does not
give a tactile response.
Display Windows
Integral display windows and LED indicators can be easily incorporated into the membrane switch
design. Single point and block LED's have the least limitations. They will perform well with any of the
material surface finishes. However, for greater diffusion a matte or textured surface finish is preferred.
LED's cannot come through the active area of a tactile switch, although graphically they can be made to
appear as a part of the switch.
Integral (surface mounted) single point LED's can be mounted onto the bottom layer lower circuit. A wide
range of colors, including bi-color, are available. Termination can then be provided from the same
connector tail as the switches, if the graphic layer is embossed to accommodate the LED's. The graphic
does not need to be embossed if the LED termination is provided on a separate tail.
Digital windows can be designed to enhance the specific display that will be used. Texture will distort the
appearance of displays that are not directly against the overlays. Matte and gloss finishes work best.
Translucent filtering inks can be printed to improve a display's appearance.
For an LCD the window will remain un-colored. The matte (anti-glare) finish offers more scratch
resistance than the gloss (clear) finish but may diffuse displays further then .060" away. A red LED
display's appearance will be improved with the addition of either a RED or SMOKE GRAY color. Use red
to achieve better readability in low light conditions or smoke gray when used in brighter conditions or
with other colored LED's.
The concept is the same for use with Green or Yellow (amber) LED's. Use GREEN or AMBER yellow
filters, respectfully, for low light conditions or smoke gray in brighter conditions.
DEADFRONTING (hidden until lit) is an additional option that can be included if the legends are against
a dark background.
Selective Texturing
Selective texturing is a screen-printed application of a scratch resistant surface hardcoat to the front
face of the graphic overlay. The purpose is to improve the clarity of display windows or to visually
emphasize specific areas.
A textured hardcoat can be applied to glossy or anti-glare material. This results in the best display
windows. Another method is to apply a clear hardcoat to textured material.

USER INTERFACES - MEMBRANE SWITCHES

MATERIAL SELECTION
A variety of overlay materials are used in membrane switch applications.
Polycarbonate is a commonly used material because it is easy to print on, die cut and emboss
making it a very cost effective alternative. The disadvantage of polycarbonate is that it begins to show
signs of wear sooner than some of the alternate materials.
In most applications polycarbonate overlays will last a minimum of 100,000 cycles during life cycle
testing. Uncoated polycarbonate is also susceptible to damage from a variety of chemicals. If a
polycarbonate overlay is going to be in an environment that will subject it to chemicals, a hardcoat
should be used to protect the overlay.
Polyester is a more robust material that has superior
life cycle and chemical resistance properties. In life
cycle testing, polyester shows no signs of wear at
1,000,000 cycles.
Polyester is also more difficult to die cut resulting in more
frequent reblading of steel rule dies.
Both polyester and polycarbonate are available with a
variety of textures and hardcoats. In their uncoated glossy
form both materials are very susceptible to scratching.
For this reason we recommend that gloss materials
receive a hardcoat.

EQUIPMENT INTERFACE
Circuit Design - Configuration
Tracking lay-out can affect the reliability and ease with which the membrane switch can be
manufactured. Therefore, the pin-out (i.e. the order in which the tracks exit the tail) should be left to the
switch manufacturer when possible. The best pin-out can then be provided by the manufacturer to you
as part of the design preparation process.
Switches can be connected using:
1. A common line configuration. (A common bus, ground, connects a number of different switches.
This works well with a smaller number of switches and is generally an easier layout to engineer).
2. A matrix configuration. (An X-Y matrix for interconnecting columns and rows is created. This
greatly reduces the number of tracks relative to the number of
switches that the connector will require).
3. A mixture of the two.

USER INTERFACES - MEMBRANE SWITCHES

SHIELDING
Conductive inks or metalized (aluminum clad) polyester can be used to introduce an additional shield to
the switch beneath the graphic layer.
Grounding can be accomplished with a separate tail or using the same connector as the circuitry.
Alternatively a grounding tab can be created for connecting to a metal backing plate or support panel.

VENTING
A pocket of air exists between the contacts of the switch. This air must be displaced when the overlay is
depressed. Normally venting tracks to accommodate this displacement are designed between switches
a part of the spacer layer by the switch manufacturer. This will result in a completely sealed switch and
is perfect under normal atmospheric conditions.

PINOUTS
The schematic or pinout of a switch may be specified by the customer if necessary; however, as with
any circuit layout, the more freedom we are allowed the more efficient layout we can produce.
This has the advantage of shorter development time and a simpler circuit layout, which could affect
switch cost. Membrane switches can be designed with a common bus or in a matrix. Matrix layouts are
desirable for keyboards with many keys to simplify the interconnect.

CONNECTOR TAIL
The position of the tail should be carefully planned as it could have substantial impact on the design of
the membrane switch. A minimum clearance of .10 from tail edges for the tracks and a .040 minimum for
each track must be allowed.
The tail is formed from the circuit layers. Therefore, no feature requiring a circuit track (i.e. switch or
integrated LED) can be between the tail exit point and the edge of the panel. The easiest exit location
that can be produced is to bring the tail straight out of a panel edge (edge exit). This works fine if a bezel
will cover the panel edge. Also easily accomplished is if the tail can exit just inside the panel's perimeter.
If the tail must exit from within the perimeter (inset exit) then a tail filler must be used to replace the
missing circuit layers. Alternatively a WATER TIGHT NEMA 4 type perimeter seal can be utilized at an
additional cost when necessary.
A male or female connector can be fitted to the end of the tail. Exposed silver should be covered with
carbon to avoid silver migration and not be adversely affected by moisture.

USER INTERFACES - MEMBRANE SWITCHES

INTEGRATED LED'S
Surface mount LED's can be integrated into a membrane switch circuit. However they cannot be
mounted within the active switch area. Bi-Color LEDs can also be utilized.

ELECTRICAL PERFORMANCE
The large variety of membrane switch designs can make it difficult to outline a general set of
specifications that covers all membrane switches.
Listed below are some basic performance specifications.
Loop Resistance: The loop resistance of a switch is a function of trace width and length.
In most applications the maximum loop resistance is less than 100 Ohms.
Open Circuit Resistance: 50 Mega Ohms minimum
Contact Rating: 100 Milliamps at 28 VDC Maximum
Maximum Load: 1.5 VA Nominal
Contact Bounce: 5 Milliseconds Nominal
Operating Temperature: -20C to +75C

CUT-OUTS & PARAMETERS


Switch cut-outs (unless a bezel covers the opening) should be .030" overall larger than chassis
openings. Allow at least .062" between cut-outs and active switch or window areas.
Normally the membrane overlay is made slightly larger than the layers beneath and recesses should be
.010" larger all around to assure a proper fit.
Care should be taken that graphics are not obstructed with any bezels fitting around cut-outs.

LASER CUTTING
The various layers of a membrane switch can be cut
out by using a numerically controlled laser. This
technology offers two advantages.

Circuit Matrix
switch LED

pins
#1

#2

#3

#4

#5

#6

#7

#8

#9

# 10 # 11 # 12

D3
D4

0.344"
8.73 mm

0.789"
20.05 mm

6.154"
156.32 mm
5.818"
147.77 mm

2X metal domes

While laser cutting is a more expensive process than


die cutting, in many low and medium volume
applications it is quite cost effective.

2X vent/retainer
2X 0.270"
6.85 mm
(conductive
silver pad)

1.342"
34.10 mm

0.100"
2.54 mm

1.981"
50.31 mm

SW 1
SW 2

2.324"
59.02 mm

blue D4

5.268"
133.81 mm
4.766"
121.06 mm

0.364"
9.25 mm

2.288"
58.12 mm

1.240"
31.50 mm
4.142"
105.20 mm

D3 green

dielectric coat (front)

D1 red

1.539"
39.10 mm
1.160"
29.47 mm

Pin 1
Asia brand connector
(12-pin female)
exposed carbon
contacts (front)

D2 orange

5.024"
127.62 mm

1.517"
38.53 mm

0.342"
8.68 mm

0.847"
21.52 mm

Tighter mechanical tolerances can be held, and


no tooling is required.

3.781"
96.03 mm

D2

3.253"
82.63 mm

D1

2.311"
58.71 mm

0.000"
0.00 mm
0.328"
8.32 mm

SW 2

1.146"
29.11 mm

SW 1

0.000"
0.00 mm

4X R 0.039"
1.00 mm
3X 0.302"
7.67 mm

Back View Upper Circuit Layer


EPEC date code

Front View Assembly


Total part thickness = approx. .032 (.81mm)

Epec, LLC
174 Duchaine Blvd., New Bedford, MA 02745
P: 508-995-5171 F: 508-998-8694
www.epectec.com
DESCRIPTION: Membrane switch with graphic overlay & tactile domes
DRAWING NUMBER: n/a
REVISION: -

USER INTERFACES

CAPABILITIES - PROCESSES
Die Cutting
Unusual shapes
Rounded corners
Hard dies for metal parts
Steel rule dies for flexible materials
Thermal dies for vinyl substrate
Embossing
Adds three-dimensions to printing for unique
identification
Laminating
Protects printed nameplates, overlays, and
decals
Subsurface printing on flexible substrates can
be laminated on aluminum nameplates for i
creased durability and protection

Machining
Full in-house machine shop
Manufacture any rectangular, square, or round
metal nameplate, serial / VIN plate, or control
panel without additional tooling charge.
Serial Stamping
Serial, vehicle identification numbers (VIN) or
model numbers can be stamped on flexible or
metal substrates
Bar Codes
Bar codes can be printed on any nameplate,
serial / VIN plate, control panel, or graphic
overlay, on any surface type

Forming
Bending to your specifications

CAPABILITIES - MATERIALS
Metals
Aluminum
Anodized Aluminum (clear or black)
Stainless Steel
Brass
Metalphoto
Adhesives
Permanent, pressure-sensitive acrylic
Special adhesives for application to
powder coated surfaces or low surface
energy plastic
Various foam thicknesses to adhere to
rough surfaces or to dampen vibrations

Flexibles
Polycarbonate
Polyester Film
Vinyl
Foil
Adhesive-Backed Litho Paper
Polystyrene

USER INTERFACES - NAMEPLATES

SCREEN PRINTED NAMEPLATES


Screen-printed nameplates are high quality and visually appealing for decorative, promotional or
instructional purposes. They are typically recommended for mild indoor or outdoor applications where
exposure to sunlight and durability are of prime concern. Screen-printed nameplates are used in a
variety of commercial and industrial applications.
Screen Printed Nameplate Capabilities:
Most sheet stock materials paper, plastic, films and metals
Up to 25" x 33" in size, larger sizes available upon review
Material thickness from .002" to .250"
Top surface or second surface printed
Pantone, Federal Standard or custom colors
Embossing or stamped serial numbers on metal substrates
Mechanical fastener, studs or adhesive attachment methods
3 to 5 year outdoor durability
Polycarbonate nameplates have superior mechanical strength, toughness and clarity. The
polycarbonate nameplate can also survive extreme environmental conditions, such as high
temperatures, chemical abrasions and corrosion. Polycarbonates are known for their dimensional
stability, optical clarity, printability and graphic design freedom.
Polyesters various characteristics, such as high tensile strength, durability, clarity, resistance to abrasion
and solvents, electric insulation, resistance to shrinking and stretching and is great for printing and
die cutting.

ETCHED NAMEPLATES
Etched nameplates are recommended for harsh indoor or outdoor applications where exposure to
weather, temperature extremes, sunlight, chemicals, solvents, fuels and lubricants is possible. Images
are chemically etched into the substrate surface and could be filled with ink for added aesthetic and
functional value.
They are particularly suited for industrial, marine, aircraft or automotive
applications. Most metallic materials including aluminum,
brass and stainless steel.
Etched Nameplate Capabilities:
Material thickness from .008" to .125"
002" standard etch depth with capability up to .005"
Embossing or stamped serial numbers
Chemical and scuff resistant
Pantone, Federal Standard or custom colors
Mechanical fastener, studs or adhesive attachment methods
7 year minimum outdoor durability

USER INTERFACES - TOUCH PANELS

MANUFACTURED TOUCH PANELS


Epec Engineered Technologies offers a full range of high quality touch panel technologies and sizes
designed to fit a wide range of applications and LCD sizes.
Our product range consists of 4-wire, 5-wire, 8-wire resistive and capacitive touch panels. As a full
service touch screen provider, we offer controllers and drivers that have been designed and developed
specifically for our touch panel products.
In addition to our standard products, Epec can also design and manufacture custom touch screens to
meet your unique LCD size and application. Our touch panels are designed and manufactured to the
highest standards. Manufacturing occurs in class 10,000 cleanrooms. Throughout the process strict
assembly procedures are followed to ensure total and effective quality control. Prior to shipping each
touch panel is 100% electrically tested and visually inspected.
Epec delivers touch panel products to a variety of industries including: Medical, Retail and Industrial.
Applications range from mobile communications products, industrial controllers, kiosks and
household appliances.
Resistive Product Construction Options:
Film to Film
Film to Film to Substrate (PC, Acrylic)
Film to Glass

Touch Panel Benefits:


Excellent Optical Performances
FPC Tail Technology
High Readability
Anti-Glare and Anti-Reflective Coatings
Long Product Life
Touch Accuracy

Epec offers a wide variety of touch solutions for all types of environments and applications.
Our technical and sales staff can assist you in selecting the best touch panel technology for you.

RESISTIVE TOUCH PANEL TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS


Material:
ITO Glass Thickness: .7; 1.1; 1.8; 2.0; and
3.0mm
ITO Film Thickness: 0.188mm
Surface Hardness: 0-3H
Optical/Light Transmission: >80%
Temperatures:
Operation Temperature: -20 - 60C
Storage Temperature: -20- 70C
Life Expectance:
4-wire/5-wire: >10,000,000
8-wire: >1,000,000

Electrical:
Operating Voltage: 5V
Insulation Impedance: >20M ohms (DC25V)
Standard Size Range:
Standard 4-Wire Sizes 2.8 21
Standard 5-Wire Sizes 5.8 21
Standard 8-Wire Sizes 8.4 21

USER INTERFACES - TOUCH PANELS

CAPACITIVE TOUCH PANEL TECHNOLOGY


Capacitive Touch Panels are all-glass touch panels with a
transparent metallic conductive coating. An electrode pattern
printed along the edges which distributes a low voltage field
over the conductive layer.
When a finger touches the panel and draws a minute amount
of current to the point of contact, creating a voltage drop. The
current flow from each corner is proportional to the distance to
the touch point.
The X/Y location of the point of contact is calculated by the
controller and transmitted to the computer.
Capacitive Touch Panel Benefits:
Excellent optical properties with a transmittance greater than 90%.
Tempered glass with a scratch hardness of 6H.
FPC tail offers low resistance, flexibility and robustness.
High sensitivity, immediate response at the slightest touch.
Touch panels are extremely durable. Withstanding water,
dust, harsh chemicals and grease.
Advantages:
Accurate Control: Less than +/-1.5% linearity deviation
and controller with excellent speed.
FPC Tail Technology: FPC tail has low resistance and
is very flexible and robust.
Durability: Our Capacitive touch screen withstand
contaminants such as grease, dirt, water,
running liquid, harsh chemicals.
Performance: A transparent protective hard-coating
minimizes reflection and maximizes light transmission.
Hardened glass offers excellent scratch resistance
and durability.
Specifications:
Circuit: 5V DC35mA
Light Transmission: > 90%
Contact: < 3ms
Linearity: 1.5%
Surface Hardness: 6H
Input Mode: Conductive stylus or bare finger
Life Expectancy: > 100 million
Operating Temperature: 15 degree C to 70 degree C
Storage Temperature: 50 degree C to 85 degree C

10

USER INTERFACES - SILICONE RUBBER KEYPADS

KEYPAD APPLICATION GUIDE


The Application Guide is an aid in the design and development of silicone keypads and specialty
products. Silicone combines excellent feel, reliability and long life in the most rugged environment.
Silicone keypads are used in a wide range of applications including medical, industrial, instrumentation
and communications equipment.
Silicone material is supplied to the keypad industry in two forms, liquid and gumstock. Liquid silicone is
a two part system mixed as it is used; gumstock is a one part system that has a shelf life. Both are heat
cured. Liquid silicone has the consistency of vaseline while gumstock is more like putty or clay. Silicone
is measured for hardness in a shore A scale. The lower the number, the more silicone there is in the
product and the softer it feels. The higher the numbers the less silicone and the more filler there is in the
product and the harder it feels. Fillers and tensile strength.
Molding silicone rubber varies by process. The tools themselves are very similar and are usually made
from P20 steel or 6061 aluminum. Wear on the tooling is usually negligible over the life of a project
unless fillers that cause abrasion are added.
The types of molding processes are liquid,
compression, transfer and extruding. Liquid molding
is a closed loop system and molded under pressure
using computer controlled repeatable equipment.
Compression molding is open-air system similar to
a waffle iron, material is hand cut and weighed.
Transfer molding is a combination of compression
molding and gumstock material pushed into a mold under low pressure. Extruding molding uses
gumstock molding processes for continuous product such as tubing.

DESIGN RECOMMENDATIONS
Mechanical Keypad:
1. Distance of a keys diaphragm to the edge of the keypads matte and any through hole is 0.040.
2. Minimum key pitch dimension is 0.080.
3. Distance between two diaphragms is 0.040 (measured at base of diaphragm).
4. The smallest blend radius of keys side wall to top of key is 0.010.
5. Typical key taper is 1 depending on key height.
6. Typical chamfer dimension on tactile keypad is 0.020.
7. Typical chamfer angle on tactile keypad is 45.
8. Clearance between a bezel to a key is 0.012.
9. Typical base (mat) thickness is 0.040.
10. Standard air channel geometry is 0.080 to 0.125 wide by 0.010 to 0.013 deep.
11. Conductive contact area is 0.030 based on keypad application and size.
12. Sealing bead(s) top and/or bottom for environmental design requirements.
13. Assembly aids via bosses and/or perimeter lip to hold rubber keypad to feature.
Through hole diameter is 0.025
Corner radius on matte and keys 0.015
Corner radius on matte and keys 0.015

11

USER INTERFACES - SILICONE RUBBER KEYPADS

DESIGN RECOMMENDATIONS (continued)


Display/ LED Lightpipe/ Window Opening:
1. Maximum depth of undercut for feature window opening is 0.250.
2. Underside lip for window opening is the depth of undercut (#14) x 0.660.
3. Minimum size for molded in silicone window/lightpipe is 0.060.
4. Minimum thickness for molded in silicone window is 0.030.
5. Minimum height for molded in silicone lightpipe is 0.030.
6. Minimum distance from window/lightpipe to and edge is 0.030.
7. Min / Max wrap around underside is 0.060 to 0.500. Deeper
8. wraps may be considered depending on design.
9. Sealing rib diameter is 0.030.
Keypad Wrap - Around Design:
The wrap-around design offers unique capabilities in silicone rubber. Using liquid injection process,
one can create hand held units similar to complete plastic cases. With the wrap-around feature, an
appealing product can be designed with all the protection requirements for harsh environments.

TYPICAL PART TOLERANCES







< 0.400
0.401 - 0.800
0.801 - 1.200
1.201 - 1.600
1.601 - 2.000
> 2.001

0.004
0.006
0.008
0.010
0.012
0.6%

RECOMMENDED GRAPHIC PARAMETERS


Graphic Design:
1. Solid colors can be screened up to the edge of flat keytop.
2. On curved keytops, solid colors can be screened up to 0.015 to the tangent point of the outer
radius.
3. Distance from edge of the keypad to legend is 0.015.
4. Distance of matte legends to key is dependent on key height.
5. Minimum line weight for legends is 0.007.
6. Minimum text height is 0.050.
7. Color consistency is within 1 Delta for production run. Typical screening tolerances are 0.015.
Keytops Considerations for Graphic Screening:
1. Minimum radius allowable for printing over the edge is 0.375.
2. On legend overrun onto matte surface, a minimum transition radius of 0.010 is required.
3. Maximum curvature depth for concave keytops with a minimum radius of 0.375 is 0.060.
4. Maximum curvature height for convex keytops with a minimum radius of 0.375 is 0.060.

12

USER INTERFACES - SILICONE RUBBER KEYPADS

TYPICAL DRAWING INFORMATION







Overall Keypad Size


Keypad Mat Thickness
Keytop Dimensions
Mounting Hole Details
Mounting Boss Details
Radii Dimensions (keypad and buttons)

Key Spacing
Actuation Force (grams)
Material Specifications (durometer)
Legends & Color(s) (PMS numbers, etc.)
Keypad Color

ACTUATION FORCES OF CERTAIN KEY SHAPES & STYLES


Name Of
Shape

Cone

Double Cone

Bell/Cone

Cone

Double Cone

Flat

20-250
Grams

20-250
Grams

20-200
Grams

20-150
Grams

20-150
Grams

20-100
Grams

Profile Of
Shape
Force Vs.
Travel
Typical
Actuation
Force

Rubber keypads can be designed so that they achieve a positive tactile response when the operator
depresses the keypad. To achieve good tactile feel that is inherent in the rubber keypad the keypad
should have at least .060 of travel and should have an actuation force of between 50 and 170 grams.
As an alternative, a tactile layer can be incorporated in between the rubber keypad and the circuitry
layer, which will enable a good tactile feel even with small keys and minimal travel distances. This
option, which utilizes either stainless steel domes or formed polydomes, does add cost to the project.
Rubber keypads should be designed with a minimum return force of 30 grams in order to eliminate the
potential of sticking keys.

TACTILE RESPONSE
F = Return Force
A = Actuation force
C = Contact force



13

Snap Ratio = (A-C)/A)


A = 350 grams
C = 230 grams
(350-230)/350=0.343)

USER INTERFACES - SILICONE RUBBER KEYPADS

KEYPAD DESIGN

Physical Properties of Silicone Rubber


Typical Physical Property

Carbon Conductor

Silicone Insulator

Specific Gravity@ 72 C

1.18

1.17

65 5

30-80 5

Durometer Hardness (Shore A)


Tensile Strength (KG/CM)

>50

>70

Elongation (%)

>100

>250

>9

>12

3-5

3 -4.5

<5

1x1015

Tear Strength (KG/CM)


Linear Shrinkage (%)
Volume Resistivity (Ohm/CM)

Dimension

Tolerances

Inches

MM

Inches

MM

0 - .987

0 - 25

.005

.13

.998 - 1.460

25.1 - 37

.008

.20

1.461 - 1.971

37.1 - 50

.010

.25

1.972 - 2.444

50. - 1-62

.012

.31

2.445 - 2.956

62.1 - 75

.015

.38

2.957 - 3.428

75.1 - 87

.017

.44

3.429 - 3.940

87.1 - 100

.020

.50

3.491 - 5.908

100.1 - 150

.024

.62

5.909 - OVER

150.1 - OVER

0.5%

0.5%

14

USER INTERFACES - SILICONE RUBBER KEYPADS

RUBBER KEYPAD TERMINOLOGY


Actuation Force: The force required to collapse the web of a rubber keypad in conjunction with polydome,
metal dome, mechanical switch or rubber only.
Air Channel: Air path(s) on the bottom of rubber keypads that allows for air passage when rubber is
depressed.
Alignment Hole: Through hole in rubber keypad that is used to position keypad in enclosure.
Base Matte: Silicone sheet material that joins all keys on a rubber keypad. Also known as mat.
Bezel: The faceplate or cover, typically plastic or metal, used to secure a keypad to a printed circuit board or
switch.
Bosses: Small posts used for positive alignment of rubber keypad in bezels or assemblies.
Compression Set: The measurement of a materials ability to recover its original size and shape after
compression under prescribed conditions.
Conductive Rubber: Silicone keypad impregnated/coated with conductive material.
Color Matching: The visual and electronic analysis of a mixed silicone rubber material compared to a
supplied color sample.
Diaphragm / Web: The thin hinged area that permits a rubber key to flex.
Durometer: A measurement range of hardness for silicone rubber.
Key Height: The measured distance from the bottom of a keypad (base matte) to the top surface of a key.
Legend: Printed graphic (symbol, letter or number) on the top of the rubber surface.
Life: The number of actuations realized before the rubber diaphragm/web ruptures.
Reversed-Out Graphics: Graphics that allow rubber color or masking color to be seen through top surface
printing on keypad.
Positive-image Graphics: Single or multi-color printing on top of key surface.
Stroke / Travel: Distance from the contact surface of a rubber part to a surface.
Swell: The increase in volume of rubber when in contact with petrochemicals for a determined period.
Tactile Feel: The response of rubber while depressing. For tactile rubber keypads, it is a critical function of
the diaphragm web geometry.
Tear Strength: The tear strength is a measure of the resistance of rubber to tear forces. The tear strength is
calculated by dividing the maximum force load by the thickness of the rubber.
Wear or Abrasion Resistance: The resistance of a particular ink or coating to manual wearing. The testing
process is usually a Norman tester with the number of cycles legends can perform before wear is noticeable.

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USER INTERFACES

USER INTERFACE PRODUCTS


Membrane Switch Products Include:
Embedded LED Construction
Dome Embossed
Rim Embossed
Non Tactile (Flat Buttons)
Various Material Finishes

Graphic Overlay Products Include:


PET Labels
Polydomed Construction (Raised Buttons)
Custom Shapes and Designs
Printed and Laser Etched Graphics
Various Material Finishes

Rubber Keypad Products Include:


Standard Keypads
Multi color Keypads
Injection Molded
Laser Etched
Epoxy Coated

16

USER INTERFACES

ARTWORK GUIDELINES
Support Software
Epec Currently Supported Software:
AutoCAD (.dwg & .dxf)
Adobe Illustrator (.ai)
Adobe InDesign (.indd)

Other Acceptable Formats:


Adobe Portable Document File (.pdf)
Encapsulated Postscript (.eps)
Scalable Vector Graphics (.svg)
Tagged Image File (.tif or .tiff)
Adobe Photoshop (.psd)

Many other formats exist for electronic file transfer. If you have a file type other than what is listed above
please send us what you have and we will do our best to accommodate your format.
Resolution
A minimum resolution of 300 dpi is recommended. Lower formats may result in poor quality
reproduction.
Text & Fonts
All text needs to be converted to outlines to prevent character or font substitution. Convert the fonts to
"curves" (when using CorelDraw) or "Create Outlines" (when using Adobe Illustrator).
If you do not have this capability please include any associated font files along with your graphic file.
If fonts are not included or converted to curves we cannot guarantee
the graphics will match your intended design.
Color
Artwork should be submitted as spot colors (pantone colors).
Please provide the pantone color numbers being used with
your artwork file.
Linked Graphics
If you are using a program that allows for linked images,
rather than embedded in the file, please provide linked
graphics separately.
Bleeds
Elements that extend beyond the edge cut (bleeds) should
extend a minimum of .125" beyond the edge cut.

17

USER INTERFACES

ADDITIONAL ENGINEERED PRODUCTS


USER INTERFACES
Membrane Switches
Rubber Keypads
Touch Panels
Tactile & Non-Tactile
Keyboard Assemblies
LEDs, Cutouts & Display Windows

GRAPHIC PRODUCTS
Overlays & Faceplates
Roll Labels
Rigid Metal Nameplates
Serial Number Tags
Barcode & QR Codes
Printed Cut Plastic
Urethane Doming
Digital & Screen Printing

FANS & MOTORS


AC/DC Axial Fans
Motorized Impellers
Industry Leader in Electronically
Commutated Motors

CUSTOM BATTERY PACKS


Industry Leading Design Team
NiMH, NiCH & Sealed Lead Batteries
Li-Ion, Li-Pol & LFP
Smart Battery Technology
Custom Enclosures
IATA, DOT & UL Testing
Battery Chargers

FLEXIBLE & RIGID FLEX PCBS


Prototype, Low-High Volume & Roll to Roll
Polyimide & Polyester Materials
IPC 2223C Constructions
Coverlay & Flexible Soldermask
Stiffeners, PSAs & Strain Reliefs
Controlled Impedance & Shielding
Design & Gerber Layout Support

RIGID PRINTED CIRCUIT BOARDS


Leader in Quick-Turn PCB's
Up to 18 Layers
Fine Lines & Spaces
Heavy Copper
Thermal Clad
Many RoHS and
RF Materials
Blind & Buried Via's
Controlled Impedance

18

AMERICA'S OLDEST. A HISTORY OF INNOVATION.


The 60-year story of Epec is connected to the development of the PCB and the electronics industry.
Epec, through the merger of Electralab and Printed Electronics Corp
(EPEC), are proudly two of the five founding members of the IPC,
the 2,900 member trade association supporting the $1.5 trillion
global electronics industry.
From pioneering innovation in the PCB Industry with R & D,
training and setting professional core values, the legacy of
Epec has now passed to a new generation of very bright
young people, but still continues the great
tradition of imagination.
In incubating new technologies, the Epec team continue
breaking new frontiers in engineering, and enjoying
exponential growth in related sectors of electronics, with
custom battery packs, membrane switches,
rubber keypads, and EC fans and drives.

CONTACT US
Our knowledgeable staff has many years of experience in the industry.
We welcome the opportunity to put our skills to work for you!
Please contact us with any questions or requests.
North American Headquarters
174 Duchaine Blvd.
New Bedford, MA 02745
Toll Free: (888) 995-5171
Tel: (508) 995-5171
Fax: (508) 998-8694
Contact Us By Email:
Sales
sales@epectec.com
Quotes
quoting@epectec.com
Engineering engineering@epectec.com
Quality
quality@epectec.com

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