Colours (symbols and inscriptions) are printed from the bottom of the graphic foil. In this way, the user does not come in contact with colour coatings, which ensures the sustainability of printed information and the use of membrane keyboards in extremely demanding environments (presence of dust, chemicals and high moisture), especially in cases where the maintenance and cleaning of devices is required, which is of utmost importance in the field of medical devices, where the membrane keyboard is almost irreplaceable.
An indispensable part of almost every interface between the user and the device is the display and the necessary light signalling. A wide range of different processing of the graphic film allows the integration of transparent surfaces of different qualities within each membrane keyboard. Selective adjustment of certain surfaces of the graphic foil allows the use of LCD and LED displays. If necessary, it is possible to achieve perfect clarity and transparency of the keyboard, as well as partial transparency in various colour shades.
The membrane keyboard is usually composed of two polyester films on which silver conductive binders and switches are applied through the screen printing process. The self-adhesive foil of the appropriate thickness (spacer) with recesses at the positions of the switching surfaces separates the two poles of the button and forms a compact foil composite. Recesses in the spacer at the push-button positions allow electrical contact between the two poles of the key.
EMBOSSING AS AN OPTION
The ergonomics and usability of the keyboard can be further improved by selectively embossing the keyboard graphics on active surfaces – keys. In this way, the keys are more “reachable” and the feeling of switching is better. The design of the graphic film at the same time increases the attractiveness and improves the overall appearance of the application. The shape of the embossed areas is arbitrary. With this kind of foil design, it is possible to emphasize other details and to equip the keyboard with Braille.
ELECTRONIC COMPONENTS INTEGRATION
The miniaturization of electronic components has complemented the usability of a membrane keyboard, allowing them to be installed in the keyboard itself. The installation of SMD LEDs is very widespread, because it additionally simplifies the mechanical construction of the device. The possibility of combining a membrane keypad with a printed circuit board, which acts as a carrier of conductive connections between the keys and at the same time allows the installation of other electronic components, further increases the degree of integration.
The display and the necessary light signalization are indispensable parts of almost any interface between the user and the device. A broad specter of various treatments of a graphic foil enables the integration of transparent surfaces of different quality within every membrane keyboard.
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