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MEMBRANE SWITCHES

Based in Southern California and supplying all of the United States, Becker's Fabrication Inc. knows how to listen to customers and meet their needs for the production of membrane switches.  We have the capabilities to produce a small run of 10 or large production run of 1000's of membrane switches.  We work very closely with our customer during all aspects of design and production.  While we try to focus on our domestic manufacturing, we do offer low labor country sources when it is a must.  You can read more about our commitment to our American workers under our Made In USA tab.

Membrane switches are a reliable alternative to mechanical switches in electronic applications where low cost, visually appealing, durable input pads are required.  Adding LEDs or other surface mount components can often save time and money.   It also aids in the assembly of your final product as there is not need to spend time aligning window/button areas with an overlay.  Membrane switches can be completely sealed making them dust-proof and moisture resistance with extended temperature ranges (-45 –C - +100 C).   A membrane switch is unparalleled in terms of clean-ability making it a good choice for medical, industrial or other environment where cleaning is necessary.  Becker's Fabrication specializes in the pool and spa industry and understands the unique requirements of applications in these environments.   These rugged environments carry over to most industrial and medical applications.   Our Engineers can apply our years of experience on your project and save you time and energy with troubled designs or environments.

CAPACITANCE SWITCHES

Many devices are now using capacitance technology rather than a positive contact between conductive layers to signal switching.   With the increase of touch screens being used in every day life,  end users are becoming increasingly comfortable with touching a solid surface without tactile feedback.    This technology utilizes the innate conductivity in the human finger.   Using specialized chips that create a capacitance field, contact with a conductive device (such as a human finger) will change the field and signal to the processor that there has been a touch.    While there are several companies working on chips for this technology, Becker's has worked with Azoteq as their chips are readily available through distribution.    Azoteq is a leader in not only capacitance switch designs, but also projected capacitance.   This allows the device to sense the approaching contact to change its state (such as turn on a backlight) and then have an actual touch to complete the operation.    Azoteq has also developed slide, swipe and other features in their specialized and cost effective chips.     Becker's can facilitate the development of a design using capacitance switch technology for single touch, multi-touch, projected capacitive touch as well as ruggedized keypads where thick overlays are necessary.   You can see this technology in action in this link:  Videos.

MEMBRANE KEYPADS AND KEYBOARDS

Because of the relatively short travel of membrane switches it is often desirable to provide users tactile feedback. Tactile Switches are created by adding domes to the basic membrane switch construction. Two types of domes can be used for this, polyester or stainless steel.  Polyester is often the most economical and long lived, while stainless steel allows for higher temperature exposure and more controlled tactile feel.  Tactile switches constructed with stainless steel domes have a stamped steel dome placed above each switch contact.  Domes are available in variety of sizes and actuation forces.   Becker's Engineering can assist with which choice is best for the application.

Tactile switches constructed with polyester domes have domes formed into either the graphic layer or the top circuit layer. This creates the need for a special forming toll and increases tooling costs. Because individual domes do not need to be placed above each contact, polyester domes often are more cost effect in higher quantities.

A typical membrane switch is comprised of several layers.

1) Graphic Overlay

Becker's Fabrication Inc. combines both digital and screen printing processes to produce brilliant graphic overlays utilizing simple or complex designs provided by our customers.  Custom embossed areas are used to highlight buttons and functions and selective textures are used for windows and other graphic affects.   Selective textures can often provide additional graphic effects and allow for gloss or textured windows.

2) Adhesive Layers

Before bonding the circuit layer to the graphic overlay,  Becker's Fabrication Inc uses Laser guided registration tools to achieve alignment tolerances of +/- .010”( +/- 10mils).  We then use best-in-class
materials to ensure a lasting bond between the graphic overlay and the circuit layer of the membrane switch.

3) Circuit Layer

The printed circuit layer is created by applying high quality conductive inks using a screen printing process. A standard multi-pin interface is used to connect the membrane switch to the customer's application.   Separation layers made of non-conductive materials are used to separate multiple circuit layers.  Circuit layers are created to meet the complexity of the design requirements. 

4) Rear Adhesive Layer

Special adhesives are used to bond the membrane switch to the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) or case material of the customer's application.

 

If you would like more information about our membrane switches , membrane keypads, panels, and overlays, please contact us for design assistance and quotation.