The durable, flexible, and user-friendly functionality of membrane switches makes them usable in a huge variety of applications and across a wide range of different industries, from ruggedized outdoor machinery to precision medical devices.
Membrane switch manufacturers and designers are faced with ever-advancing technology and increasing demands to meet both functional and aesthetic requirements. As electronic devices are becoming more advanced, manufacturers must blend creativity with the expertise to provide solutions for a growing variety of applications.
The post is about some recent and emerging trends for membrane switch manufacturers.
1. Maintaining Usability in Increasingly Smaller Space Constraints
The increase in trend for micro-electronics poses a unique challenge for membrane switch manufacturers. Integrating the functional controls required to operate the device in a space that is merely a fraction of the size of the typical user interface is no simple matter. Loss of usability always poses a certain risk when adding more functionality to a smaller interface.
But, with the advancements like smaller printed circuit boards and other components provide the same level of functionality that is required by sophisticated devices without the giant components required, the results are attainable. Expert membrane switch manufacturers are able to configure the required functionality using a precise combination of components that maintains the usability with sacrificing aesthetics or function.
2. Integrating Component Manufacture and Assembly
A membrane switch assembly is much more than the mere sum of its parts, while its reliability and functionality depending heavily on the quality of the individual components. The failure of one of the components, adhesive layer, can further deteriorate or damage the circuit layers and this is the reason why membrane switch manufacturers are opting to integrate component manufacture and assembly under the same roof, providing the ultimate in quality control.
3. Minimized Carbon Footprints
Many of the materials and components that were previously used in the design of the electronics lead to a large carbon footprint for product manufacturers. By making use of alternative component options, membrane switch manufacturers are able to lend the same robust look and feel without high production costs or serious environmentally impact associated with the materials. Also, the introduction of environmental friendly printing options allowed environmental conscious companies to reduce the carbon footprint, passing the advantage to end consumers.
4. Longer Life Components
In many applications, device failure is much more than an inconvenience. Failure of medical devices in the healthcare industry can be life-threatening. The increase in the use of medical equipment by patients in their homes has lead to the introduction of components with extended lifespan and less failure risk. Medical equipment must also be resistant to exposure to hazardous materials like cleaning products, to avoid premature device failure. Even components like backlighting have evolved and there are also several low-power options with longer anticipated lifespan or the ability to easily replace lighting components without disassembling the entire membrane switch assembly.
Membrane switches are today used in many of the devices and by most people in their everyday life. As tech-savvy consumers rely on day-to-day use has been more advanced, membrane switch manufacturers strive to work hard towards more functional, innovative, and aesthetically pleasing assemblies and components that provide the ideal blend of usability, function, and visual appeal.