Business insights: 7 key advantages of using membrane switches
Membrane switches are often used in industrial environments to detect appropriate or unsuitable conditions. Whether robots, conveyor systems, engines, or generators, membrane switches can be found in all production facilities to control different processes.
What are membrane switches?
A membrane switch is a device that’s been specifically designed to be used in industrial or commercial settings. It comprises one or more layers of flexible membrane material, often silicone, PVC, or rubber, with conductive traces printed on it. When the membrane is pressed, it contacts the traces and completes the circuit.
There are several types of membrane switches. Here are the most common examples:
- Simple Switch: This is the most basic type of membrane switch. It consists of a single silicone layer with two traces, one for the input and one for the output.
- Touchpad: It’s like a simple switch, but it has a built-in capacitive sensor that detects when you touch it. This allows you to use your finger to set the switch.
- Multiplexer: A multiplexer has two or more simple switches that can be used to trigger a single output. It’s often seen in buildings and workspaces such as elevators and office doors.
- Coupon: Coupons are like multiplexers but with one output strip facing the outside of the panel. When a coupon is touched, it completes the circuit and activates the device.
- Keypad: A keypad has multiple input switches activated by pressing down on the keys. This membrane switch is often used in security systems and door locks.
How do they work?
Membrane switches are usually connected to a circuit board, which controls the device attached. When you press on the switch, it completes the circuit and sends a signal to the circuit board telling it what to do.
A typical membrane keypad manufacturer designs membrane switches as a single-layer of flexible material, allowing for a slimmer design. A printed circuit on the back connects the traces on the membrane’s surface, which generates an electrical signal when pressed.
Why use membrane switches?
Each type of membrane switch has its unique advantages and disadvantages. Here are seven key benefits of using membrane switches in business settings:
Membrane switches are very durable and can withstand harsh environments and temperatures. They’re also moisture resistant, so they can be used in wet or humid environments without fear of damaging the switch.
For example, membrane switches are often used in industrial settings exposed to oil, dust, and other contaminants. They’re also popular in outdoor settings such as parking garages and toll booths because they can withstand the weather conditions.
2. Ease of use
Membrane switches are very easy to use. They’re simple to install and don’t require any special tools. For example, when using a touchpad membrane switch, the worker simply places the cursor over the desired button and presses down. When using a keypad, they’d insert one or more keys by hand to activate it. Some keypads even have bars that can be pulled out manually, which activates all connected devices in one action.
3. Flexibility and customization
Membrane switches can be customized and manufactured to meet your specific requirements. Different membrane types are available with a wide range of color, shape, and size options. The number of buttons can also be customized as needed. In addition, there are different connection types available that allow the panel to connect directly to a device.
4. Low cost and quick delivery
Membrane switches are low-cost and quick to deliver. It makes them a popular choice for businesses that need a fast turnaround time. For example, membrane switches are often used in mass production because they can be easily installed and programmed to work with other devices or equipment. They’re also low-cost, so they don’t require a high initial price tag.
5. Low maintenance
Membrane switches have low maintenance requirements because no moving parts are involved. The durability of the switch means you’ll not have to replace it very often. Membrane switches can run for years without wearing out or needing maintenance or repair. It reduces the risk of costly downtime and allows workers to focus on other tasks until the device breaks again.
6. High reliability and error-free performance
Membrane switches are very reliable and can be used in mission-critical situations. They’re designed to provide accurate results, even under harsh conditions. It makes them ideal for processing financial data, controlling medical equipment, and other essential activities requiring accuracy.
7. Wide product range
There’s a wide range of membrane switches available that can be used in many different settings and with many other devices or equipment. For example, thousands of keypads and key fobs are available to control everything from elevators to house locks. It guarantees you’ll find the perfect switch to meet your specific needs.
Where are membrane switches commonly used?
Membrane switches are a common trend nowadays in a variety of business settings, including:
- Industrial settings: Membrane switches are often used in industrial settings because they are durable and withstand harsh environments.
- Outdoor settings: Membrane switches are popular in outdoor settings such as parking garages and toll booths because they can withstand weather conditions.
- Commercial settings: Membrane switches are commonly used in commercial settings such as restaurants and airports because they’re easy to use and customize.
- Mass production: Membrane switches are often used in mass production such as manufacturing plants because they’re easy to install and program.
- Medical facilities: Membrane switches are popular in medical facilities due to their low maintenance requirements. They also provide accurate results, which is essential for specific procedures.
- Financial institutions: Membrane switches are used in financial institutions because they’re reliable and error-free, ensuring critical data is processed accurately.
- Retail: Retail stores can use membrane switches to control lighting, turn on music, and other systems. They’re also used in point of sale (POS) scenarios to collect data from customers.
When you need a switch that can handle the harsh conditions and meet the specific needs of your business, membrane switches are a perfect choice. They’re reliable, customizable, and low cost, making them an ideal option for various settings. Contact a supplier to learn more about the different membrane switch types available and find the perfect switch for your business.