Keypads form an important component of any electronic device. It allows the user to key in instructions when using their gadgets. Thanks to technological advancement, there are more convenient keypads than ever available that you can use when operating your electronic device. One of them is rubber keypads.
While rubber keypads have been around for decades, it’s said that they’ve increasingly become popular in recent years. People use these keypads in several firms including health facilities, aerospace, retail, and manufacturing industries. Unless you’re familiar with rubber keypads, you must be wondering what the benefits of incorporating them with your electronic gadget are.
The following blog discusses what you need to know about rubber keypads. You’ll learn what a rubber keypad is, its advantages, and much more. Read on.
What Is A Rubber Keypad
Also referred to as an elastomeric keypad, designers use webbing materials consisting of silicone rubber around a center switch in this type of input device. Thus, when you press any key in a silicone rubber keypad, the elastic properties of the webbing material allow it to deform. As a result, the bottom of the key will touch the top of a printed circuit board (PCB) contact, completing the command.
A silicone rubber keypad has several features and they include:
- Tactile buttons – keypads have several buttons acting like tactile buttons that provide the input device functionality. Each button has different roles. Follow the given manual to understand the role of each button.
- PCB – a circuit layer is involved in managing the functionality of your keypad. It’ll respond to your clicks and act accordingly.
- Lighting – as mentioned above, a silicone rubber keypad is used in many applications, and sometimes you may have to use the device in low-light situations. Thus, a lighting element will play a huge role in improving your device’s user experience.
What Are The Benefits Of Rubber Keypads
Several benefits are associated with incorporating silicone rubber keypads with your electronic products. They include:
- They’re Comfortable To Use
Comfort will play a huge role in improving your user experience leading to improved productivity. Silicone rubber keypad offers an exceptional comfort level, as it has soft keys that are easy and enjoyable to click. On the other hand, most people may not enjoy using hard, rough, or keypads that are not designed ergonomically. This kind of keypad will leave the user with painful fingers, which may affect your workforce’s productivity.
- They Offer Durability
Using silicone rubber in your keypad will improve its durability. This will ensure that the input device serves you for a long time, improving the value of your investment and ensuring overall client satisfaction. Here’s a closer look at the features of silicone rubber that may improve the durability of your keypad:
- Abrasion resistance – a keypad should withstand continuous pressing every day. Silicone rubber may have a higher resistance to friction and scratches, improving the shelf life of your device.
- Heat and cold resistance – it’s advised that you select a product that can be used in low and high temperatures. This property is important, especially when working in a harsh environment. For instance, when in an engineering project, you might be forced to work at very high temperatures. A silicone rubber keypad would be ideal as it won’t be affected by extreme temperatures.
Besides the above properties, silicone rubber may have an excellent general mechanical feature. This property allows the keypad to withstand different levels of forces, improving its durability.
- They Have Design Flexibility
You can easily customize your rubber keypad to meet new needs and expectations. As mentioned above, silicone rubber may have an excellent mechanical property. Thus, the design may be easily changed to fit your preferred electronic device.
Also, with a rubber keypad, you can easily add new features to meet the needs of different customers. For example, the supplier can easily incorporate the feature if you want a keypad with laser-etched graphics. Ease to customize a rubber keypad make it an affordable option for your organization. Instead of purchasing a new device to meet new needs, you can add a new feature to your silicone rubber keypad.
- They’re Dustproof And Waterproof
Water and dust are two major concerns when it comes to electronic devices. These two can affect the functionality of your device. Moisture and debris may cause damage to your equipment pieces and force you to purchase new keypads, affecting your profit margin. Silicone rubber is naturally waterproof and dustproof, hence protecting your device against the aforementioned enemies.
What Are The Common Uses Of Rubber Keypads
Over the years, people have been using rubber keypads in several areas and different fields. In addition, they’re widely used in different practical applications including:
- Industrial control panel – as stated earlier, silicone rubber is resistant to heat and moisture. This makes it ideal in several industrial applications, from complex input panels to emergency use.
- Patient care gadgets – devices used in health facilities should be ultra-reliable and easy to clean. Because silicone rubber is resistant to moisture, the keypads can be sprayed directly with disinfectant to kill germs and harmful microorganisms. Also, the soft and smooth buttons can be used easily by weak patients in nurse-call devices, for instance.
How To Choose The Right Rubber Keypad For Your Electronic Devices
Choosing the right input device for your electronics can be a daunting task. Here are some of the factors you should consider when purchasing a rubber keypad:
- Profile – profile refers to the depth of the rubber keypad’s button. Case in point, if the keypad has a low profile, it has shorter buttons. Unlike high-profile keypads, buttons in a shorter profile keypad are more compact. This makes them ideal for small electronic devices.
- Backlighting – you can use several backlighting solutions with your rubber keypad. It’s important to choose a keypad with a backlighting solution that consumes the least amount of energy for environmental protection purposes.
As mentioned above, the keypad is a crucial part of any electronic device. Technology has led to ergonomically designed keypads such as rubber keypads. Some of the benefits of incorporating this input device in your electronics manufacturing include comfort, durability, flexibility, and protection against dust and water.