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Archive for April, 2009

Si Tech Keypads: Ideal For Ruggedized Electronics

April 10th, 2009

Not all our clients use our molded keypads on equipment used in controlled environments like offices. Ruggedized electronics, equipment designed for use in hostile environments, benefit from the durability of our keypads.

A Growing Market for Ruggedized Electronics

Electronic equipment used to be delicate, packed carefully in padded and hard-sided carrying cases, used only in cool, dust-free environments and generally handled with care. As electronics became less of a rarity, consumers demanded more durable equipment.

Military clients are a good example of a need for ruggedized electronics. Their electronics may be deployed in a variety of conditions and can’t depend on climate control. The devices need to be reliable and tough because heavy protective cases aren’t a feasible option for a solider already carrying forty pounds of equipment.

However the military doesn’t have a monopoly on tough environments. Civilian clients need equipment that can be used in a variety of real world situations such as field projects, industrial areas and chemical laboratories. Our molded keypads thrive in these environments, repelling dust, corrosives or contaminants that would destroy other keypads.

Customized Coatings For Added Durability

Our custom silicone keypads are tough components on their own. The flexible silicone doesn’t crack during hard use and the one-piece construction prevents liquids and gases from intruding into the interior electronics. Our molded keypads carry some chemical resistance and can be customized to any shape or design you desire.

For those customers who need extra protection, we offer a number of coatings that enhance our custom keypads’ robustness. Si Coat is our abrasion resistant coating that provides substantial protection against wear. The rubber will not degrade even under hard use, greatly extending the life of the keypad. Si Coat II is a chemical resistant coating that protects against petroleum derivatives, oxidizers and chlorine compounds that can undermine the structure of silicone. The conductive coating Si Coat V protects the conductive pads behind the molded keypads. Our tests show that pads protected with this coating keep working for over a million activation cycles.

The Rugged Home Environment

Our clients find that once they use our custom silicone keypads on their ruggedized devices, the keypads enhance home electronics as well.

A drink spilled on some keypads will destroy them, either by the liquid shorting the electronics or by the sticky liquid fouling the keys. The unbroken face of Si Tech molded keypads means the liquid slides off before it can do damage. While that may not do much good if Junior dunks the TV remote in the toilet, it can save many electronics from small spills.

Speaking of Junior, our custom keypads survive the abuse kids put them through. It doesn’t matter if the keypads are on a child’s toy or on some other device, Si Tech molded keypads survive the rough handling of a toddler or child. Consumers may not need ruggedized components, but they will appreciate the durability our keypads provide.

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