Our line of silicone molded keypads offer you features unmatched by traditional keypad technology. To help you create the best control system we offer a variety of customization options.
Users Need Tactile Feedback
Some equipment manufacturers and operators cringe at the idea of custom silicone keypads. Not all keypads are created the same and experience with a badly designed one can twist people’s opinions of them. That is why Si Tech wants to help you create the best controls you can get.
Most of the time bad experiences with keypads are because of a lack of tactile response. People press a key and feel nothing so they can’t tell if the key is pressed. This lack of feedback is frustrating, particularly in heavy use, and is because the snap force of the key is too low.
Snap force is a ratio involving two other forces: the force required to depress the key, called actuation force, and the force to keep the key depressed, called contact force. Contact force is less than actuation force and that drop of required effort is the click the operator feels. Snap force is the force expressed as a percentage of the actuation force.
Molded keypads with a low snap force feel mushy but have a longer key life. A high snap force gives a nice feel to the key but the keys will wear out sooner. For most applications, a snap force equal to 50% of the actuation force is appropriate.
Key Symbols and Coatings
Si Tech offers three ways to mark the rubber on our custom keypads, each with its own advantages.
Keys are commonly marked with a screen printing using our proprietary blend of special inks designed for silicone. Screen printing offers the widest variety of colors and combinations and we offer several finishes to provide just the look you want.
There is a growing demand for our LaserEdgeTM laser etching system. We use a translucent rubber coated with an opaque layer then use lasers to precisely etch away the top surface. This reveals either the rubber itself or a base coat of a contrasting color depending on specifications. This is the system of choice for backlit displays or for molded keypads with keys too curved to take screen printing.
Si Tech silicone is resistant to liquids, chemicals, temperatures and other environmental hazards but some of our clients need a little more protection. Our SiCoatTM coating offers substantially increased resistance to abrasion. SiCoat IITM is a finish that gives our silicone keypads resistance to oxidizing, chlorinating and petroleum-based chemicals.
These are the most important design considerations for molded keypads but there are usually other decisions to make based on your application. Our team has over 75 years of silicone keypad experience and can help you design the perfect keypad system for your needs.