The look of your device influences how users will feel about it. Well designed molded keypads enhance not only the appearance but also the functionality of the equipment.
Best Key Designs for Silk Screening
Si Tech uses a silk screening process to apply graphics to our molded keypads. When the silicone is cured, the ink binds into the rubber to create a hard-wearing and long -lasting graphic. We’ve found the best option is to put key labels directly on the keys whenever possible, but the keys must be designed to take the graphics.
Flat keys work best with the silk screening process but we can also accommodate either convex or concave key surfaces. The more curved the keytop, the more difficult the printing process is. Using a large curve radius will allow keys to take labels directly on the key surface. Single curves are easier to print on although we can work with compound curves as well. In the even the key surface won’t take the printing process, labels can be printed on the keypad underneath the key as well.
Tips on Graphic Design
We’ve seen every kind of graphic you can imagine on our molded keypads. While the subject of graphic design is complicated, there are fundamental concepts which apply no matter what your device is.
High contrast labels make controls easier to find and read. Contrast can come from a difference in brightness or color. Simple fonts are best for readability. Font size will be limited by the design of the actual key. We can print background colors right to the edge of a flat keytop while symbols or letters will need a buffer zone between them and the key edge.
It’s usually not enough to just specify “red” or “purple” since there are so many shades of any color. We use Pantone numbers to ensure your keypad graphics come out exactly as you imagined. If you need us to, we can match color chips.
Si Tech Coatings Make Graphics More Durable
Our standard silk screening process provides a durable graphic for your molded keypads, but we also have coatings for keypads which will be used in harsh environments.
Si Coat I is a wear-resistant coating perfect for keypads which experience more abrasive forces than usual. These might be keypads that will experience heavy use or ones that will be used by workers in heavy work gloves. The extra durability means the key graphics won’t wear off prematurely.
If your device is likely to be used in laboratory or industrial environments and be exposed to chemical contaminants, Si Coat II would be the answer. Molded keypads treated with Si Coat II resist damage from petroleum-based, oxidizing, or chlorinated chemicals.
Sharp graphics not only improve the look of your device, but also its usability. For the best control design, consider graphics very carefully.