One popular use for liquid silicone injection molding components is on industrial control panels. When manufacturers are putting together items like power equipment, they need to be sure that their industrial control panels will stand up to possible impacts, regular vibrations, extreme temperatures and long runs on the manufacturing line. Manufacturing equipment, automated devices and processor control panels rely upon rubber keypads not only for starting and stopping the controls and devices, but also for the changes in speed and direction.

Starting and Stopping
Since most product manufacturers have custom machinery in their plants, industrial control panels and printed silicone keypads must also be customized. For example, industrial machinery may be designed to manufacture outdoor power equipment like generators or lawn mowers. Each piece must be constructed and molded to exact specifications and moved down the line. If assembly is involved, the control panels and printed silicone keypads must be easy to access and easy to read.
If the line needs to stop for any reason, workers can press the right buttons on industrial control panels to avoid problems, back-ups, breakdowns and overruns.

Changing Speed and Direction
When project parameters are changed or newer employees join the workforce in these manufacturing plants, the versatility of industrial control panels is even more critical. Changing the speed and direction of items rolling through the manufacturing line could make the difference between items being constructed or assembled correctly or hours of rework. In this case, slowing down the pace or directing manufactured parts to another area is necessary. When the industrial control panels are custom designed properly and set up correctly, it is a matter of pressing the right buttons on the rubber keypads of the industrial control panels.

Identification
Clear printing on liquid silicone injection molding components is critical to knowing which controls do what. This is achieved through the use of laser marking on printed silicone keypads. Liquid silicone injection molding can be matched to nearly any color. For example, a red key might signal a full machinery stop when pressed. The markings on the keypads can be done in nearly any color as well, so that the word “stop” is imprinted clearly and legibly without rubbing off or fading. Other keys may be created in a single color, such as black or gray. Their graphics would be in a contrasting color so that the button’s purpose is clear.

Regardless of the purpose of industrial control panels needed in the manufacturing industry, it is important for device designers to consider their intended uses. Printed silicone keypads can be customized to reflect any task of the control panel. Determining what it will do, what it will say and how it will look are all important elements to creating a successful design.