The reason second processes are used with silicone keypads and components is to convey the purpose of the individual key or component to the end user. Here at SiTECH, we have multiple options exist for decorating a keypad or component with legends.
One of the easiest ways to decorate a silicone rubber keypad or component is to add embossing or engraving to the component, or key’s surface. This is done by simply adding the image or text to the mold so it either engraves or embosses the surface of the silicone. One advantage of using this method is that the embossing or engraving will last the lifetime of the keypad. A disadvantage of using this method is the area of the embossment or engraving allows for dirt and debris to easily become trapped. Some limitations for designing this method include a minimum line weight of 0.015”. And a maximum height or depth of 0.012”.
Another method for decorating silicone rubber is with the use of silk screening. SiTECH does all of our silkscreen decorating in-house. We use special silicone based inks that chemically bond to the molded silicone rubber. This allows for greater resistance to fading and wear over the lifetime of the keypad. The silicone ink is squeezed through a silkscreen, that has an opening of the text or image you wish to have applied to your silicone keypad or component. Once setup is complete, the silkscreen allows for a precise and repeatable operation. SiTech’s minimum tolerance for silkscreen text width is approximately 0.010”. Any less and the lines become very difficult to screen. Multiple colors can be used over top of each other, and backlighting can be done by printing over clear silicone. One disadvantage using this method is the need for a somewhat flat surface to print upon. SiTech has limitations regarding the amount of convex or concave surfaces a key’s surface can have. For concave surfaces we have a minimum radius requirement of 1.125”, and a convex radius requirement of 0.75” minimum.
At SiTECH we have a vast knowledge and experience dealing with the decorating of silicone rubber. If you have any questions or would like to discuss your silicone rubber needs please call us at 757-887-8488 or simply submit a quote online here.