ice-rubber-keypadsAs the heat of summer escalates, the number of self-service bagged ice machines and dispensers is growing, especially in the Mid-Atlantic states. One of the reasons for their increased popularity is that they are available around the clock. The use of rubber keypads helps the customer to choose the quantity and activate the dispenser. Using a keypad to enable payment for the product, the self-service kiosk is unmanned. As a result, silicone rubber keypads play an important role.

Locations
Wherever there are outdoor activities, there is a need for ice. Self-service bagged ice kiosks are popping up near parks, picnic areas, beaches and fishing holes. If people need a cooler, they need ice. Bags of ice are also a hot commodity in highly traveled areas with a large number of hotels. Most hotels now post a sign denying guests the right to fill up their coolers from the facility’s ice machine. As a result, travelers on road trips are picking up their own bags for a nominal price. Self-service kiosks located outdoors near major interstate exits are becoming a more common sight.

Outdoor Conditions
While the machines can be placed indoors, an outdoor location is more likely to generate attention and a larger volume of traffic. Providing a user-friendly keypad has several elements. For starters, rubber keypads are highly durable and can withstand the harsh conditions of being stationed outside year-round. From high demands of blistering temperatures on hot summer days, to the less frequent purchases mid-winter, the machine better be available to dispense at a moment’s notice to ensure the owner’s profit. Liquid silicone injection molding is a good fit for these conditions, because the material is waterproof, protecting the keypad from rainstorms, snow and even high humidity.

Visibility
Providing bags of ice around-the-clock means the rubber keypad must be visible in both light and dark conditions. Backlighting is a sensible feature to add to the rubber keypad design. This makes the buttons easy to read at night without relying on an overhead light fixture. The numbers and letters on the device should be of strong contrast and large enough to see for easy dispensing. Durable silicone inks can be incorporated into the design to prevent the symbols from rubbing off even in high traffic cases.

Payment
When properly designed, self-service dispensers can take credit and debit cards. A keypad may be helpful so that consumers can enter security codes and the type of payment in addition to the quantity of ice bags desired. Windows can be built into the layout so that customers can see messages or prompts on display. Once the transaction is complete, a door opens and the customer can pick up the designated number of bags.

As the popularity of self-service kiosks and dispensers grows to other products and services, the specifications for the rubber keypads on these machines can be adapted to other purposes by the right entrepreneur.

To learn more about the necessities of design options for rubber keypads on your self-service machine, read the Application Guide here on our website.