When building a design for a product with keypad entry, one of the critical decisions is whether to use a flat panel with a touchscreen or a silicone rubber keypad. When the input of information or commands is important, the keypad should be accurate and easy to use. While the touchscreen does have a smooth, clean design, it is very easy to make mistakes or have malfunctions. A silicone rubber keypad also has a clean design, and the chance for mistakes and malfunctions due to user error is lower, since the user can feel the digits activate when they are pressed. In critical function situations, this can be a matter of life and death.

If your  device uses  military keypad molding, for example, every touch is critical. If your user is in frigid cold temperatures or the ground is shaking from explosions, military silicone rubber keypads can ensure durability and accuracy for the safety of the user. It can also be fabricated into unusual shapes, adapting to the design, rather than having the design adapted to a certain shape on the silicone rubber keypad.

When the user types a security code into the device, it better be the right one. While today’s technology allows for sensitive touch, a touchscreen user can double enter digits by accident. Long fingernails making poor contact can result in pressing too lightly, while a heavy hand pressing too hard on the smooth touchscreen surface can result in activating the key too many times. It will attempt to activate when the wrong code or command has been entered. A silicone rubber keypad, however, has sensitivity to touch while limiting mistakes such as missing keystrokes or duplicate activation.

Durability is an important factor. You want your product to work effectively for a long time, without having to worry about replacing shattered keypads due to force or temperature. Silicone rubber keypads are hard to compromise. For extra durability, you can enhance the surface with an abrasion coating. Si Coat I ™ is a resistant coating system developed by our SiTECH team that offers wear resistance in a permanent bond that repels dust and reduces the need for replacement keypads. Our conductive coat, SiCoat V ™ , is a wear-resistant conductive coating that offers low contact resistance, electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding and other properties ideal for a military keypad molding.  SiCoat V ™ offers more than 1 million actuation cycles of function, and it won’t flake or chip.

When someone is using your product and design, you want it to work right every time. A silicone rubber keypad can offer durability and accuracy, ensuring that your product can do what it should when the right keys and functions are activated. When you’re developing a product or updating a design, keep in mind that silicone rubber keypads can make the difference between a design that works and one that works well in rugged conditions.