WHAT ARE MEMBRANE OVERLAYS?
Membrane overlays are separate plastic layers, usually polyester, that at some point will be applied to a membrane switch. Membrane overlays are unique from their cousins, panel overlays and graphic overlays, due to the mechanical nature of a membrane switch. It is important to design the membrane overlays around the underlying membrane switch. Membrane overlays can be embossed to provide tactile feedback and room for components on the membrane switch if needed. If backlighting is involved through the use of LEDs, fiber optics, or Electroluminescent (EL), a selective opaque light blocking layer may need to be incorporated. This layer can be printed behind the colors of the overlay and can help control where the light goes.
Material selection is important due to the mechanical requirements of membrane switches. Polyester will survive millions of actuations and is solvent resistant, making it ideal for membrane overlays. Other materials will crack in time as the switches are repeatedly pushed. Another important feature when choosing material is UV exposure. It is important to let us know if the part is going indoors or outdoors so we can select the correct overlay material.
The printing process used is dependent on number of colors, color callout and the type of image to be printed. Screen printing is still the standard for most simple overlays with solid colors. Digital printing has evolved to a point where it is less costly and the produces the same quality on solid colors as screen printing. In addition, digital printing is the only answer when images contain gradients and halftones. Our Indigo printer may be the solution to the amazing customized overlays you’ve always wanted. We can even print unique serial numbers readable by both humans and computers on your membrane overlays with the digital printing process.
WHY BUY MEMBRANE OVERLAYS?
- Inventory reduction. Order the overlays as you need them, which can help reduce inventory.
- If you choose, install them yourself to reduce cost as well.
- Customization. Different languages are a prime example of needing multiple overlays for a particular membrane.
- If you don’t know how many of each will sell, we can build them as you need them.
- Adhesive life consideration.