Elastomer Keypads

CSI Keyboards is a global leader and specialist of custom designed and manufactured elastomeric membrane switches. Elastomer switches or rubber keypads are manufactured from silicone rubber properties that are typically processed from either injection or compression molding. Elastomer keypads offer a wide range of design possibilities due to the many sizes, shapes, and colors that it can be molded into. Our rubber switches be easily integrated into both flex circuitry and PCB-based membrane switch assemblies allowing for both reduction in cost and assembly time.

Custom Elastomeric Keypad Solutions & Features

  • Multiple shapes, sizes, and color options
  • Tactility and actuator options
  • Flexible circuit based (copper flex Kapton or silver) or PCB based loaded with components
  • Printing and graphics utilizing screen-printing, pad printing, and spraying and laser etching
  • Rubber keypad backlighting
  • Proprietary over coatings and finishes
  • Embossed or debossed molding
  • Conductive carbon pills
  • Latest dome technology for tactility
  • Graphic overlay adhesion and integration
  • Environmental sealing
  • Laser etching
  • Chemically resistant coating
  • Many different durometer options
  • EMI / ESD / RFI Shielding
  • Rubber, plastic, stainless steel keycaps
  • Epoxy coated keys
  • Custom molded enclosures
  • Rocker switch and toggle switch panels
  • Co-injection elastomeric and plastic molding

Elastomeric Switch Backlighting
When it comes to elastomeric keypad backlighting, CSI has both the knowledge and expertise to utilize and take advantage of the molded silicone rubber properties which are an excellent conductor of light. CSI Keyboards also utilizes laser etching and light pipe technology as some of our many custom rubber switch backlighting techniques. CSI Keyboards, Inc. has designed and manufactured custom backlit keypad solutions for top tier medical, military and many different civilian industries. CSI Keyboards will work with you to bring your specific backlit elastomer keypad design to life and make it stand out from your competition.

CSI Keyboards uses many different technologies to backlight custom rubber keypads including but not limited to:

  • LEDs: the most popular and economical method for keyboard backlighting. LEDs are most commonly used to backlight keys, icons and symbols. LEDs are also typically used as indicator lights. A combination of LEDs, Light Guide Film and proprietary CSI backlighting methods can be designed to backlight the entire surface of a user interface.
  • Light Guide Film (LGF): designed to evenly distribute light from top or side firing LEDs, providing bright, uniformed illumination. It also reduces the amount of LEDs needed, saving power consumption. The design and utilization of light guide film (LGF) technology has become one of the most common methods of interface backlighting. CSI Keyboards uses proprietary techniques to design the light guide film so it is optimized for light redirection and reflection giving the customer the brightest possible backlighting solution. Light guide film dots are also designed and implemented which allow for the optimization of light distribution to obtain maximum brightness and uniformity. Common problems that many of our competitors face are light leakage and hot spots. CSI’s backlighting designs prevent any light leakage and hot spots from occurring, and also result in much brighter light guide film and interface.
  • Electroluminescence (EL): applied on a very thin layer between the graphic overlay and the circuit. EL uses a printable ink deposit to illuminate the switch and provide a uniformed illumination.
  • Fiber Optics: provides a flexible back lighting layer that can be incorporated between the graphic overlay and the circuit layer allowing the entire surface area of the membrane switch to be evenly backlit.

Elastomeric Switch Sealing & Durability
Many of our customers require rubber keypads that must be environmentally sealed to withstand harsh environments. Using the most cutting edge silicone rubber switch technology, CSI Keyboards can design a completely sealed silicone keypad product with the use of adhesives and mechanical features to protect both the keypad circuitry, and the electronics that sit behind the custom elastomeric keypad.

  • Rubber Keypad Sealing can be designed into the design of the keypad and our proprietary bonding methods can also be designed in to create NEMA 2, 3 and 4 assemblies. We can design and customize gaskets per your requirements or IP standards which include both IP67 rated keypads and IP68 rated keypads. We have designed sealed rubber switches for marine navigation controls, medical equipment, military applications, industrial controls and food packaging equipment.
  • Copper Flex Rubber Keypads, also known as polyimide Kapton circuitry, are used in the majority of CSI Keyboards’ keypad designs due to its excellent dielectric strength, thermal stability, chemical resistance and flexibility. Copper Flex membrane switch panels are produced using polyimide (Kapton) as the base material. Copper flex switches are manufactured by laminating a thin sheet of copper to a flexible film substrate. The copper is then chemically etched away, leaving the copper traces. An additional layer of polyimide is laminated to the circuit leaving the gold contacts exposed. Copper flex has become the superior choice over printed silver especially for outdoor applications. Copper flex circuitry construction designs offer a significant advantage over printed silver and a printed silver circuit can be replaced with a copper and polyimide construction with minimal additional cost.
  • Over Coatings & Finishes are typically applied to our custom silicone rubber keypads to protect your keypad from chemicals, moisture, scratches, and any other wear and tear that the keypad might encounter. We typically use a polyurethane (PU) coating which protects the printed and molded colors on the rubber keypad, and also increases the longevity of the printing and graphics. This coating ensures a longer keypad life regardless of the environment. We also utilize a proprietary coating specially formulated for marine and outdoor applications which provides added protection against UV exposure.
  • Environmentally Resistant Adhesives
    CSI Keyboards utilizes the top of the line adhesives specially formulated to provide high bond strength to surfaces. Our adhesives are resistant to humidity, UV, water, temperature, and chemicals.

CSI Rocker Switch Technology
One of CSI Keyboards’ newer and most innovative designs is the rocker switch. Utilizing our engineering expertise, we were able to design and engineer a molded silicone rocker switch panel technology that is unmatched in the industry. By perfecting the design of the rubber, the flex wall, the durometer, and dome technology, CSI Keyboards has a rocker switch that has the best look and feel available on the market.

CSI Toggle Switch Technology
CSI Keyboards’ latest and greatest designed and built product is our proprietary 4-way toggle switch. The only membrane toggle switch on the market is a completely sealed switch that is extremely durable and rugged in design that can easily be integrated into your product. More cost effective and with a longer life expectancy than any mechanical toggle switch available, the toggle switch is an excellent choice for any application. The technology allows for a 2-way, 3-way, or 4-way toggle switch with excellent tactile feel and extremely robust.

Engineering Capabilities
As one of the most experienced keyboard manufacturers and membrane switch companies in the country, CSI Keyboards boasts an unmatched engineering team in the membrane keypad industry having well over 100 years of combined experience designing and engineering highly durable and reliable membrane keypads, rubber switches, and other user interfaces. Our engineering team has designed keypads for top tier medical, military, industrial, aerospace, marine, food equipment, automotive fitness, and appliance companies all over the world.

While the majority of our competitors rely solely on overseas engineering and manufacturing sources, CSI Keyboards’ engineering department is based here at our ISO 9001: 2015 certified facility in Peabody, MA, USA making communication with our customers seamless from the early stages of the design, right through final production, and then throughout the life of the product. Having the ability to both design and assemble custom membrane keyboards in-house also gives our engineers unmatched rapid prototyping capabilities that other keypad manufacturers simply cannot offer.

Our engineers have developed some of the most innovative designs ever to be introduced to the membrane keypad and switch industry including new cutting-edge methods of backlighting, environmentally sealing and ruggedizing keypads to withstand the harshest of conditions.

Complimentary Samples Available Upon Request
Samples of our rubber switch technologies are available upon request. Please feel free to fill out a Quote Form or Contact Us by telephone or email to request samples of our products which will further demonstrate our rubber keypad capabilities.

 

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