CSI Keyboards is a global leader of custom designed and manufactured elastomer switches and custom silicone rubber keypads. Elastomer switches or rubber keypads are manufactured from silicone rubber properties that are typically processed from either injection or compression molding. Silicone rubber membrane switches use compression-molded silicone rubber (versus polyester or polycarbonate graphic overlay material typically used in standard membrane switch designs) with conductive carbon pills or with non-conductive rubber actuators. They have exceptional resistance to extreme temperatures and environmental factors, making them an ideal choice for products exposed to harsh environmental conditions, moisture, chemicals, etc
Elastomer silicone rubber 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 Elastomer Rubber Keypad Solutions & Features
Elastomer Rubber Switch Backlighting
Bring your product to life and really make it “pop” with a backlit rubber keypad solution. When it comes to rubber 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 utilizes laser etching and light piping technology to efficiently backlight rubber keypads to get the very most out of the LEDs and to prevent light bleed or hot spots.
CSI Keyboards has designed and manufactured custom backlit keypad solutions for just about every industry including top tier medical, military, marine, aerospace and industrial industries. CSI will work with you to bring your specific backlit elastomer keypad design to life and make it really stand out from your competition. As a leading rubber keypad manufacturer, CSI Keyboards uses many different technologies to backlight custom rubber keypads including but not limited to:
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.
When a rubber keypad or rubber membrane switch calls for backlighting, you may often hear the term “laser etching” being used. Laser etching refers to a process in which a high powered laser is utilized to remove a layer or layers of paint on a keypad.
A standard rubber keypad is simply printed to add graphics or nomenclature. This method will suffice as long as the keypad is not backlit. It’s a cheap and easy way to create letters, numbers, and special characters on keys, making it the preferred choice among many companies. But in order to backlight molded rubber, the rubber must be laser etched: which is a newer, more advanced method for producing backlit nomenclature, graphics, indicators, etc.
The molded rubber typically starts off as a translucent, milky-like color and is then painted with opaque colors designed into the part. The rubber is then laser etched down to the translucent layer(s) of the keypad that will eventually be backlit with LEDs. The laser is carefully guided across the surface of the key, burning away paint in select areas. After the paint has been removed, it reveals the translucent layer below. The result is a contrasting translucent and opaque color, making the backlit areas pop with a higher level of crispness, brightness and visibility.
Laser etched keypads are extremely rugged and durable. The combination of molded light blocks inside the part and the laser etched nomenclature on the faceplate make for an unmatched backlit keypad.
Elastomer Rubber Switch Sealing & Durability
Many of our customers require silicone 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 keypad.
CSI Patented Toggle & Rocker Switches
One of CSI Keyboards’ latest innovations is the patented toggle switch. Utilizing our engineering expertise, we were able to design and engineer a molded silicone rubber 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 the only membrane rubber keypad rocker switch on the market.
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.