Membrane switches have become increasingly popular in recent years. Like all switches, they are designed to control one or more circuits. Membrane switches are distinguished from other types of switches, however, by their use of a flexible substrate.
Mechanical switches are typically made of hard plastic. Membrane switches, on the other hand, feature webbing made of softer and more flexible materials, such as silicone rubber. This alternative design allows them to bend and flex under pressure.
All membrane switches have a panel. The panel is the top layer. While all membrane switch panels are smooth and flat, they are available in different types.
Plastic injection molding (PIM) is a common type of membrane switch panel. PIM membrane switch panels are made of plastic that’s injected into a mold cavity. The plastic is typically heated, after which it’s injected into a mold. Once the plastic has solidified, it’s removed from the mold and used in the construction of a membrane switch.
PIM is technically a manufacturing process. It consists of forcing or “injecting” molten plastic into a mold cavity. Molds are hollowed objects. The interior of a mold is a cavity. To produce membrane switch panels, manufacturers may inject heated plastic into a mold cavity. PIM membrane switch panels follow this production process. They are made with PIM.
Some membrane switch panels are made of metal. Steel, for instance, is a common material used to make membrane switch panels. Steel panels are strong, durable and relatively inexpensive. These properties make them an attractive choice for commercial applications.
Along with steel, aluminum is used to make membrane switch panels. Aluminum weighs less than steel, and it offers greater protection against corrosion than steel. Regardless, you can find membrane switch panels in steel and aluminum.
#3) Circuit Board
Finally, there are circuit board membrane switch panels. They are made of the same material as circuit boards.
Circuit board membrane switches are also known as printed circuit board (PCB) switch panels. They share many of the same properties as metal membrane switch panels. With that said, PCB switch panels are nonconductive, whereas metal membrane switch panels may be nonconductive or conductive. PCB switch panels are also lightweight. They typically weigh less than both steel and aluminum membrane switch panels.
You can find membrane switch panels in different types. Some of the most common types include PIM, metal and circuit board. They are all used in membrane switches, which feature an elastic webbing. PIM, metal and circuit board panels are simply made of different materials.