Electrical switches are used in countless applications, ranging from human machine interfaces (HMIs) and touchscreens to heavy equipment and household appliances. While mechanical switches offer a simple and effective means to control the flow of electricity in such devices, there’s been a growing demand for membrane switches. So, why should you choose a membrane switch over a traditional mechanical switch?
Resistant to Moisture
This alone should be reason enough to choose a membrane switch over a mechanical switch. Because they consist of a single membrane and not separate moving pieces, they typically boast a higher resistance to water and moisture. As such, many companies use membrane switches in outdoor applications.
Easier to Clean
Membrane switches must be cleaned on occasion to prevent buildups of dirt and debris. Thankfully, though, they are easier to clean than their mechanical switch counterpart. Mechanical switches have a tendency to accumulate significant amounts of dirt and debris, some of which will become embedded deep in the sockets. With a membrane switch, though, cleaning isn’t a problem. They are easily cleaned with minimal effort.
Greater Protection from UV Light
Another reason why so many people choose membrane switches is because they offer greater protection from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light. A UV-protectant film/coating can be applied to the surface, allowing it to withstand the otherwise harsh effects of the sun’s UV rays. So, why would a membrane switch need UV protection in the first place? If the membrane switch is being used outdoors, it’s in direct danger of being damaged from sunlight.
Printed Digitally or from Screen
A fourth reason to choose a membrane switch is the simple fact that they can be printed either digitally or from the screen itself. The actual design is also high quality, more so than mechanical switches.
Multiple Backlighting Options
There are several different backlighting options available for use in membrane switches. This includes light-emitting diode (LED), electroluminescent (EL) lamps, and fiber optics, each of which has its own unique characteristics. Fiber optics backlighting, for instance, can last for up to 100,000 hours, at which point it must be replaced. Of course, most users will never come close to reaching this amount, making it an excellent backlight choice for membrane switches.
As you can see, there are numerous reasons to choose a membrane switch over a mechanical switch, some of which include protection from water and UV light, easier to clean, and more backlighting options.