Silicone rubber keypads have become an increasingly popular alternative to traditional plastic keypads. Like their plastic counterparts, they consist of many individual switches, each of which functions as a separate circuit. Silicone rubber keypads, however, are distinguished from plastic keypads by their use of silicone rubber materials. They feature webbing material around each switch that’s made of silicone rubber. As a result, they have a softer and more elastic texture than other types of keypads, including plastic keypads.
When shopping for silicone rubber keypads, though, you may discover that some of them come with laser etching. Laser etching is an optional feature, so it’s not found in all silicone rubber keypads. Nonetheless, laser-etched silicone rubber keypads offer several advantages.
Easier to See Keys
Laser etching allows you to see the key legends on a silicone rubber keypad more easily. With laser etching, a powerful laser beam is used to remove areas of paint from the top layer. As the laser melts away the paint, it allows the backlight to shine through the key legends. Therefore, the key legends become illuminated, making them easier to see.
Laser etching works in conjunction with backlighting. Whether it’s electroluminecent (EL) or light-emitting diode (LED), backlighting is installed behind the silicone rubber keypad. Once the top layer of paint has been selectively burned away with a high-powered laser, the backlighting will illuminate the key legends from behind.
Another advantage of laser etching is that allows you to use a silicone rubber keypad during the night and in other low-light environments. You can’t expect to see the key legends if you’re using a silicone rubber keypad in a pitch-black environment. Rather than turning on a flashlight, though, you can choose a laser-etched silicone rubber keypad.
With laser etching, as well as backlighting, you’ll be able to see the key legends during the night and in other low-light environments. As previously mentioned, laser etching allows the backlighting to illuminate the key legends. Backlighting consist of EL or LED bulbs that are installed in the back of a silicone rubber keypad. When the silicone rubber keypad is powered, the bulbs will project illuminate that shines up and through the key legends.
Laser etching can be used to achieve a variety of colors. In other words, you aren’t restricted to using a silicone rubber keypad that only produces white light; you can choose an alternative light color, such as red, blue or green.
For an alternative color, the backlighting must feature bulbs in the desired color. If green backlighting bulbs are used, the silicone rubber keypad will produce green light that shines through the key legends.