Silicone-rubber keypads have become a popular choice among business owners and mechanical engineers. Also known as elastomeric keypads, they live up to their namesake by featuring a soft silicone rubber construction. While most other keypads are made of plastic, these are made of silicone-rubber. And the use of this material offers several unique benefits that aren’t found elsewhere. Whether they are used in a warehouse, factory, office or elsewhere, silicone-rubber keypads are an excellent choice. To learn more about them and how they work, keep reading.
Mechanics of Silicone-Rubber Keypads
Although there are different ways to design silicone-rubber keypads, most feature a similar format consisting of silicone rubber material around an electronic switch in the center. At the bottom of the silicone rubber material is conductive material, such as carbon or gold. Below this conductive material is a pocket of air or inert gas, followed by the switch contact. So, when you press down on the switch, the silicone rubber material deforms, thereby causing the conductive material to make direct contact with the switch contact.
Silicone-rubber keypads also use the compression molding properties of this soft and sponge-like material to produce tactile feedback. When you press down on the key and release your finger, the key will “pop” back up. This effect creates a light tactile sensation, thereby telling the user that his or her command was properly registered.
Why You Should Choose Silicone-Rubber Keypads
Silicone-rubber keypads are incredibly soft and comfortable to use when compared to other materials. While other materials are hard and difficult to use, silicone rubber is soft and rubbery.
It’s also worth mentioning that silicone=rubber keypads are resistant to extreme temperatures. Whether they are used in hot or cold environments, silicone-rubber keypads can withstand extreme temperatures without sustaining damage. This makes them a popular choice in factories or assembly lines where heat is common.
As previously discussed, silicone-rubber keypads also produce tactile feedback. This is important because studies have shown that tactile feedback improves typing accuracy. It signals to the user that his or her command was registered, eliminating double entries and other erroneous commands.
Silicone rubber is just one type of material from which keypads are made. Plastic is another popular choice. However, only silicone rubber offers the soft texture of this material. Perhaps this is why so many mechanical engineers now prefer silicone rubber over other materials for their keypads.