You can’t choose a plastic keypad without considering the finish. Plastic keypads are available in a variety of finishes. The finish, of course, is a layer of material that’s applied over the top of a keypad. Both silicone rubber keypads and plastic keypads are available in different finishes. When choosing the latter type of keypad, you can expect to encounter the following finish options.
Vacuum metallization (VM) is a finish option in which plastic keypads are available. It involves the use of a vacuum chamber. Plastic keypads are placed inside of a vacuum chamber along with a base material, such as aluminum. As the chamber generates negative pressure, the base material will cover and adhere to the surface of the plastic keypads.
Non-Conductive Vacuum Metallization
In addition to VM, plastic keypads are available in non-conductive vacuum metallization (NCVM). It’s essentially the same as VM but with a different material. VM involves the use of a base material that’s electrically conductive. Aluminum is an excellent conductor of electricity, so it’s commonly used in VM. NVCM, on the other hand, involves the use of a base material that’s not electrically conductive.
Laser etching is another finish option to consider when choosing a plastic keypad. Laser etching doesn’t necessarily add material to the surface of a plastic keypad. Rather, it’s designed to selectively remove paint from the top layer. Laser etching involves the use of a high-powered laser. As the laser travels over the surface of the plastic keypad, it will melt away paint in the targeted areas.
Laser-etched plastic keypads are stylish. Laser etching can selectively remove paint from the top layer to achieve a more attractive appearance. With that said, laser etching doesn’t add material to the top layer. It actually does the opposite by removing material from the top layer.
Powder coating is a popular finish option for plastic keypads. It will create a thin layer of powder particles over the surface of the plastic keypad. Powder coating essentially involves blasting the top of a plastic keypad — or other objects for that matter — with powder particles. Once cured, the powder particles will solidify while shielding the underlying material from damage.
Plastic keypads are available in a variety of finish options. If you’re planning to buy one or more plastic keypads in the near future, you should familiarize yourself with the different finish options. Some of the most common finish options for plastic keypads include VM, NCVM, laser etching and powder coating.