From Fortune 500 companies to small mom-and-pop businesses, countless companies use keypads in their daily operations. You’ll often find them in human machine interfaces (HMIs), industrial control equipment and other input devices. But not all keypads are made equal, so it’s important for business owners and engineers to choose the right type for their respective needs. In this post, we’re going to explore some common terminology associated with keypads, providing insight into this invaluable component.
You’ll probably find a variety of keypads made of silicone rubber material. Known as silicone rubber keypads, they are characterized by a soft, supportive texture that’s incredibly resilient. With a silicone rubber construction, these keypads can withstand harsh conditions, including the outdoors, allowing for an unmatched level of versatility.
Another type of keypad that you’ll probably encounter is UV resin. Some engineers assume that these keypads are resistant to ultraviolet (UV) light, but this isn’t necessarily true. UV resin keypads are actually keypads made with a unique UV curing process. After the graphic has been added to the surface of the keypad, UV light is projected onto it. This triggers a reaction in which the graphic “cures” and becomes embedded into the keypad’s surface. UV resin has become a popular choice among engineers in recent years because of its long lifespan and resistance to fading.
Debouncing is a term used to describe the process of making keystrokes on a keyboard or keypad for the purpose of creating a single confirmed keystroke. Pressing a key causes the key to deform and make contact with an underlying electrical content, thus closing the circuit. Upon releasing the key, it “bounces” back up. Debouncing is done to prevent the keyboard or keypad from registering multiple keystrokes when only a single stroke occurs.
Plastic keypads, of course, are keypads with a plastic construction. They are strong, durable, long lasting and inexpensive, making them a great choice for companies in need of keypads. The downside to plastic keypads, however, is that they may crack when enough force is exerted upon them. For most applications, though, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Finally, some keypads and keyboards use switch matrix technology to improve their accuracy. Also known as a switch circuit, switch matrix technology uses an array of X-Y wires in a grid formation to register keystrokes. You’ll often find this technology in high-end keypads and keyboards.