When shopping for membrane switches, you may discover that some of them feature a membrane overlay. It’s a common component in these electrical switches. Membrane switches, of course, are constructed with a flexible substrate. Therefore, they are softer and more elastic mechanical switches. While there are different types of membrane switches, some of them feature a membrane overlay.

An Introduction to Membrane Overlays

What is a membrane overlay exactly? It’s a separate layer of material that’s applied over an existing membrane switch. Most membrane switches feature some type of overlay. An overlay is simply an outer layer. To shield the circuitry from contaminants, membrane switches are designed with an overlay, such as a membrane overlay.

There are other types of overlays available. Some devices use a panel overlay. Other devices use a graphic overlay. Membrane overlays, though, are typically used with membrane switches. They consist of a layer of material, such as plastic, that’s applied over an existing membrane switch. The membrane overlay acts like a shell for a given membrane switch.

The Benefits of Membrane Overlays

Not all membrane switches have a membrane overlay. As a result, you might be wondering what benefits membrane overlays offer. With a membrane overlay, membrane switches can produce more tactile feedback. Membrane overlays support embossing. Embossing is a finishing technique that’s designed to create a textured surface. Aside from aesthetics, embossing will promote greater tactile feedback.

Membrane switches may last longer with a membrane overlay. They are typically made of plastic or a similar synthetic material. Therefore, moisture or other contaminants can penetrate the membrane overlay. The end result is longer-lasting membrane switches that are easier to clean and maintain.

You can also install membrane overlays yourself. Rather than ordering new membrane switches that feature a membrane overlay, for instance, you can order the membrane overlays. Upon receiving them, you can then install the membrane overlays on your existing membrane switches.

Membrane overlays support backlighting. Backlighting is oftentimes used in membrane switches to enhance their visibility in dark and low-light environments. And even if a membrane switch features a membrane overlay, it should support backlighting. Light-emitting diode (LED) backlighting is commonly used in membrane switches. When compared to other types of backlighting, LED typically comes out on top. LED backlighting is energy-efficient, produces little or no heat, and it can be used with light guides to prevent bright spots.