Not all keypads are made of hard plastic. While plastic keypads have been around for decades — and you can still purchase them today — many companies have since switched to silicone rubber keypads. Like their plastic counterparts, silicone rubber keypads are essentially an electric switch. When the key is pressed, the switch closes to complete a circuit. When the key isn’t pressed, on the other hand, the switch remains open. But silicone rubber keypads have become a popular alternative to plastic keypads for the following reasons.
What Is a Silicone Rubber Keypad?
Before we reveal the advantages of using silicone rubber keypads versus plastic keypads, let’s first discuss the basics of how they work. Also known as an elastomeric keypad, a silicone rubber keypad is a type of switching solution that’s characterized by the use of silicone rubber webbing material around a center switch.
You’ll feel a physical response after pressing a key on a silicone rubber keypad. This is because silicone rubber keypads create natural tactile feedback. When you press a key, it will “snap” back up — a physical force known as tactile feedback. The tactile feedback of a silicone rubber keypad can be adjusted by modifying its snap ratio. The higher the snap ratio, the greater the tactile feedback it produces.
Silicone rubber keypads also support backlighting. Some of the different backlighting solutions available for silicone rubber keypads include light guides, light emitting diodes (LEDs), electroluminescent (EL) and fiber optic.
Laser etching is often performed in conjunction with the use of backlighting on silicone rubber keypads. With laser etching, paint is selectively removed from the keys using a high-powered laser. Once this paint is removed, the backlighting will illuminate the keys. Silicone rubber keypads with both backlighting and laser etching offer a well-lit environment that’s not found in other types of keypads.
Furthermore, silicone rubber keypads are incredibly durable and long-lasting. The silicone rubber material used to create the webbing is resistant to moisture and debris. Even when used outdoors for long periods of time, they will continue to serve as a reliable and effective switching solution.
It’s worth mentioning that silicone rubber keypads are inexpensive. In fact, many businesses choose silicone rubber keypads because of their low cost. If you need dozens of hundreds of keypads for your business, you should check out silicone rubber keypads. As revealed here, they offer a variety of advantages of plastic keypads, one of which being a low cost.