1. What is a membrane panel?
The membrane panel is a kind of text mark or trademark made of materials such as polyvinyl chloride, polyester or polycarbonate. Characteristics of the membrane switch are both decorative and functional. Therefore, the custom membrane switch is very popular. Also, it has a beautiful appearance, very clear texts, and pictures. What’s more, all types of membrane switch are waterproof. Thus, they are used in a wide range of industries, like CNC machine tools, post and telecommunications, and various household appliances.
2. Membrane panel manufacturing methods.
2.1 Firstly, prepare quality materials related to the production of membrane switches graphic overlays. As we all know, membrane panel manufacturers need professional machines to make switch panels. Because the custom membrane switch is a kind of industrial product. Membrane keypad suppliers are not able to finish it only by hands.
2.2 Secondly, it comes to membrane switch design. Of course, we must have a basis before we produce. Therefore, drawings are always necessary before manufacturing membrane switch. If you choose HuaiSong Industrial, you will have total freedom in design, and our engineers are always ready to help. Switch designs are models of the products we need to produce.
2.3 Thirdly, membrane keypad suppliers make the skeleton of products. We need to create an ideal custom membrane panel skeleton according to the pre-designed drawings.
2.4 Then, the manufacturer of membrane switches install the various electronic parts onto the keypads keyboards. Each electronic component must be installed according to their function. No errors can occur!
2.5 Finally, after everything is finished, we also need to attach a descriptive picture to the user interface of switches panels. That is screen printing the name and function of each button on the touch screens or silicone rubber keypads. So, we can easily and quickly identify the role of each button on the touch screen.
3. Membrane panel manufacturing process.
Small products, big stage. The membrane switch is a small part of products including air conditioner, washing machine, electronic lock, medical device and so on. Well, even it is small, the manufacturing workflow is quite a lot. One reason is about the engineer and manufacture of control panels. Another is the multilayer structure. Including graphic overlay, adhesive layers, flexible circuits, printed circuit boards or circuit layers, even with metal domes and elastomeric keypads. If each layer has 5 processes, the total producing of membrane keypads will have dozens of steps. The following focuses on the main process flow for membrane panel manufacturing.
3.1 Cutting raw materials
The raw materials used for membrane switch panels include PC film and PET film or sheet. So, what is the difference between film and sheet? In general, a product having a thickness of usually 0.25 mm or less is called a film. While, if a product having a thickness greater than 0.25 mm, it is no longer referred to as a film, but is referred to as a sheet. That is to say, the key point of distinguishing between film and sheet is the thickness of the material.
The so-called cutting is to separate the raw materials from larger areas or volumes of raw materials for use. Commonly, we order raw materials according to the size of the membrane keypad required by the customer. And the main purpose of this is to avoid material loss and waste.
3.2 Making the film artwork
Film production is the most critical part of the entire flexible membrane switch design and manufacture. Whether the film is correct or not directly affects the quality and efficiency of screen printing. Thus, all membrane keypad manufacturers pay great attention to the switch film design. In general, two people work together to finish this process, which consists of designing and proofreading. So that we can better ensure that they are done correctly at one time.
When the film came out, the operator is key to make it with high quality. He is supposed to know overall consider the screen printing machine size, screen size, and mesh. Also, the color type, the thickness of the line, and the number of products should be taken into consideration. Only by integrating these factors, we can do a good job.
3.3 Printing down
Firstly, coating the photographic paste on the silkscreen board. Then, this work can be done on the printing-down machine by using the film. As we all know, printing down is the second critical step in the high quality membrane switch keypads manufacturing process. The quality of the screen printing plate affects the quality of the silkscreen and the final product. So, the plate making work is carried out by many people with rich work experience in most of membrane keypad suppliers. Newcomers are not allowed to work in printing down.
3.4 Screen printing
Silkscreen work is the core process during the whole design and manufacture of tactile membrane switches. There is a wide variety of machine for screen printing. For example, semi-automatic screen printing machines, fully automatic screen printing machines, and roll-to-roll screen printing machines. Of course, it also can’t be separated from the manual screen printing machine. Because it is flexible in application, has good applicability and operability in both batch and proofing. In the mass production process of the membrane panel, manual screen printing machines are less efficient. But any copper flex membrane switch company can’t do without manual screen printing machines.
3.5 Making molds
The mold is produced by using an engraving machine, milling machine, or a laser cutting machine. As we all know, these molds are an indispensable tool for making tactile switches. So the mold quality is an important part of the membrane switch quality. There are two types of molds: cutting die and terrace die. The former is used after cutting, while the latter is convex. While producing membrane keypads, keypad manufacturers always need raising graphic overlays. Because they need to give a tactile response when facing the fingers’ actuation forces.
This process requires the use of special tools and equipment. Such as die-cutting machines, semi-automatic die-cutting machines, fully automatic die-cutting machines, start-up presses, hydraulic presses, and laser cutting machines. In general, we use these machines to shape the double sided transfer tapes, screen printing sheets, and graphic overlays. Cutting is the basis of the next step: assembly.
This is the least mechanized process. Currently, it’s difficult to implement machinery and relies entirely on manpower. Assembling the membrane panel, adhesive layer, upper and bottom printed circuit layers, and other adhesive layers. During the assembly of custom membrane switches with the metal dome, there should be operating environments without static electricity.
3.8 Quality inspection
The last procedure is quality assurance. In fact, not only at the end, the quality control is a key step during the whole production process.
Well, the above eight steps are the main steps in the membrane switch panel manufacturing process. As we can see, there are many steps in small products. And the omission of any one link will affect the high quality of the membrane switch. Because of this, many product design and manufacture companies place demands on high quality stability.
HuaiSong Industrial is one of professional membrane keypad suppliers in China. We provide custom service, have sound management systems, and keep learning the advanced production techniques. So, we will never let you down if you choose to deal with us.