GRAPHIC OVERLAY MANUFACTURER
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1. Graphic overlay definition
There are a wide variety of graphic overlay materials, including PET, PC, and PVC. At first, overlay manufacturers use screen printing or digital printing technology to integrate graphics, texts, and logos into one. Then, stick the double sides adhesive substrates of different materials on it to make the membrane switches graphic overlays. It has excellent features such as waterproof, dustproof, anti-friction and non-fading. Currently, its application includes the user interface of domestic appliance, communication equipment, instrument, industrial control, and other fields.
2. Graphic overlay and control panels types
Screen printing process of custom graphic overlay includes front printing and reverse printing. Apply them to membrane switches of different materials and types, and you can divide them into the flat overlay and raised overlay.
The flat membrane overlay is the simplest type, which touch screen is also flat. Of course, some are backlit with LED display which has application even in the dark. It mainly uses different PMS colors of text, lines, and color blocks to indicate or distinguish various functional parts. Also, the customer can choose different industrial overlay materials and double-sided tape according to their own needs. In general, we offer polyesters and polycarbonates as raw materials.
The embossing overlay of membrane keyboard is developed on the basis of the flat one. And, it’s a kind of relatively beautiful and practical control panel. For membrane keypad company, the process to create graphic panels is based on the ordinary one. Through an embossing mold, graphic overlay manufacturers heat press it. So, the button portion is slightly raised to form a stereo button. Embossing buttons can accurately locate the shapes sizes of the key body and improves the recognition speed. What’s more, the below metal domes make the touch of the operator more sensitive. At the same time, it enhances the decorative effect of the appearance of the tactile switch.
3. Requirements for making the custom graphic overlay
Graphic overlays are custom labels with printing. Screen print the color ink on the back side of a transparent polymer. After the overlays printing and die cut, it becomes a colored membrane layer. As we all know, there are screen print and digital print for a membrane switch company to choose. Usually, for small amount manufacturing, providers offer digitally print for the customer. Digitally printed labels are always made for rapid prototype. For large amount, screen printing can save costs. During the overlay printing, one of the most important factors is color matching. In general, we use the Pantone Color Matching System, which has a large variety of colors to select.
After screen printing or digital printing, it comes to die cutting. This process needs mold and we laser cut panel overlays into shapes sizes we want. According to the structure of custom graphic overlays, we usually need to die cut once or twice. In addition, the membrane layer is part of the membrane switch. Through display windows, it can clearly show the function, color, film type and operating position of membrane switches, and it also protects.
After the design and manufacture of control panel overlays and other switch parts, it comes to the membrane switch assembly. Membrane switch suppliers paste the overlay, printed circuit board, and other adhesive layers together. As the control panel of the membrane switch, overlays have the decoration and protection function of the appearance of the product. Therefore, the custom graphic overlay used for making membrane panel should have these conditions.
3.1 Good appearance.
The membrane surface for manufacturing the graphic overlay can be flat or embossed, matte or glossy. No matter what it is, there are no surface defects such as mechanical damage, scratches, inclusions, and stains.
3.2 Better weather resistance.
As we all know, the panel overlays layer is the surface of the membrane switch and exposed to the natural environment. So there should be good performance under certain natural environmental conditions. For example, user interface products should have no deformation, cracking, aging and discoloration.
3.3 Better chemical resistance.
Control panels are likely to touch different chemicals. And it should be resistant to most common chemicals, including alcohols, ethers, and mineral oils.
3.4 Good dimensional stability.
The high quality membrane keypad graphic overlay is stable. It’s required that the size of the control panel has no change within a certain temperature range. Generally, it ranges from -40℃ to 55℃.
3.5 Resilience requirements.
It’s required that the screen printed membrane layer has a certain weakening performance. At the same time, the elastic deformation is small. Graphic overlay manufacturers can judge it by the percentage of elongation. In general, if the elongation is large, the amount of elastic deformation is also large, and the elastic energy is poor.
According to these requirements, HuaiSong membrane switch manufacturer offers a variety of custom graphic overlays. In general, they include polycarbonate overlays, polyvinyl chloride panel overlays and polyester, and polyurethane control panels.
4. Comparison of different graphic overlay materials
4.1 PVC overlay.
The PVC overlay is suitable for use under the temperature ranging from -15℃ to 55℃. And the thickness can be 0.125mm to 0.5mm according to the customer’s needs. Under room temperature, custom labels made by PVC overlays are stable to chemicals like acids, bases, and salts. What’s more, they have good wear resistance, fire resistance, and good electrical insulation. But their heat stability is pretty poor. So, it’s suitable for low-end cheap common signs and control panels.
4.2 PC overlay.
Polycarbonate overlays can be used within the temperature ranging from -60℃ to 120℃. And their thickness is always from 0.1mm to 0.2mm. The surface can be smooth or sandy. Firstly, both of them have high light transmittance, low water absorption, and good dimensional stability. Secondly, they have excellent bending, tensile and compressive strength. Thirdly, they are great in heat resistance, cold resistance, electrical insulation and weather resistance. However, polycarbonate overlays are less resistant to fatigue and are prone to stress cracking. In general, PC materials have the widest application. Of course, they can satisfy most membrane switch panels. Among, the high transmittance of the glossy surface (PC) can meet the requirements of the liquid crystal display windows.
4.3 PET film.
It can be used under the temperature of -30℃ to 120℃ with the thickness of 0.1mm to 0.2mm. After using it to manufacture graphic overlay, membrane switches have good chemical resistance, are insoluble in ordinary organic solvents and not resistant to alkali. What’s more, it has excellent mechanical properties, electrical properties, rigidity, and hardness. And it has the strongest toughness in thermoplastics, low water absorption, excellent wear and rubs resistance and high dimensional stability. Moreover, the tensile strength is comparable to that of aluminum film, which is much higher than PC and PVC.
5. Common graphic overlay
6. Where to make custom graphic overlays?
HuaiSong Industrial is a membrane switch company in China, which provides user interface solutions for customers. We have certified ISO 9001 and ISO 14001. If you have any inquiry about graphic overlays, please do not hesitate, contact us to get a free quote.