What are 12 key membrane keypads and How Does It Work?

25 Mar, 2022

By hqt

Firstly, 12 key membrane keypads is a low power sensing element and are ideal controls for new microprocessor electronics. Membrane keypads can be made on a printed circuit board or on a polyester film.

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  • Keypad panels with embossed buttons
  • Tactile keypads
  • Keypads with flexible circuit board/connector
  • Membrane keypads with LED backlight
  • Front panels and overlays

There are several types of execution of the electrical circuit of the control panel

  • full 12 key membrane keypad (all electrical circuitry is done on film)
  • keypad on flexible printed circuit board
  • keypad on rigid printed circuit board

Eventually, the junction of the electrical circuit with external units mounts by a flat cable or flexible wires.

Benefits of membrane keypads

  • thin, easy to clean
  • dust-, moisture- and oil-proof
  • sealed
  • have an attractive appearance
  • Various designs and colors available
  • 12 key membrane keypad have a low price

Furthermore, High-tech electronic equipment currently uses in all areas of the economy. Moreover, medicine, aviation and automotive industry, space and military industries cannot do without command and control complexes, measuring devices, equipment for testing, operational and other processes. 

Modern devices of this direction must meet not only the requirements of quality, reliability and uninterrupted operation, but also simplicity, convenience and compactness to ensure the correct operation of the entire section or assembly.

The basic design of any electrical device includes the following components

  • frame;
  • power unit (power supply);
  • main computing device (chipset or microprocessor);
  • 12 key membrane keypad has visual control element (display or monitor);
  • Control device (keypad, dashboard, etc.).

It should be noted that more complex equipment equips with more complex elements and may include several control or calculation components.

A variety of dashboards can be found as part of a variety of technological units, machines and mechanisms. In addition, a classification includes information and instrumentation located, for example, in a car or install in a control system above a technological complex.

Firstly, modern dashboards are made taking into account the scope of the mechanism and are equipped with all the necessary control devices and visual control systems.

Why membrane keypad is so popular?

Flexible 12 key membrane keypads have currently the main control element. As well as, Film or membrane control systems involves in many areas, among which are medicine, machine tool building, industry, computer technology, and household appliances. Furthermore, the membrane or membrane keypad is very popular due to the following characteristics:

  • universality;
  • reliability;
  • wear resistance;
  • manufacturing speed;
  • practicality;
  • Compactness, etc.

12 key membrane keypad consist of different layers

Secondly, the simplest 12 key membrane keypad consists of three thin layers and does not contain any mechanical moving parts. Eventually, special tracks apply to the lower and upper layers, certain sections of which close when a certain key presses. Moreover, the middle layer serves as a kind of insulator, excluding arbitrary closure of the tracks.

Infect, the scope of their application is constantly expanding, and the technology itself is gradually replacing similar components from the designs of modern machines, especially for special purposes.

Is membrane keypad flexible and reliable?

Subsequently, the main components of any technological device include flexible printed circuit boards. Modern production of flexible circuits includes the necessary steps to create a reliable and high-quality element. Eventually, flexible boards uses in all areas of industry, as the main working components. The scope of these devices is largely determined by the following conditions:

  • increased loads;
  • required compactness;
  • 12 key membrane keypad has reliability and reliability;
  • reduction of connecting elements (wires and others);
  • Reducing the specific gravity of the finished device and others.

What types of material uses in 12 key membrane keypads?

Membrane keypad has no moving mechanical parts. As well as, the surface is made in the form of a flat and flexible surface with a pattern of keys. Industrial keypads of this type are very low cost and compact. In addition, a keypad can be bent; it is reliable and almost completely protected from dirt and moisture. The main drawback is the almost complete lack of tactile feedback.

Gold technology uses in membrane keypad manufacturing

12 key membrane keypads widely use in the assembly of industrial control panels. They are wear-resistant and characterize by a resource of more than 3 million clicks due to the use of gold on gold technology, i.e. they have gold-plated pads and button domes. Furthermore, the body make of impact-resistant materials such as FR4 fiberglass, phenol polymer and aluminum.

 This solution allows you to operate the keypad in extreme production conditions. Furthermore, the degree of protection can meet IP65. By type of installation, secure membrane keypads are built-in, desktop and in a 1U case for installation in a 19” rack.

How can we use it?

Ultra-short-throw buttons of 12 key membrane keypads provide a clear tactile effect and comfortable operation for a long time. In addition, a number of models for convenient operation of the keypad in dark rooms, LED backlighting of the keys provides.

 In addition, using the keypad without additional connection of a computer mouse is possible thanks to the built-in touchpad or trackball. Moreover, the keypad connects to the computer via PS/2, USB or DIN/MiniDIN connectors.

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Membrane keypad | Application

  • medicine and research centers;
  • pharmacology and chemical production;
  • food industry

The production of film keypads (12 key membrane keypads) is a symbiosis of printing technology and electronics.

At the initial stage, the design development of the sizes and locations of the control and/or indication elements, color solutions for quick visual orientation of the user in the control system takes place. In essence, the keypad is a physical interface that must meet not only industry quality standards, but also usability requirements.

The manufacture of film keypads is a complex and painstaking process, on which the performance of the entire product as a whole depends.

Self-supporting and flexible keypads

The first made on the basis of printed circuit boards made on metallized fiberglass of various thicknesses. This gives the structure the necessary rigidity, and it can use as a separate element of the hull.

Flexible 12 key membrane keypads base on lavsan (PET) films and mount on the surface of the dashboard, which provides the necessary structural rigidity.

Finally, in both designs, it is possible to use various “chips” such as EL-backlighting and install electronic components – LEDs, connectors, keypad controllers, etc. In addition, visual elements apply using silk-screen printing. Usually plastic and special paints (e.g. Marabou) use.


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