The increasing popularity of Membrane Keyboards & Switches in Medical Equipment

User interfaces like Membrane Switches are generally the area of the device typically operated. A lot of medical devices utilize Membrane Switches technology to act as user interfaces. There are important reasons on why specifically Membrane Switches for medical devices: Membrane Switches provide extended endurance and reliability, which makes them the perfect control option in medical device. They are utilized in a myriad of settings, including hospitals beds, pumps for infusion, and vital signs monitors. In this article, we provide 9 points to consider using membrane switches in the medical equipment.

Membrane Switches helps ensure cleanliness and hygiene

Hygiene is the top priority in the medical environment. One of the characteristics that make membrane switches ideal as medical instruments is the ease to clean the surface. They have a surface that is soft and may be sealed completely. It is made to resist various cleaning and disinfecting substances. Switches that are traditional have spaces between keys, and this poses the possibility of dust or other types of pollution falling through. This poses a risk to healthcare facilities due to the potential risk of mold growth or of bacteria.

Cleaning Membrane Switches is easy to maintain cleanliness and Hygiene

The hygiene level doesn’t stop with the disinfection of substances. The use of antimicrobial technology offers an added layer of protection. You can incorporate an antimicrobial front film to provide long-term protection for membrane keyboards from bacterial contamination.

Sealability and reliability of membrane switch

One of the greatest risks to user interfaces is the possibility of chemicals, water or other substances leaking into the gaps in the socket. This could cause an electrical short. Membrane switches can be totally protected from external factors. Switches can have a water resistance of up to IP67 and also shield the User Interface from scratches.

Space saving feature of Membrane Switches

Membrane switches can also be an excellent option to reduce space in devices. As opposed to mechanical switches or buttons, these components are recognized for their flat designs with a light weight and compact dimensions. So, even when available space is small, the membrane switches are effortlessly integrated into product designs. They also provide modern aesthetics in design, and are a step away from the bulkier, older mechanical switches.

Durability in extreme environments

Membrane switches have been the preferred technology in environments that demand the highest level of durability. They are able to last longer in harsh conditions and can take on a millions of “pushes”. Membrane switches usually come with at least four layers. 

Membrane switches will always look clean, regardless of how many times they are cleaned or utilized. In addition, the overlay materials are renowned for specific properties like they are extremely durable, including silicone, polycarbonate and polyester or mixtures of these substances.

The benefits of tactile feedback

Tactile membrane switches that are equipped with domes of metal or polydomes, give instant physical feedback upon the switches buttons being pushed. A snap action like this is an extremely efficient method of providing feedback to medical personnel who is operating devices, while also maintaining an eye on the patient. Medical staff should not spend a lot of time with medical devices. They must return to their patient as fast as they can. Thus, the user experience is crucial when designing membrane switches for medical devices.

Customization at high level

As compared to mechanical switches, membrane switches are relatively simple to tailor to the needs of a specific client. They can be used in conjunction with features like wireless connectivity via printed NFCBLE or WiFi antennas and seamlessly integrating capacitive sensors and visual feedback to users with the use of electroluminescence or LEDs.

Visibility by graphic overlay

A special membrane switch developed by Linepro with distinct graphic overlay for easy access to patient user

Graphic overlays are the topmost surface on the switches’s membrane. Graphic overlays on medical equipment may be observed from 180 degrees of radius, and from an angle.

If you are using another interface for users (such as touch screens) this level of visibility isn’t possible. The overlay graphic can be modified to meet nearly every aesthetic requirement such as applying various colors.

Backlighting Effect

A backlight may make the overlay graphic more noticeable and enhance accessibility. Medical staffs are able to immediately spot the warning light or any other indicator lights that are functional. For instance, you could make use of backlighting to indicate the presence of certain functions.

One of many backlighting illumination at Linepro

For instance, if you have medical devices, you could imagine a green light that indicates that the device is switched ON. LEDs are an extremely popular option due to their low-cost and point-source lighting technique and the variety of colors they offer. There are many advanced backlighting techniques, which entirely depends on nature of requirement of illumination desired by the user.

Shielding integration

Membrane switches are also customized with different options for shielding. They can thus offer protection against Electrostatic discharge (ESD) and Electromagnetic Interface (EMI) and Radio Frequency Interface (RFI). The shielding methods can be used to be integrated into membrane switches’s design by making use of foiltransparent film as well as printed screens.

At Linepro, we create, design, and manufacture membrane switches with capacitive touch, as well as flexible printed electronics for medical devices.

Our technical expertise and know-how are our guarantee of cutting-edge solutions that meet your requirements.

* We are able to create both high and low volumes.

* With our modern and safe manufacturing facilities, we are in a position to incorporate the latest technology into your product.

Our team has more than thirty years’ experience in the development of controls and printing electronic devices for medical applications.

Get in touch with our experts to find out what we can do to assist you with every step of your production process, from R&D Engineering, prototyping and engineering to manufacturing and co-creation.

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