Coating Solutions for Silicone Rubber Keypads

Designers and manufacturers specializing in silicone rubber keypads recognize the diverse array of industries and applications these components serve. From consumer electronics to heavy-duty industrial machinery, silicone rubber keypads are ubiquitous due to their reliability and cost-effectiveness as switching solutions. However, their widespread use also exposes them to various challenges, especially in environments where they endure heavy usage and harsh conditions.

One significant challenge faced by silicone rubber keypads is the wear and tear of key top artwork over time. The constant actuations and exposure to abrasive elements can degrade the visual integrity of the keypads, affecting both aesthetics and functionality. To combat this issue, designers have developed several abrasion-resistant coating solutions tailored to the specific needs of different applications.

Polyurethane Coating:

Polyurethane coating stands out as one of the most commonly used abrasion-resistant coatings for rubber keypads. Applied as a smooth, clear spray, polyurethane offers excellent resistance to corrosion, abrasion, and chemical exposure. This coating not only enhances the appearance of keypads but also significantly extends their lifespan. Through rigorous Norman Abrasion testing, it has been demonstrated that polyurethane-coated keypads can last up to four times longer than their non-coated counterparts. Moreover, its cost-effectiveness makes it a preferred choice across various industries.

Epoxy Key Top Coating:

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In applications where keypads undergo intense daily actuations, such as industrial environments where operators wear abrasive gloves, epoxy key top coating proves to be highly effective. This thick, protective coating provides a hard plastic feel and glossy appearance to the keys, ensuring their durability even under harsh conditions. Compared to uncoated keypads, epoxy-coated key tops can last up to twenty times longer, as validated by Norman Abrasion testing. While this coating may alter the tactile feel of the keys, its ability to withstand heavy usage makes it indispensable in certain scenarios.

We provide epoxy coating solutions for silicone rubber keypads to help increase the wear resistance and durability of the keypads. If you need this solution, please feel free to contact our team.

Parylene Coating:

Parylene coating offers a unique solution to the challenge of key top artwork longevity. Applied through a vacuum deposition process, Parylene coating provides exceptional durability by increasing the lifespan of silicone keypad artwork up to ten times. Unlike traditional coatings, Parylene is applied as a gas, allowing it to penetrate small crevices and ensure uniform coverage on all surfaces. While the specialized application process may incur higher costs, the superior protection it offers justifies the investment for applications where longevity is paramount.

Engraved Key Top Legends:

Custom Silicone Laser Engrave Keyboard and Keypads Custom Silicone Laser Engrave Keyboard and Keypads Custom Silicone Laser Engrave Keyboard and Keypads

For applications where longevity is the primary concern and tactile feedback is less critical, engraving key top legends directly into the silicone rubber proves to be an effective solution. By etching the legends into the key tops, the risk of wear and tear is virtually eliminated, ensuring the artwork remains intact throughout the part’s lifecycle. However, this method is not without its challenges, as dirt and dust accumulation in the engraved recesses may pose cleanliness issues. Additionally, modifying the legends requires costly tooling modifications, making it less flexible compared to coated alternatives.

In conclusion, selecting the appropriate abrasion-resistant coating is essential for enhancing the longevity and ruggedness of key top artwork on silicone rubber keypads. Whether it’s polyurethane, epoxy, Parylene coatings, or engraved legends, each option offers distinct benefits tailored to specific application requirements. By understanding the unique demands of each environment and considering factors such as durability, tactile feedback, and cost-effectiveness, designers can ensure the optimal performance of silicone rubber keypads across a wide range of industries and applications. If you have any opinions on the surface treatment of silicone keypads, you can also discuss with us. We strive to show our strengths in the silicone rubber keypad industry.