Silicone rubber keypads are a central component in many keyboards. There they trigger a direct switching function and determine the tactile feeling.
Silicone rubber keypad

Basic principle of the silicone rubber keypad

Silicone rubber keypads are a central component in many keyboards. Using integrated contact pills, they trigger a direct switching function on the circuit board underneath and determine the tactile feeling. A rubber keypad can optionally be provided with key caps to change the visual and haptic impression and to increase the robustness. Otherwise, the silicone rubber keypad itself serves as the optical element and represents the buttons.

Safety mats are injection molded from the base material silicone rubber and usually consist of several switching domes. Its inner end consists of a contact pill or optionally a snap disc and represents the electrical contact element. The outer end is the confirmation side, which can either be equipped with key caps or was designed directly as an operating surface. The feel and color of the keys and the tactile feel can be further regulated via the shape of the dome and the bridges as well as the selection of the material used. The choice of the contact pill determines the electrical properties of the button. Common contact pills are carbon-filled or coated, Supra conductive or snap disks.

By laminating plastic key caps on the silicone keys, a hard user interface can be created despite the soft rubber keypad. This further increases the design options. For example, the key caps can be painted or lasered and the keys can be equipped with lighting.


Advantages of a silicone safety mat

  • Very flexible and therefore easily adaptable to the construction
  • Individual key shapes and colors are just as easy to implement as backlighting
  • Resistant to water, dust, thermal and chemical influences
  • The key stroke and operating force can be freely selected during development
  • Electrical contacting can be implemented differently depending on requirements and budget
  • Special surface coatings, such as PU coating, make the keys very wear-resistant
  • Low maintenance risk with a long mechanical life
  • Optionally, flexible design using key caps made of plastic or stainless steel


Areas of application

Silicone rubber keypads can be found in almost all mobile devices. Remote controls and other handheld devices are almost always equipped with silicone rubber keypads, both in the consumer sector and in commercial applications. A keyboard layout with a silicone rubber keypad is also particularly suitable for devices in areas of application in which they come into contact with water and dust, since the rubber keypad is absolutely leak-proof and can be easily manufactured with a circumferential seal. Flat variants are often used in medical applications because they are easy to clean and disinfect. And silicone rubber keypads are also often used in classic typing keyboards.


Related Links

Silicone rubber keypad (Wikipedia explanation)



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