Durable Enhanced Tactile Feedback

A long-time DoD customer of JN White® approached the firm for help in improving a custom membrane switch on a current ruggedized tablet product. In particular, they needed the product to perform well in harsh conditions, such as high temperatures, wind, sand and movement. In these environments, it is critical to know if a button has been actuated so tactile feedback is critically important. In addition, the product needed to incorporate backlighting for enhanced visibility.

How JN White® Helped

The team at JN White® brought extensive engineering support to the project and began by looking at the customer’s overall product design. Specifically, the team:

  • Investigated Material Inputs – An exhaustive search was conducted to find the optimal elastomer or silicone rubber for the custom graphic overlay.
  • Incorporated a “Force Actuator” – In order to enhance the tactile feedback, a “force actuator” was designed into the backside of the custom elastomer layer.
  • Utilized a Thin-Printed Circuit Board – The customer’s design was further enhanced using a thin-printed circuit board for the custom electronics of the membrane keypad. A circuit board with an elastomer top layer increased backlighting options and served as a good medium. Moreover, the board helped to contain costs by eliminating the copperflex featured in the former design. In addition, the utilization of a PCB provided the customer with additional real estate for their electronic components.

The Result

JN White® was able to assist a long-term partner with their successful redesign of their critical product. We encouraged their redesign consider all of the end-user’s needs, manufacturing specifications and requirements, while also being mindful of cost considerations. Ultimately, the firm successfully created a reengineered, custom membrane switch for a military product used in extreme conditions.

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