Durable Medical Custom Membrane Switch

A medical device manufacturer was experiencing durability issues and failures with an important custom membrane switch in the controller of a sophisticated surgical device. The product needed to function reliably in a hospital and, in order to do so, it needed to withstand harsh environmental elements.  In addition, the design needed to allow for better visibility in all light environments and feature a larger display window. The JN White®team applied their extensive experience in medical devices to engineer a custom membrane keypad that met all necessary requirements. The membrane keypads worked perfectly and expedited the prototyping phase of the project.

How JN White® Helped

JN White® assembled a team of engineering and manufacturing experts to tackle the challenges faced by the manufacturer.

  • Copperflex – In order to address the durability issues, the team replaced the current silver-printed circuit with a copperflex solution. The larger display window in the new design dramatically decreased the available real estate around the perimeter for the traces so utilizing copper was an optimal solution. Copper traces are much finer than silver traces since copper has considerably less resistance.
  • Electromagnetic Shielding (ESD) – The JN White team incorporated electromagnetic shielding into the new membrane switch design. This decision allowed the redesigned membrane switch to withstand both heat and chemical environmental challenges.
  • Flat Flex Polyimide – The team chose a flat flex polyimide material for the interface to solder the LED’s to it and address the visibility challenges.

The Result

The JN White® team applied their extensive experience in medical membrane switches and electromechanical manufacturing to develop a custom membrane keypad that met all the customer’s requirements. Featuring the necessary enhanced visibility for low-light environments, the new membrane switch is extremely reliable and durable in sterile hospital environments. The manufacturer was excited to see that the component prototypes worked right out of the box in testing, eliminating a great deal of wasted time prior to full-scale production.

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