Printed Circuit Board Assemblies with Silicone-Rubber Keypads

More complex user interfaces require higher-density, more miniaturized components. In these situations, printed circuit boards (PCBs) and printed circuit board assemblies (PCBAs) are often brought into play. A wide range of layers and thicknesses are available, allowing engineers to address a wide range of design requirements. When combined with custom-molded, silicone-rubber keypads, the result is a unique and reliable user experience.

Advantages

  • High Component Density
  • Multi-Layer Electronics Available
  • Enhanced Electrical Performance
  • More Design Control
  • Rigid Design

Disadvantages

  • Requires Manufacturing Expertise
  • Not Flexible
  • Typically Thicker
  • Requires Gerber Files and a B.O.M.
  • Typically More Complex Design

PCBAs

Printed circuit board assemblies (PCBAs) can be single or multiple layers (up to 16 layers typical).

Using PCBAs in the membrane switch assembly affords many advantages to design engineers. Unlike a simple membrane switch featuring a tail that plugs into a device’s motherboard (which are always starved for real estate), PCBA-based switches provide another platform for electronics.

These secondary boards can be used to offload a portion of the circuitry to the switch, with the top layers of the board reserved for the interface and the bottom layers reserved for the product. Conversely, the PCBA in the switch can house all of the necessary electronics, eliminating the need for a motherboard altogether.

The typical base material for PCBAs is FR4, CEM-1 or CEM-4. A wide range of thicknesses are available, ranging from .020” to .13”. Depending on the materials and thicknesses selected, PCBAs can help provide back panel support, in addition to providing a base structure for components and circuitry.

Minimum trace width for gold .003”, and for hot air leveling .006”. Plating thickness dependent on material can either be 1 micron to 25 microns. Plating options include copper, carbon, nickel or gold.

Silicone-Rubber Keypads

These keypads help to deliver unique tactile feedback and a distinctive visual appearance. They can be custom-molded in different shapes, patterns, and colors to support user-friendly backlighting options.

Silicone-rubber keypads are ideal for industrial environments, where a bold look and a more rugged, robust interface is required. With the correct design features, they allow you to completely seal a product from moisture, dust, and other environmental conditions, and they can also provide a level of vibration resistance.

Sign up for tips from our interface guru, Ken Boss.

Fill out this short form and we’ll send occasional and useful interface tips directly to your inbox.

"We always deal with Steve Matacz. He is the best at making sure all details are perfect. Timely communication with any questions we have."

Paul A., Recreational

"Customer response time is one of the best; always prompt and helpful. On-time performance the last 12 months is 100%."

RoseMarie C., Utilities

"Customer service, quality and lead time are great! No complaints."

Sara H., Medical Devices

We had been getting labels from a small, local supplier. Then we had a UL audit and the Inspector found that the labels should have been manufactured per UL approved constructions. She asked me what other label manufacturers use and I said, 'JN White™,' to which she immediately said, 'use them!' She didn't have to look them up or anything.

Brian B., Manufacturing

JN White™ does an excellent job in regards to the quality of their product! They are a good, responsive company that takes care of its customers and, if there does happen to be an issue, is quick to rectify the problem and make it right.

Steve L., Fitness Equipment

The JN White™ team handling our account makes my day much easier. Communication is clear and timely on everything from quotes to pull-ins. Rarely does any item coming from JN White™ end up being an issue. I am very satisfied with the level of attention and effort that they put in on a daily basis.

Ian M., Communications

Doug and Jaime suggested an alternative  to the present (3rd party) water jet cutting of our product. JN White's™ plotter cutting resulted in a superior finish and reduced cost with the entire production process being done at one supplier. Great work!

Roger W., Home Products

Every aspect, from concept to quote, to proof and the final product, is handled very quickly and the end product is always excellent.

Connor B., Homegoods

Designed and developed by