Customized Membrane Switches for Demanding Applications

This application note from Schurter explains the benefits provided by these switch solutions in two case studies: agricultural automation and medical technology

  • The use of membrane switch solutions in agricultural applications.
    The use of membrane switch solutions in agricultural applications.
  • Control panels based on membrane switches in medical environments.
    Control panels based on membrane switches in medical environments.
  • Customized Membrane Switches for Demanding Applications
    Customized Membrane Switches for Demanding Applications

Based on a long tradition in the development and manufacturing of customized membrane switches for demanding applications, Schurter offers a fitted solution even for challenging applications and fields of use. Schurter's membrane switches are characterized by their reliability in all production processes and environmental conditions. They are produced using the latest manufacturing technology and in accordance with the highest industry standards, meeting all requirements.

Used in highly specialized applications such as in an industrial automation environment or for medical technology, the membrane switch solution is customized - regardless of whether small or large quantities are involved. 

Case study 1: Agricultural Automation

A membrane switch solution was required for use as an operator interface in an agricultural application. The membrane switch is exposed to extreme conditions such as large temperature fluctuations, high humidity or extreme cleaning conditions. The customer had already installed a competitor's solution in their products, but these failed repetitively and thus did not meet the lifetime expectations.

After a detailed investigation by the Schurter staff, it was found that the competitor's solution failed mainly due to the ingress of liquids. This led to premature failure of the operating unit, causing functional failures of the keys and LEDs. If the design and material selection of the membrane switches does not meet the high requirements, extreme environmental conditions lead to premature functional failures. In this application, malfunctions had led to maintenance calls, high replacement costs, a damaged reputation and frustrated users. 

Schurter's membrane switch solution was designed to withstand the harsh environmental conditions in a qualified manner. This included a new circuit structure, additional printing of insulation layers in the relevant areas and the revision of the design of the conductor track. The production is carried out in Schurter's state-of-the-art machinery. This ensures that the membrane switches function perfectly even when used under extreme conditions in the agricultural environment.


Case study 2: Medical Technology

A membrane switch solution was required for use as a control unit for hospital beds. The challenge here was the special lighting option. The membrane switch solution had to contain two homogeneously illuminated areas that could be controlled separately and did not scatter light on each other. The customer had already approached several competitors, but the realisation of the desired lighting failed.

Due to the large illuminated area and the small number of LEDs, Schurter's experts developed a shaped light guide that was mechanically modified on a laser plotter. This design allows the keypad to be illuminated in the dark in the so-called night design. The patient recognizes the keypad and glare caused by overdriving the lighting. The housing with the membrane keyboard is connected with a semi-transparent plastic moulding.

The selection of specially processed materials and a new design made it possible for the illumination to be guided and not to radiate laterally or to the rear. The customer mounted the optimized membrane switches on the new type of hospital bed and thus successfully carried out the certification.

The right membrane keypad for every application

A high degree of automation in production ensures consistently high quality. A membrane switch is the face of an application and reflects a company's brand in its design. Customer-specific requirements are implemented with the expertise of Schurter's engineers. The specifications are also qualified and verified with regard to the lifetime of the membrane switch.

Graduated in political sciences and international relations in Paris, Anis joined the team in early 2019. Editor for IEN Europe and the new digital magazine AI IEN, he is a new tech enthusiast. Also passionate about sports, music, cultures and languages. 

More articles Contact