Membrane Switch Design Guide
RSP is your trusted source for membrane switches, rubber keypads,
plastic injection molding, turn-key assemblies and more.
RSP has over 50 years of design and manufacturing experience. We
have domestic capabilities for laser cutting rapid prototype membrane switches
and producing medium-sized production runs at competitive pricing.
We have offshore production capabilities for a variety of jobs
large and small offering world-class pricing.
The top layer of a membrane switch is the graphic interface between
the user and the machine. While other layers are essential to
overall performance, it is a well designed and attractive graphic
layer that impresses the user first. The other layers of the
membrane switch need to support the graphic layer by providing the
qualities and functionality you need.
RSP works with each customer to design the optimal switch that
meets your needs. We can maximize a switch for appearance,
functionality and price. RSP prides itself on testing each switch
to your specifications so that there are no failures in the field.
The membrane switch can be the most important part of a product; do
not trust the design and construction to just any supplier.
If you need additional information please contact us directly at
Membrane Switch - Standard Construction - Membrane KeypadFigure 1:Construction Considerations
RSP designs custom membrane switches to your specifications.
Ideally, the membrane switch will be designed simultaneously with
the rest of your product. (Please note that we have the capability
to provide you with many other parts for your project as well, such
as the PCB, plastic enclosure, and even turn-key assemblies). Since
we want you to have the best membrane switch possible, here are
some things to consider during the design phase.
- What material type is the switch laminated to? This will determine
the adhesive needed.
- Will tactile response be required?
- Is actuation force a factor? The usage affects whether you want a
heavy or light force to actuate the key.
- Will this product be used indoors or outdoors? Does this product
need NEMA 4 construction? NEMA 4 provides a degree of protection
against falling dirt, rain, sleet, snow, windblown dust, splashing
water, and hose-directed water.
- Is this product exposed to the elements?
- What temperatures and humidity range will this product experience?
- What type of solvents and cleaning solutions will come into contact
with the switch?
- How many switches will there be?
- What type of pinout will be used (common bus, X-Y matrix, other)?
- What closed loop resistance is acceptable?
- Will Electromagnetic (EMI) or Electrostatic (ESD) shielding be
- Will edges be exposed? It is best to place the membrane switch into
a recess that is the same or greater thickness as the membrane
switch to avoid accidental interaction.
- Will embossing be required? Embossing improves a user’s ability to
RSP accepts many different formats of artwork files. To find out if
we can work with your artwork, please send a file with contact
information to email@example.com. If you do not have artwork or need
help with your design, our graphic artists and engineering experts
can also design the graphic overlay and circuitry for you. Common
file types accepted by RSP include:
Sample / Re engineering
- Adobe Illustrator - AI or EPS
- CorelDraw - CDR
- AutoCAD - DWG or DXF
- Portable Document Format - PDF
If you have a sample part, providing it to your sales associate can
be very helpful for quoting and rebuilding. If drawings are
available, a sample can confirm colors and construction in cases
where the membrane switch was not built to specifications. If there
are not drawings, in the case of a replacement membrane switch on a
machine, a sample may be the only mean available to construct the
schematics, match colors, and specify the layers.
Color samples provide the best method of color matching. If an
exact match is necessary, please let your sales professional know
so that a sample can be provided to you for approval.
Pantone Matching System (PMS ###)
Color Samples - Preferred samples are 3” x 3” on polyester or
During the design process RSP will supply the customer with the
same prints that move with the job through production, whether it
is being produced domestically or offshore. Customers can visually
see each layer of the switch including key placemen