Most silicone keypads have printed legends or coloured spray layers applied for laser etching. The inks used on keypads are silicone based inks and although these are reasonably hard wearing they can after many operations start to wear. A common example of this would be on a television remote control, a high usage product and after a few years of use the legends start to wear.
To help increase the life cycle of a keypad with printing or coloured spray layers it is possible to apply further clear coatings that increase wear resistance. As well as increasing wear resistance they can also improve the product cosmetically by helping to reduce dust or by changing the surface feel of the silicone.
What finishes are available and how do I choose?
There are three main spray finish options that we can supply, these are a matt PU based spray coating, a matt silicone based spray coating and a matt silicone, anti-bacterial spray coating.
- The PU Based Spray coating offers the highest level of wear protection and adds a much harder smoother surface finish to the product. We would expect under normal operating conditions the print wear of the keypad to be in excess of 1,500,000 operations.
- The Matt Silicone Spray coating also protects the keypad print from wear but offers a much softer, silky surface finish, as well as reducing dust and dirt attraction. We would expect under normal operating conditions the print wear of the keypad to be in excess of 500,000 operations. This spray coating has also been used on several seal mouldings we supply to help reduce friction in the assembly. See our case study page for an example of where we used this as a low friction solution. Low Friction Spray Coating
- The Matt Silicone Anti-Bacterial Spray coating protects the keypad printing from surface wear but also incorporates an antimicrobial additive in the material to help resist growth, and kill, harmful bacteria. See our case study page to see an example of where this coating has been used. Antibacterial Keypad
- As well as the spray coatings we are also able to apply Clear Resin Tops to the keypads, the resin offers even greater wear protection than the PU spray coating and also offers a smooth gloss, high value finish to the keypad. This type of coating is the most expensive due to the difficult application process involved but it does offer a cheaper alternative to plastic moulded caps.
All of these coatings add value to the product and will protect the print, in most cases for the life of the keypad. Which coating to use is as much down to personal preference as performance as they do have different surface feels so we would suggest sending a few sample keypads for you to test.
Rubbertech have the in house spray facilities to offer these types of finishes in our UK factory and also at our partner in China if required. Our UK spraying facilities and latest etching technology means often our processing costs are similar to the Far East cost but offer much improved delivery times.