Backlighting solutions for switch manufacturing

Nelson Miller Group is manufacturers' go-to choice for complex backlighting and light guide solutions.

Illuminate your switch with the backlighting experts.

When you need an illuminated switch, whether to create greater visibility for the user or enhance your device’s aesthetics, you won’t find a better partner than NMG. Through years of experience, we've gained technical expertise in backlighting technology and applications, providing backlighting uniformity and precise light blocking and diffusion. It’s no coincidence that we're a preferred backlighting partner for companies like Lutron and Weiser.

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backlit switch manufacturer dishwasher control

Solving unique challenges for our customers

Our backlighting expertise is sought by customers with unique—and often challenging needs—such as:

  • Complex or innovative designs
  • Specific photometry performance requirements
  • Space constraints
  • Cost concerns
  • Energy efficiency
  • Long lifespan needs
backlit keypad

When other vendors say it can’t be done, turn to NMG to creatively overcome challenges and design a backlighting solution that achieves form, fit, function, and cost objectives.

Why NMG for manufacturing a backlit switch

NMG’s backlighting experience traces back to our earliest days making luminescent dials for aerospace applications. When you partner with us, you benefit from nearly 90 years of knowledge, partnerships, and innovation in backlighting. Here are some of the benefits of partnering with NMG for all your backlighting needs:

  • NMG’s end-to-end functional expertise ensures your product is fully supported.
  • We completely manage your lighting design, including the use of industry-leading simulation and light measurement software.
  • We offer fast turnaround for samples, as well as quickly scalable manufacturing processes at competitive costs.

Click here for more information about how we approach each project to ensure favorable outcomes for our customers.

LED and EL backlighting

LED and EL backlight options

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are today’s leading choice for switch backlighting because of their energy efficiency, longevity, and adaptability. Ongoing research and development have continually improved LED technology, resulting in higher performance, better color quality, and cost reductions.

Some of the top benefits of LED backlighting include:

  • Low heat production
  • Long-lasting
  • Supports multiple colors
  • Available in low-profile designs
  • Energy efficient

NMG’s unrivaled expertise in LED backlighting sets us apart as industry leaders, ensuring your projects benefit from the most advanced and knowledgeable solutions available. In addition, we support electroluminescent (EL) backlighting for projects with specific aesthetic or form factor requirements. Contact us to discuss your switch illumination needs.

Achieving optimal light distribution

Light guides

Light Guide Films (LGF) offer uniform, diffused backlighting by carefully directing the light and selectively extracting it through printed, raised, and embossed features. NMG leverages advanced engineering and production techniques to reduce product costs and create superior performing light guides for our customers. We additionally provide specialized LGF expertise through:

  • Advanced dot pattern development
  • Light distribution optimization
  • Light leakage and hot spot control
  • PET masking and decoration
  • Multiple-layer and multi-segment light guides image alt tag: light guide film


light guide film

Our expertise in specialty films (like LGF) and filters is second to none. We offer solutions for thin, low-profile, complex shapes and sizes. We solve common problems customers may have experienced with less skilled providers, including:

  • Eliminating “light leaks” through the LGF edge.
  • Redirecting light back into the system.
  • Minimizing visibility of dots through the membrane.
  • Reducing LED hot spots.
  • Increasing luminance.
  • Working within extremely small/thin package sizes.
  • Accommodating different lighting conditions.

Enhancing outcomes through computer simulation

NMG uses computer simulation to generate the LGF pattern, optimizing the light distribution to obtain the maximum luminance and uniformity. Computer simulation allows an advance review of backlighting uniformity and provides the estimated luminance to be expected on actual product. This allows NMG to improve lead times by reducing the number of design iterations. Software used includes:

  • SOLIDWORKS for 3D design and product development
  • GTOOLS_LGP for light guide dot pattern development
  • SPEOS CAA V5 for studying luminance and brightness
LED backlight simulation

Broad process capabilities for diverse applications

NMG’s light guide portfolio includes films made with TPU, PC, PET, and silicone, as well as injection-molded light pipe. Dot patterns are created through printing and hot pressing, with additional light redirection created by knife scratching/cutting. We additionally offer the option of roll-to-roll film screen manufacturing for low cost in high volumes. To achieve functional and aesthetic goals, NMG can incorporate metal and poly domes, various types of plungers, graphic overlays, advanced assembly methods, and more.

Multiple-layer and multi-segment light guides

Our capabilities also include the use of multiple-layer and multi-segment light guides. This capability brings highly desirable benefits:

  • Meets the multiple information interaction conditions of human-machine.
  • Allows for a very small form factor of the overall device.
  • Enables relatively small light emitting areas (discrete backlighting) using light sealing and shielding technology.
  • Creates different ID light effects.
  • Enables each segment to emit light independently, without optical crosstalk from the other segments.

Uses other modules to make touch optical components, key optical components, etc.

Optical fiber for long-distance applications

In applications requiring precise, long-distance light transmission, fiber optic backlighting may be preferred over LGF. As always, our knowledgeable engineers and designers can help determine the right combination of technologies to meet your needs.

Ready to learn more?

Case studies

See real-world examples of how NMG has helped customers across the full spectrum of the supply chain, from design to delivery.

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Read our blog!

Access industry updates, helpful how-tos, engaging infographics, and other resources for engineers and supply chain professionals on the NMG Blog.

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