What is a membrane overlay?

Elevate your product with a membrane overlay.

In your search for a membrane switch, you are likely to find that many switches come with a membrane overlay, a common feature in these electrical switches. A membrane overlay acts as a protective layer over the membrane switch that protects the circuitry from outside elements, such as moisture or other contaminants. They are typically ultra-thin and can be custom-designed as a layer to be applied over the surface of a switch. Membrane overlays perform several purposes - from the functional intention of switch protection, to enhancing the user interface, while also serving as an opportunity for branding and aesthetics. Nelson Miller Group is a leading product identification and graphics overlays manufacturer.

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An introduction to membrane overlays 

As membrane switches are soft and flexible mechanical switches, they sometimes have a membrane overlay. These precision-engineered outer layers guard the switch from contaminants with a flexible material such as plastic or similar synthetic material that can withstand the harshest environments, such as extreme temperatures or chemical exposure. Choosing high-quality materials increases the lifespan of the membrane switch, while ensuring they will not fade or degrade over time.

There are different types of graphic overlays available depending on the device. Some require a panel overlay or touch screen overlay. However, membrane overlays are most typically used with membrane switches, applied with an adhesive for easy installation.

Advantages of membrane overlays

There are many benefits of membrane overlays. As mentioned, durability and protection are key functions. When produced with high-quality materials, they are easy to clean and maintain while increasing the life of the membrane. Additionally, they can be easily installed and replaced. Rather than ordering an entirely new membrane switch, you can install the overlay over your existing switch.

In addition to durability and protection, membrane overlays are fully customizable. With a wide range of design possibilities, membrane overlays support a distinctive look and feel with graphic options to showcase your brand. Membrane overlays also support embossing, a finishing technique that creates a textured surface that produces a user-friendly interface and tactile feedback.

Another important advantage of membrane overlays is backlighting. Membrane switches often use backlighting to improve visibility in low-light environments. Typically, light-emitting diode (LED) is used in membrane switches, as it produces little to no heat, is energy-efficient, and can prevent bright spots through the use of light guides. NMG has been a leading membrane switch manufacturer since the 1980's and services many major OEMs because of its backlighting solutions.

Overall, membrane overlays are a great choice to elevate a product through enhanced look and feel, improved user satisfaction, reduced maintenance costs, and increased product lifespan.

Contact us today to join the ranks of industry leaders who've already embraced this innovative solution to enhance their products and delight their customers.

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About NMG 

NMG has more than 85 years of experience partnering with organizations to bring their industrial, IoT, lighting, medical, telecommunications, consumer, and aerospace products to life. We solve your most complex challenges in engineering design, manufacturing, and supply chain management.  

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