Interesting Facts About Screen Printing vs Digital Printing for Membrane Switches
If you have no idea what membrane switches are, this is a type of equipment interface intended for users allowing them to communicate commands to different electronic devices. One interesting fact about these membrane switches is that their component parts are not constructed or assembled but printed. The same is true for a wide range of other printed electronic devices, sensors, and input devices.
A membrane switch is essentially a thin on and off switch that you can press to activate or deactivate any given electric circuit. Inside a membrane switch, it offers different components that require printing such as their casing, underlying circuits, and the display of graphics on top. Companies that manufacture membrane switches utilize a range of methods in printing the components you find in these devices. Digital printing and screen printing are two of the major printing options that these companies use on membrane switches. Screen printing and digital printing both require the application of special inks straight to a substrate. If you look at screen printing vs digital printing for membrane switches, though, the mechanisms by which these methods work differ. What makes both printing methods differ will be how their images are mapped.
With the screen printing method used in creating custom membrane switches, the printer utilizes a fine wire mesh. Usually, this wire mesh comes in a layer of silk or polyester material. You often find this mesh to be fashioned into a stencil with openings that allow the ink to be pressed onto a substrate. The use of multiple screens is a must if the final design of your custom membrane switches has different colors.
With digital printing, on the other hand, the image must translate into a digital file that is used for mapping. These maps are where small drops of ink create the final image after you apply them into the substrate.
The printing method that you use will affect the durability, usability, and cost of custom membrane switches. One such example is the graphic overlay which is an essential part of user experience and user interface. It provides guidance on the part of the user in effectively engaging with the device. You can’t expect the device to be that useful and helpful if the print job of the membrane switch is poor. Additionally, if the print job easily deteriorates, the functional capacity of the device will go down. Thus, the kind of print method that you use will have a strong impact on the quality of the final device or product that you create.
The same can be said for the circuit layer, which is an essential component of membrane switches for their functionality. For direct printing onto the underlying circuits, screen printing is most commonly used. You can expect this because the method uses high-viscosity inks that are very specialized for the purpose printing onto items that are conductive and metallic. Nonetheless, digital printing also offers advantages in custom membrane switches.