Embossing vs Debossing – Key Differences To Know When Making Your Selection

Do you want to draw attention to your product’s name?  Or, maybe you want to enhance a certain area of your product?  By adding embossing or debossing to your products you can add a distinguishing touch.  How do you know which one to choose for your product?  To start, you need to know what it means to emboss or deboss.  Embossing and debossing are two techniques used to imprint impressed or depressed images onto a variety of materials, including aluminum, polycarbonate, polyester, vinyl, steel and brass. These imprinted materials can be utilized in many areas, including Point-of-Purchase  displays, electronic control products, nameplates, business cards, and much more.

Let’s take a closer look at the differences between embossing and debossing.  “Emboss” simply stated is a raised design.  More specifically, embossing offers a new raised dimension that can be a pattern, logo, or other option.  Special tools, or dies, are used in the embossing process.  These dies are placed underneath a material to apply high pressure and ultimately raise the surface of the area being embossed.

“Deboss” is defined as a deep impression onto the surface of a material.  By using this process, the surface of the area being debossed will be concave, or lowered.  Any area that is debossed will be easily recognizable to the touch, which is advantageous for products that try to distinguish two surfaces from each other.

While embossing and debossing have key differences, both processes offer functional and stylistic advantages.  With our custom fabrication capabilities, Wilson-Hurd offers both embossing and debossing as design options.  Watch the slide show below to view examples of products that feature embossing and debossing.

If you would like to learn more about our product offerings, please visit us at wilsonhurd.com.  You may also request a quote or sample, as well as download a free brochure detailing more information about Wilson-Hurd’s capabilities.

 

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3 Key Steps for Installation of a Membrane Switch

Finding the proper membrane switch for your device isn’t always easy. It’s crucial you take the necessary time to evaluate your product needs. There are many factors to consider from what materials to use, the conditions the switch will be exposed to, what price you’re willing to pay and more.

Membrane Switches 2 -72ppi - small

When applying your membrane switch to your product, here are three key steps to remember.

 Step #1: Handling/Testing

An important step that many times gets overlooked,  you will want to test your membrane switch before starting installation. While handling your membrane switch remember never to press a switch button unless it’s lying flat on a solid surface. Do not bend the switch and make sure to use anti-static wristbands to protect sensitive components from (ESD) electrostatic discharge. We recommend you test all tactile and non-tactile responses of the membrane switch prior to installing it.

Step #2: Mounting Surface

After testing to make sure your switch functions correctly, check the surface you’re mounting the membrane switch against. This surface should be clean and smooth. It must not have rough texture, residue (from adhesive, paint, etc.), burrs, bumps, steps, or hardware protrusions.

Step #3: Installation

During installation, you will want to keep the membrane switch as flat as possible. If the part is bent, it may cause damage to the domes. Starting at one end, fold back a small strip (approximately 1/2 inch wide) of the release liner from the edge. Align the part and stick down the free end, and then remove the rest of the liner. Smooth the part down with a light, slow stroke, working from the starting edge toward the opposite end to prevent air bubbles. Avoid applying extreme pressure or rolling the part down as you’re working across. After the part is on your mounting surface, use a firm but smooth rubbing motion over the entire surface to complete the bonding of the pressure sensitive adhesive. Never use a roller to apply pressure.

If the membrane switch has a tail, never bend or pull back the tail to the point where it causes creasing, as this may cause the switch to function intermittently or fail completely.

For Wilson-Hurd’s complete guidelines on handling a membrane switch click on the link provided: Guidelines for Handling a Membrane Switch.

If you would like to learn more about Wilson Hurd’s Electronic Control Products division, please visit our website at http://www.wilsonhurd.com. You may also request a quote or sample, as well as download a free brochure detailing more information about Wilson-Hurd’s capabilities.

How To Select the Optimum Touchscreen Technology For Your Organization

The use of touchscreen technology is booming in this day and age, and for good reason. Companies across a broad spectrum of industries have successfully harnessed the power of touch for a wide variety of implementations after having realized the value touchscreens could bring to employees and customers alike. Touchscreens can allow for better customer service, thus producing an influx in sales, as well as provide a surge in productivity by employees controlling an industrial process.

If you are considering implementing touchscreens within your company, you must first determine the differences between the two types, resistive and capacitive. Due to the manner and conditions in which the touchscreen will be utilized, you will want to identify which form of the device will better suit your needs. So how do resistive and capacitive touchscreens differ?

Resistive Touchscreen 

The resistive touchscreen is the prevalent form of touchscreen, and, as the name indicates, it relies on resistance to work. It is constructed using two clear layers, such as glass or acrylic substrate, separated by a thin gap. The inside of these two layers are coated in a conductive material, so when the two layers are pressed together, a voltage is passed between them, which produces an accurate measure of where the touch was made on the screen.

Resistive touch screen pic- Matching

 

Capacitive Touchscreen

Surprisingly, capacitive touchscreens were developed prior to the resistive touchscreen. A capacitive touchscreen consists of two spaced layers as well, also coated with a conductor.  Voltage is applied to the corners of a capacitive touchscreen and distributed by a pattern of electrodes located around the touchscreen’s perimeter, which creates a uniform electric field across the conductive surface.  When a conductive object, such as a finger, makes contact with the screen, a small amount of current is drawn from the surface changing the capacitance and allowing for the touch to be registered in that precise location.

So why is it important to know the difference between resistive and capacitive touchscreens? Well, it is due to the fact that the differences in how they work create variances in how they perform and in what manner they must be used in order to work properly. Depending on the differing situations and environments where the touchscreen will operate, one type may be the better option over the other.

So let’s reflect on the distinction between resistive as well as capacitive touchscreens in order to uncover which of the two types may ultimately be the most advantageous for you and your business.

Reasons one may prefer Resistive to Capacitive:

  • Resistive touchscreen technology is more affordable than that of the capacitive touchscreen alternative
  • Resistive touchscreens have higher resolution (4096 x 4096 DPI or higher), providing more accurate touch control
  • Unlike capacitive touchscreens, resistive touchscreen technology can detect a touch by fingers as well as other non-conductive materials such as a stylus or gloved fingers
  • Resistive touchscreens provide higher resistance to water and dust
  • Resistive touchscreens are not affected by Electromagnetic Interference, whereas capacitive touchscreens are susceptible to EMI
  • Due to the fact that capacitive touchscreens are made with a glass panel, they are more likely to require an anti-glare or an anti-reflective coating than a resistive screen if it is to be used in a brightly lit area
  • Resistive touchscreens are the better suited technology for handwriting recognition than the capacitive option

Reasons one may choose the Capacitive option to the Resistive:

  • No physical pressure is required when using capacitive touchscreen technology
  • Capacitive touchscreens are more responsive to touch than a resistive screen
  • Capactive touchscreens support multi-touch
  • Capacitive touchscreens are easier to clean
  • Capacitive touchscreens provide higher resistance to scratches and impacts and, overall, tend to be more durable than its resistive counterpart
  • About 90% of light is transmitted from the display monitor of a capacitive touchscreen, causing better contrast and clarity than resistive touchscreens, which transmit only 75% of light from the display monitor
  • The display on a capacitive touchscreen looks brighter and sharper than the resistive option since the capacitive monitors use a layer of glass rather than plastic
  • Capacitive touchscreens do not require occasional recalibration which is necessary for some resistive touchscreens

 

All in all, you will find that either type of touchscreen enhances and simplifies the user experience, but knowing the difference in the two versions will allow you to determine which is best suited for your particular application. In doing so, you are sure to come away with the touchscreen that will optimize capability as well as productivity when in use.

As might be expected, even when keeping all of the factors which we just covered in mind, there are still other concerns that may come into play when considering your distinct touchscreen needs. With the numerous ways that touchscreens can play a role in day-to-day tasks, it is always in your best interest to consult with your manufacturer for proposals and solutions to the challenges that you may specifically face with touchscreen utilization. Together, we are likely to come up with an appropriate custom touchscreen design to maximize efficiency, affordability, and effectiveness for you.

If you would like to learn more about Wilson Hurd’s Touchscreen division, please visit our website at www.wilsonhurd.com. You may also request a quote or sample, as well as download a free brochure detailing more information about Wilson-Hurd’s capabilities.

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Designing a Touchscreen: Where to Begin

Touchscreens are gaining popularity with manufacturers as an alternative to other switching technologies, and it is easy to see why. When it comes to user interfaces, touchscreens have successfully changed the way electronic equipment is used by simplifying the user experience and eliminating the need for buttons or keys. If you are considering incorporating a touchscreen into the design of your product, there are key items that you should consider.

First you should understand the difference between a resistive touchscreen and a capacitive touchscreen.

Resistive TouchscreenResistive Touchscreen Illustration

A resistive touchscreen is constructed using two clear conductive layers (typically a glass or acrylic substrate and a polyester top sheet) that are separated by insulating dots. When the user touches the screen and compresses the top flexible layer, electrical contact occurs between the top and bottom layer.

Capacitive TouchscreenCapacitive Touchscreen IllustrationRGB

Voltage is applied to the corners of a capacitive touchscreen and distributed by a pattern of electrodes located around the touchscreen periphery. This creates a uniform electric field across the conductive surface. When the user touches the screen with a conductive object (such as their finger), they are drawing a minute amount of current from the surface. This change in capacitance is measured at each point on the touchscreen allowing the touch position to be located.

Before you actually sit down and design your touchscreen, there are at least four main considerations you need to take into account:

  1. Environmental conditions
  2. Software requirements
  3. Firmware requirements
  4. Appearance

These will help you determine the materials and types of technology to utilize in your touchscreen. For each consideration there are a number of questions you will need to ask yourself:

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Featured Projects: Electronic Theatre Controls

Capacitive 1

Wilson-Hurd has been honored to work with the Middleton, WI-based company Electronic Theatre Controls (ETC) on a number of projects, including ETC’s own CEM3 System. The CEM3 System was designed by ETC to help reduce setup time, simplify system backups, and make the process of networking a lighting system run as smoothly as possible. The CEM3 platform provides a simple and risk-free way to control lighting on stages and touring events.

Wilson-Hurd’s engineering team was able to brainstorm and combine the most effective manufacturing capabilities to give the CEM3 System these key features:

  • Capacitive touch wheel for precise lighting controls
  • Extremely tight color control using digital/screen printed combination of graphics
  • Adjustable backlit keys & LEDs for easy viewing in dark control rooms
  • Precisely embossed keys to provide explicit snap action key response
  • Assembly of the keypad to powdered coated metal backpanel

US_Processor_Macro_Blue

For more information on Electronic Theatre Controls, please visit their website here.

To learn more about Wilson-Hurd’s capabilities, please contact us at 800.950.5013 or e-mail us at sales@wilsonhurd.com.

Are you a current customer of Wilson-Hurd? If you would like your company’s project to be featured on the homepage of our website in our “Featured Projects” section, please e-mail us at marketing@wilsonhurd.com.

The Top 8 Advantages of Capacitive Switches

How many times a day do you think you use a capacitive switch? Probably more than you would think. For instance, when you touch the mouse on your laptop, change the temperature on your oven or use a smartphone, you are using capacitive switching.

Trends show that more manufacturers are incorporating capacitive switching technology into their new products. Two key reasons for selecting capacitive switching are its ability to withstand the harshest conditions, as well as its ease of maintenance when compared to other mechanical mechanisms.

Capacitive 4

 

What are the advantages?

  • Flexibility in design of product
  • The ability to sense through heavy and thick film materials, making the switch vandal proof
  • Reduced board space requirements
  • Cost-effective alternate to traditional switching technologies
  • A variety of non-conductive overlay materials can be used, including plastic, acrylic and glass
  • Easy integration of multiple functions including LED drivers and back-lighting
  • No mechanical components within switch eliminates potential mechanical failure, and will save you money on repairs and maintenance
  • There are multiple types of interfaces that capacitive switches can be used with, including buttons, sliders, touch-pads, touchscreens and proximity sensing

Where are they used?

  • Vending machines
  • ATMs
  • Smart phones
  • Tablets
  • Household appliances
  • Exercise equipment
  • Digital cameras
  • Industrial equipment
  • Computers
  • Automotive industry

If you would like to learn more about capacitive switches and to see how they operate, view our YouTube video below.

 


 

About Wilson-Hurd:  Wilson-Hurd Manufacturing Company specializes in the production of custom electronic control products including membrane switches, capacitive switches, PiezoPanels, elastomeric keypads, and touchscreens, in addition to medical contract manufacturing, point-of-purchase displays, printed electronics, nameplates, panels, dials, and overlays. Wilson-Hurd was founded in 1904, and is headquartered in Wausau, WI, with additional locations in Berlin, WI.

For more information on Wilson-Hurd and our capabilities, visit our website at www.wilsonhurd.com, and contact us at 1.800.950.5013 or at sales@wilsonhurd.com. 

Wilson-Hurd Helps ETC Light Up the Stage

The collaborative effort between Electronic Theatre Controls (ETC) and Wilson-Hurd is the key to the success of ETC’s CEM3 project.

It’s possible you may have never heard of them, but chances are you have seen ETC’s work. Electronic Theatre Controls, based out of Middleton, WI, currently provides quality products to the following markets; entertainment lighting, specified architectural lighting, and industrial weighing and measuring. You could have seen their products lighting up the stage at the National Theatre in London, or maybe at the Guangzhou Opera House in China, or the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, Washington. Or perhaps you saw their work gracing the outside walls of the new Palazzo hotel in Las Vegas, or climbing the side of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. ETC has lighted up stages, artwork installations, and architecture all across the globe, and we at Wilson-Hurd have been honored to work with them on a number of projects, including ETC’s own CEM3 system.

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The CEM3 system was designed by ETC to help reduce setup time, simplify system backups, and make the process of networking a lighting system run as smoothly as possible. The CEM3 platform provides a simple and risk-free way to control lighting on stages and touring events.

Wilson-Hurd’s engineering team was able to brainstorm and combine the most effective manufacturing capabilities to give the CEM3 system these key features:

  • Capacitive touch wheel for precise lighting controls
  • Extremely tight color control using digital/screen printed combination of graphics
  • Adjustable backlit keys and LEDs for easy viewing in dark control rooms
  • Precisely embossed keys provide explicit snap action key response
  • Assembly of the keypad to powdered coated metal backpanel

“By closely working with Electronic Theatre’s design/engineering team, the Wilson-Hurd team developed a cost effective controller produced in Wisconsin.” says Dan O’Connell, Western Sales Director for Wilson-Hurd. “Our high quality digital press combined with our screen printing expertise produced a high end graphic for this capacitive touch controller.” adds O’Connell. According to Tom Steer, Product Manager at ETC, these product features are what really make a difference backstage, stating “The integrated backlighting (invaluable backstage), numeric keypad and touch wheel have vastly improved the user experience for customers working with our dimming systems, while the cast metal user interface gives the product the robustness it needs to cope with life in the field.” A difference made backstage, can make all the difference onstage.

For more videos from ETC, visit their Youtube channel here.

For more information about Wilson-Hurd’s capabilities, please contact us at 800-950-5013 or visit our website at http://www.wilsonhurdelectronics.com.