ASM: Ed Jones
Rep: Jeff Contestabile
EPL Solutions makes products for the construction industry, specifically plumbing. They developed a product to scope drains, sewer lines, etc., with a camera and full color screen - the keypad controller is subject to water exposure - wash down, rain, and puddles.
EPL needed a supplier who can seal the switch from environment; water ingress, mud, rain, snow, and sewer debris. The current product had issues from failing key switches due to silver breakdown, tarnish, and migration from being exposed to moisture. EPL was ready to give up on membrane switches and redesign their equipment.
Our strict guidelines for venting, trace to cut edge (the space between the silver trace and the cut edge of the perimeter of the part), and adhesive requirements were the perfect fit. Pulling from experience with similar switches and environmental requirements, we recommended the best materials for endurance and quality for the life of the product, backed by intentional design and manufacturing to ensure longevity in any water-soaked situation.
1. We vented the part internally among all switches on the panel. The competitor had switches vented to an external cutout allowing contamination from the outside environment.
2. The UV dielectric insulators used by the competition is vulnerable to breakdown under high heat and humidity. This would lead to shorts in the circuit over time. Our Xymox through-hole (a hole that allows traces to conduct on both sides of the circuit) printing does not have these issues as we print on both sides of the polyester circuit.
3. Xymox designed a gasket layer surrounding the switch. This removes the ability for moisture to enter at the tail breakout locations (of which there are two on the part). For the competitor's part, the tail areas each have a filler piece but the part is not sealed in those areas. Again, contamination from the environment can enter the circuit because the part is not protected properly.
4. Using the gasket construction provides another benefit of keeping all circuit traces away from the parts edge which provides additional protection.
5. For the application adhesive Xymox used 3M 300 LSE adhesive specifically recommended for the EPL powder coated housing. This low surface energy adhesive provides a superior bond to this material. The competitor used 3M467 which would not be recommended because 467 is not designed to bind to powder coated surfaces.
Membrane switches won over the costly redesign! Xymox instilled confidence in EPL and their product’s capability to withstand water exposure.
✓ Prevent field failures
✓ Fixed material and design flaws of current supplier
✓ Met EPL design standards and performance requirements
How to use this information:
Xymox has perfected various methods of sealing switches to ensure they last for the life of the product without any water or other elemental damage. We have several different levels of protection available for the right application demands. Look for companies in your territory who need a fully sealed outdoor switch. Rain or sun, that is where Xymox shines!