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What is a silicone keypad and rubber button?

Nowadays, keypads and buttons are very common. Every device and appliance you use both at home and work has some type of rubber buttons. This can either be a switching button or a silicone keypad for the operation of the machine. For this reason, you will find the rubber button in industries, such as retail, healthcare, and manufacturing, among others.

As a professional supplier of rubber keymats, we support customized services. We have more than 20 years of industry experience in designing and manufacturing various silicone rubber keypads. Welcome to contact us for a quote.

A silicone keypad consists of rubber buttons and is widely used both in consumer and industrial electronic products. This rubber part offers switching solutions to all kinds of appliances, such as remote controls, and human-machine interfaces. In essence, a rubber keypad is a protective mask that is placed over the various switches. The elastomer of the button makes it easy to push the switch and then make the button regain its original shape.

A silicone keypad is most often produced by a procedure that is called compression molding. During this process, various levels of pressure and temperature are applied to the silicone rubber to create pliable surfaces. The main goal is to create a rubber keypad with a uniform tactile response that extends to the whole surface.

One common practice that you will find is the production of a silicone keypad in a single piece of webbing, instead of manufacturing each rubber button separately. This technique greatly helps in the reduction of the manufacturing cost and the protection of the device from liquids.


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The Benefits of a Rubber button

Now that you know the basics of how a silicone keypad and a rubber button work, it’s time to find out if it’s the right solution for your application. Silicone rubber keypads have many advantages that have established them as the perfect solution for many applications. The most notable of its benefits are the following:

  • Silicone Rubber offers Excellent Tactile Response: Silicone is a material that provides a natural tactile response. This makes the rubber buttons from this material to be exceptionally user-friendly. The silicone button pad is pushed down with ease and it regains its original shape immediately after its release. Thus, the user is always sure of the button’s response.
  • It is a Cost-Effective Option: Silicone is the best material that offers both high-quality and affordable solutions. The natural properties of the elastomer are excellent and for this, you can benefit from durable products at a low cost.
  • It Shows Great Versatility: There is no limit to the type of application that you can use the rubber button. The elastomer shows great versatility and can be used in varied environmental conditions. Thus, a silicone keypad can be used even in heavy manufacturing.
  • It’s Excellent for Any Type of Design: A rubber keypad also shows great flexibility. Namely, you can create any design you have in mind, with different shapes of buttons. Furthermore, it can be easily colored to mark buttons with different uses. By utilizing this material, you can ask for any custom design so that it meets perfectly your requirements.
  • Offers Extreme Durability: Another benefit that makes silicone the perfect option for a rubber button is its extreme durability. You can place a rubber keypad to any weather condition without any fear that it will be destroyed by the environmental conditions. Moreover, silicone is waterproof, thus protecting the printed circuit board from any liquid, like humidity.
  • It cans Support Back Lighting: Silicone is a material that can create translucent buttons. This is exceptionally helpful when you need to place backlighting. This keypad can support EL lighting, light-emitting diode (LED), and fiber optic lamps. In some cases, manufacturers use laser-etching to boost the effects of backlighting.
  • It is the Safest Option: Silicone is an excellent material that prevents microbial growth. For this reason, this elastomer is widely used in the healthcare and food industries. Moreover, a silicon keypad is favored for kids’ toys.

What are their Main Applications?

All of the above benefits have helped the popularity of the silicone keypad. In recent years, it has found more and more applications. The most prominent of these are the following:

  • On Consumer Products: The most common application of a rubber button in the house is on remote controls, like the TV and air condition remotes. Moreover, you can find the on TV sets, video and Hi-Fi units, video game consoles, and even on children’s toys. In addition to these, you can spot a rubber button on various kitchen appliances.
  • On Industrial Equipment: A silicone keypad is also widely used on industrial equipment. For example, there are various controls, both remote and on the machines, that use rubber buttons. Moreover, human-machine interfaces are very common, especially in those industries that utilize robotics within their procedures.
  • On Mobile Devices: Even though nowadays most people are using smartphones, mobile keypads are still used in some mobile phone models. Additionally, a silicone keypad for electronics is the perfect solution for a portable tablet keyboard.
  • On Automobiles: In recent years, a silicone button pad has found many applications on automobiles. In more detail, they can be found as buttons on steering wheels. Furthermore, they are also widely used on car audio systems and as windows lifts.

The Usage Method of a Silicone keypad

There are many different methods with which a conductive rubber button is constructed. However, the most common one includes the silicone that has been formed with the compression molding procedure, shaped to enclose the switch. Below the silicone rubber, you will find either a conductive carbon pill or some non-conductive rubber actuators. The switch contact of the rubber button is usually a carbon or gold pill.

When a user presses the silicone button, the webbed formation of the silicone keypad is deformed and it comes into contact with the printed circuit board that is placed below it. This point of touch creates a circuit that activates the machine. Depending on the role of each rubber button, the device will react differently. When the user releases the button, the silicone keypad’s webbing will return to its neutral position with positive feedback.  Every separate rubber button is constructed the same way. 

Step 1: Clean the surface you are going to attach the rubber bumper. If you notice that there are excess oil and dirt on the surface, you can use some isopropyl alcohol to rub it off. In any case, make sure that the surface is completely clean and dry before you apply the bumper.

Step 2: Remove the bumper from its sheet, making sure that you don’t touch the adhesive glue.

Step 3: Place the rubber feet pad where you need them and press them to stick to the surface. For example, if you want to apply them at the back of a picture frame, the best place for them is at the two bottom corners of the frame. However, make sure that you avoid putting the bumper under pressure and weight for up to 24 hours. If you let it sit for a while, the adhesive will cure and you will enjoy a long-lasting result.

Moreover, you might need to replace or attach rubber feet to a chair. For this, you will need to measure the diameter of the chair’s leg. Once you know the correct size and shape, you can purchase the appropriate rubber furniture bumper. The application of them to the chair is easy, as you only need to apply some pressure. 

Custom excellent rubber button and silicone keypad guide

A silicone keypad is a versatile tool that you can take advantage of. With its many applications, you can create a custom rubber button that can be applied to your specific operations. However, when you design your rubber button, you need to make sure that you have taken into consideration all the parameters. Below, you will find a list of everything that you need to consider before designing the perfect silicone keypad.

  • Tactile Response: One of the first and most important things you need to determine for your custom rubber keypad is its tactile response. Some applications require a softer response compared to others. You can manipulate the tactile response by using different webbing designs and by changing the shore hardness of the silicone. The rubber button’s travel must be as far as 3 mm, the actuation force cannot exceed the 500 grams for certain keypad shapes.
  • Type of Buttons: Another thing that will greatly influence the design of your custom rubber keypad is the type of buttons you will utilize. In more detail, you can go for a cone, double cone, bell, double bell, or a flat silicone Each one of them has a different range of pressure it can stand. For example, the cone button has a pressure range of 30-250 grams, and a bell button a range of 80-200 grams. The only exception to this is the flat silicone buttons, which doesn’t require the application of pressure.
  • Laser Etching or Silk-Screen Printing: The next thing that you need to examine is whether you need laser etching or silk-screen printing. Laser etching removes the top layer of coating from a painted rubber button to reveal the backlighting. With this technique, only the etched-away areas will be lighted. Silk-screen printing, on the other hand, is a procedure that transfers ink into the rubber surface to create the graphics or text. However, keep in mind that silk-screen printing letters have a little fringing.
  • Printed Circuit Board: When designing a silicone keypad, it is important to carefully survey the printed circuit board on top of which it will be placed. This examination will ensure error-free operation, as you will know what type of conductive carbon pill to use, the optimal travel distance, and the required pressure.

A silicone keypad is a user-friendly tool that you can now find in many areas of your everyday life. The rubber button can be customized into various shapes, sizes, and colors to ensure that it’s the perfect fit for your application. Please contact us for more information.

Why Choose Us

Plentiful Experience

With over 20 years’ experience on rubber and silicone industrial, we manufacturing products for over 5000+ customers in 60+ countries. ETOL aims to solve any difficult and special problems according to your requirements.

High Quality Products

Certificated by ISO9001, FDA, RoHS etc. All the products are compliance with RoSH standard. Over 5,000 customers from 60+ countries have a long-term cooperation with us.

Fast Delivery

Once you place an order, we will send it out as soon as possible. 3 Days fastest you will receive the products.

Great Variety of Products

Over 18,000+ kinds of products available, No need any mold cost, you can found the one you need directly!

Free Samples

Worry about the size and quality? Contact us to get free samples! You only need to pay the shipment, and we will send it to you for testing.

Custom service

From design, prototyping, mold making, mass production and delivery, we offer the one-stop complete process for you.


Need any quotation?
Cannot found your size?
Customized service needed?

ETOL can recommend the most suitable products for you according to your requirements. We ensure the consistent quality, best price, and on-time delivery. Contact us for more information!