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Membrane switch panel gets pumped. (Application Xtra).

* alternative to membrane switch

* thin package

Nelson Nameplate Company, Los Angeles, California, is currently manufacturing a family of panels incorporating Duraswitch's electronic PushGate for a manufacturer of gas pump controls. Used as an alternative to membrane or metal dome switches, Duraswitch technology was chosen because of its durability and reliability in a package that can directly replace existing switches with few modifications. David Beilfuss, regional sales manager for Nelson Nameplate Company, said, "Our customer was looking for an alternative to traditional membrane technology. The competing design was a mechanical switch construction sealed under a graphic overlay. The Duraswitch design had a thinner package with lower assembly and retrofit costs. The technology also provided the customer with a more reliable construction which proved to be the deciding factor."

Duraswitch's PushGate push-button electronic switch incorporates all the best features of both discrete and membrane technology. The patented magnetic armature design provides crisp, tease-proof and reliable tactile feedback as each switch is actuated without the "spongy" feel of typical tactile membrane switches. By design, each switch is shielded against EMI/RFI interference as well as static discharge. Actuation force is uniform over the face of each switch while still providing the travel desired by users to give a feeling that they have "done something" when the switch is actuated. All of this is provided while still maintaining the long life and sealed washable surface of a typical membrane switch.

The basic PushGate is composed of a membrane, a steel plate, a magnetic sheet, an armature, a spacer and a substrate with either plated etched copper or silver contacts on its upper surface. The armature, with a pivot point and an actuating button mechanically formed into it, is held in place against the magnetic sheet by the magnetic field. During actuation, the armature abruptly breaks away from the magnetic sheet material, thus providing a very crisp tactile sensation. The switch is actuated when the armature contacts the second pad on the top surface of the substrate.

"It's exciting knowing that we're developing breadth in this sector," said Bob Brilon, president and CEO of Duraswitch, "and that we have the potential to also gain depth within product lines, just as Nelson Nameplate has done, taking Duraswitch beyond gas-grade selectors and into pump point-of-sale panels."

Circle 255--Duraswitch, Mesa, AZ. www.rsleads.com/302df-255
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Publication:Designfax
Date:Feb 1, 2003
Words:387
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