How can graphic overlays help your product?
When designing a product that offers a user interface, you must consider the top layer known as the graphic overlay. The Graphic Overlay is usually a single layer of printed durable plastic with branding, display windows, buttons and instructional icons. However, the overlay by itself isn’t a working component of your device, but it is still a crucial element in the design of a Human-Machine Interface (HMI).
Specifically, these printed layers have three primary purposes. The first function is a protective layer that helps prevent internal component damage. Secondly, it is to decorate and give a product style or brand image. Finally, it is an instructive component that illustrates the operation of the device. So, when the power is turned off, the device still clearly displays style and function. It is essential when designing graphic overlays to use the right materials for the device’s operation, while also making it eye-catching and desirable.
Materials such as polyester are ideal for a product’s durability and long life span, while polycarbonates offer a sharp design quality but aren’t so rugged. Polyester is solvent resistant and will last for years of actuations, making it ideal as a graphic overlay in a membrane keypad. There are many other substrates to choose from for different applications and usage, but some of these may wear or even crack under repeated use. RH will guide you to the right materials for your needs.
Sealed and protected
Importantly, in some working environments, a sealed membrane switch overlay is critical to the HMI operation. In the medical industry, bacteria can multiply in recesses or gaps behind an overlay. For example, in military or industrial situations liquid could penetrate a device and affect its operation. Under these conditions, it is vital to protect against moisture, chemical and biological ingress into the interface.
To counter this, RH can offer many options for customising your graphic overlays or industrial fascias. Furthermore, our solutions are unique to your specific product’s requirements. In conclusion, we are here to help you navigate the difficult choices of embossing, colour, display windows, texturing, backlighting and product protection that you need for your product.
Do you want to stand out from the crowd?
Our design team has vast experience across many market sectors. At RH, we bring all of this experience together to help create inspiring print and interface solutions. Consequentially, our continual drive towards innovation has enhanced the customer’s HMIs for decades, and therefore, everything we learn today will benefit our customers tomorrow.
So, before you start designing your interface, consider your graphic overlay. Your graphic overlay must be well presented and aesthetically striking. Does it meet the full product functionality and appearance it needs to succeed? If you require assistance at any stage, our friendly staff are happy to help you fine-tune your design, so it surpasses your customers’ requirements. Please, read on to consider the many Graphic Overlay features we offer, but you may also want to check out our membrane keypads and custom label pages which provide more information.
Some of our standard features and benefits:
- Surface Finishes
- Special Printing Effects & Inks
- Options in Backlighting
- Adhesive Solutions
In House Embossing
If you want to enhance the look and functionality of your graphic overlay dramatically, embossing could be the solution. We have extensive design and operational expertise to provide pillow, rim, and dome embossing. Furthermore, we can emboss letters, logos and other symbols to improve the user interface experience, but we can also create a decorative look and accentuate your all-important brand. We also produce products that help the sight-impaired with a tactile response like braille.
Do you need assistance on a project or creative inspiration to turn that great idea into a working interface?
The finish of your product can significantly affect the way a user perceives its value or practical use. For example, a beautifully textured surface on a vehicle dashboard may give a car the look of style and class, but the same finish in the medical industry may also be considered a hygiene risk.
Want surface finish meets your functional or aesthetic considerations?
- Metals (e.g. brushed aluminium, stainless steel)
Special Printing Effects & Inks
We can also offer creative special printing effects using screen printing, digital print or a combination of the two technologies.
All we need to know is what you are expecting, and we will have a solution that will fit the job.
- Photographic-quality images
- Custom spot colours
- Metallic, Neon & Pearlescent inks
- Varnish and UV
Do you have challenging adhesion requirements for your graphic overlay? Does it need to stick to metal, a moulding or wood?
We can help you specify the right adhesive for your product considering the performance, environment and appearance requirements. We have the expertise to handle all types of surfaces including uneven, textured, smooth, flat, curved and painted.
The leading role of backlighting is to highlight essential functions and illuminate the control panel in low light conditions. It also can be used for aesthetic purposes to enhance brand image and quality. We can offer the full range of backlighting options, including light guide film (LGF), light-emitting diodes (LED’s), Electroluminescence (EL) and Acrylic Light Tiles.