Flexcon

Proven Adhesive Technology and Technical Know-How

flexcon4SWITCHmark products are specifically engineered for demanding membrane switch applications and are the most advanced of their kind. Color-codedrelease liners on popular constructions ensure accurate product identification and mistake proofing during switch assembly. And, the complete line is UL recognized under UL746C: Polymeric Adhesive System, Electrical Equipment, so you know you’re getting a quality product.

We offer a wide range of standard and custom product constructions, allowing you the design flexibility to meet all your application requirements with one adhesive system! It’s one stop shopping at its best!
For over 45 years, FLEXcon has been creating value-added solutions with pressure-sensitive films and adhesives. We offer over ten thousand standard and custom products – more than anyone else in the industry. Design engineers have turned to FLEXcon because we have the materials knowledge, technical capability and applications expertise needed to develop innovative solutions that meet the full range of production and end-use challenges. Our products are used in a wide array of applications, and we work closely with customers to create solutions that deliver advantages in performance, cost-effectiveness and availability. Whether providing an off-the-shelf construction or developing a new adhesive, carrier, or liner component, the focus is your requirements. Our technical expertise, broad applications expertise and wide range of products enable FLEXcon to develop bonding solutions for all your adhesion needs.

Improving Membrane Switch Performance Through Pressure-Sensitive Adhesive Technology

From the control pad on a microwave to the remote control for a hospital bed, membrane switches can be found everywhere in our day-to-day lives. These switches must meet an extensive list of criteria before being put in the field. In addition to enduring thousands of actuations during their life span, they must often withstand moisture, boiling fluids and harsh chemicals.
Pressure-sensitive adhesives (PSAs) enable membrane switches to survive these grueling conditions. PSAs literally hold together the sandwich of components that make up a membrane switch, including conductive, dielectric, and adhesive polymers.
PSAs ensure that the membrane switch provides superior mechanical properties (essential for long-term performance) and not delaminate in the field. In addition, the wide variety of pressure-sensitive adhesives means that membrane switch designers have a wide array of options, allowing them to envision new and exciting ways of improving these switches.
The built-in elasticity of PSAs promotes superior bond retention throughout thousands of switch actuations, providing long-term performance without delaminating. Pressure-sensitive adhesives offer superior chemical, humidity and heat resistance while also providing excellent resistance to shear stress.
In a field where individual applications often differ extensively, PSAs are ideal for creating prototype membrane switches. With a long list of capabilities that continues to grow, pressure-sensitive adhesives offer membrane switch manufacturers the most valuable feature of all: options.





The Role of PSAs in Switch Construction
When completely assembled and connected to an instrument or appliance, a membrane switch’s sealed construction prevents the entrapment of foreign particles, including dust and bacteria. In addition, a membrane switch resists powerful cleaners, disinfectants and solvents. Membrane switches also offer space savings (thin and compact), easy cleaning, and the ability to incorporate appealing graphics.
Each layer of the membrane switch construction relies on adhesives. The spacer component, which insulates (keeps apart) and holds together the upper and lower circuit layers, is often a double-faced PSA coated polyester. Although the most common spacer thicknesses are 3, 5 and 7 mil constructions, with 1.5 mils of adhesive coating thickness on both sides, custom product constructions can meet specific requirements.
The sub-surface printed graphic overlay is also adhered to the top circuit by an appropriate double-faced adhesive or laminating adhesive system. The system allows the switch manufacturer to adhere the back of the graphic overlay to the top of the upper circuit carrier, providing a decorative metallic background to the unprinted clear areas of the graphic overlay.
Finally, the completed membrane switch must be adhered to a rigid backer board on the equipment the switch will activate. Double-faced and laminating adhesive mounting systems can be used for this purpose. A variety of double-faced polyesters ranging from .5 mil to 14 mil can be used. The polyester is coated on both sides with either a standard, high-performance or custom adhesive on both sides.
The PSA Advantage
PSAs offer several key characteristics that have made them popular with membrane switch designers. Specifically, there are four primary areas where pressure-sensitive adhesives prove their mettle: compatibility, durability, repositionability and flexibility.
Compatibility
The adhesive must be compatible with a variety of switching mechanics, such as polyester domes, metallic domes and flat switches. It must bond well to a variety of surfaces (including printed circuit boards), surface metals, print-treated and untreated polyester, polycarbonate and other plastics. The very configuration of a membrane switch means that there is limited switch real estate that can be dedicated to the adhesive, thus it is critical that the PSA bond securely within a limited amount of geography. In addition, the adhesive must be compatible with a wide range of dielectric, decorative and conductive inks. Adhesive compatibility is particularly crucial in terms of the graphic overlay. Membrane switch failure may occur when UV inks are used in conjunction with acrylic adhesive systems to produce the graphic overlay layer of a switch. Over time, a reaction can take place between the UV inks and the adhesive, causing the membrane switch to delaminate, and ultimately, fail. However, the adhesive can be specifically engineered to prevent such a reaction without reducing the adhesive’s elasticity.
Durability
The stress imparted to an acrylic adhesive during tactile dome actuation demands a high-shear adhesive with exceptional cohesive strength. High-performance PSAs offer a level of elasticity that promotes superior bond retention as the switch cycles through thousands of actuations.
In addition, the adhesive bond must resist heat, moisture and exposure to chemicals, especially when being used as a component in medical equipment. PSAs meet this challenge, thanks to a long list of carefully engineered products designed to withstand the most severe environments.
Repositionability
Switch manufacturers want a product that can be repositioned within the first few minutes of application. This ensures that errors can be corrected that would otherwise result in the scrapping of an expensive switch with virtually all of its added value in place. In this area, it is critical that the tack of the adhesive remains consistent from lot to lot, and that the repositionability gives way to permanent adhesion after a set amount of time.
Flexibility
While certain membrane switch requirements are nearly universal, virtually every switch is a unique construction. Therefore, the ultimate success of a switch often hinges on the ability to mix and match different PSA characteristics to meet those specific needs.
Fortunately, PSAs are up to the challenge. Experienced PSA suppliers offer not only a range of standard, off-the-shelf options, but a willingness to create custom PSAs on an as-needed basis. This may mean crafting a PSA that resists both dry heat and exposure to harsh cleaners, or a PSA that will endure aggressive usage and submersion.
Switch manufacturers should take all of these issues into consideration at the early stages of design. Suppliers have designed tests to evaluate the cohesive properties, bond strength, temperature performance and chemical resistance of PSAs. This helps ensure that the adhesive meets specifications long before the switch is assembled.

SWITCHmark Acrylic Adhesive Will Not Delaminate in the Field

flexcon3 Are the acrylic adhesives you use in your membrane switches holding up after thousands of actuations?





Are your customers complaining about your switches delaminating and failing in the field? We have the solution!
The stress imparted to an acrylic adhesive during tactile dome actuation demands a high shear adhesive with exceptional cohesive strength.
The acrylic adhesive system used in our SWITCHmark® line of spacer components and laminating adhesives has a built in elasticity, which promotes superior bond retention as the switch cycles through thousands of actuations, ensuring long-term switch performance without delamination (meets ASTM F 1578-00 standards).





SWITCHmark Spacer Components Offer Responsability Within the First Few Minutes of Application









Have you had to scrap an expensive switch because the pressure-sensitive spacer layer was misaligned during assembly?





Flexcon1If you have faced repositioning issues with your membrane switch spacer layers, we’re here to help!
Misaligning the layers of a membrane switch can lead to an increase in cost, waste and time. FLEXcon’s acrylic adhesive system used in its SWITCHmark® line of spacer components and laminating adhesives is repositionable within the first few minutes of application. This feature makes it easy for you to correct costly and time-consuming mistakes during the assembly process.









SWITCHmark Acrylic Adhesive System Does Not React with UV Inks

Do you use UV inks with acrylic adhesives to produce graphic overlays for your membrane switches? Are your customers complaining about your switches delaminating and failing in the field?

If so, come talk to us! Over time, a reaction can take place between the UV inks and the acrylic adhesive system, causing the membrane switch to delaminate during use and ultimately to fail.
FLEXcon’s adhesive system used in our SWITCHmark® line of spacer components and laminating adhesives does not react with UV inks, so your switches will not fail

1FLEXcon and Duraswitch Form Strategic Technology and Marketing Alliance

PHOENIX, Ariz. and SPENCER, Mass. (Jun. 18, 2003) – Duraswitch (NASDAQ: DSWT), a licensor of electronic switch technologies, and FLEXcon, a manufacturer of pressure-sensitive films and adhesives, announced today that they have formed a strategic technology and marketing alliance. The agreement pairs Duraswitch’s flat-panel switch technologies with FLEXcon’s SWITCHmark® line developed for the membrane switch industry.

“Adhesives are a significant percentage of the material cost of flat-panel switch designs. FLEXcon’s high-performance adhesives are a perfect compliment to our durable switch technologies,” said Tim Kuhn, vice president business development for Duraswitch. “Alliances with component suppliers like FLEXcon bring a source for cost effective materials to our current licensees, and expand awareness of our technologies to a broader range of potential licensees and customers.”
FLEXcon’s SWITCHmark line of high-performance spacer components and laminating adhesives are specifically engineered for demanding flat panel 2switch applications. The adhesive system has a built-in elasticity that promotes superior bond retention, ensuring long-term performance as the switch cycles through thousands of actuations.
“FLEXcon is establishing a program including training, technical support and pricing for the Duraswitch licensees worldwide,” stated Chris Drury, market development leader for FLEXcon. “This program takes advantage of FLEXcon’s application expertise, materials knowledge and process capabilities. It demonstrates our continued commitment to meeting adhesive challenges for unique applications.”
Duraswitch technologies include the PushGate® pushbutton, thiNcoder® rotary and MagnaMouseTM multidirectional control. These technologies provide design solutions to challenges faced with traditional switches, such as the ability to integrate multiple switch types in flat-panel and slim-profile designs, high durability and reliability, sealability against harsh environments, multiple customization options and ergonomic, user-friendly interface.
Drury continued, “Duraswitch’s licensees already use adhesives in their switch construction. We are able to offer an exceptional product, and allow them 5to benefit from our experience in the membrane switch industry. We believe this alliance is an ideal way to offer our polymeric solutions to Duraswitch licensees.”
About FLEXcon
FLEXcon is an ISO 9001-certified manufacturer of pressure-sensitive films and adhesives offering the largest selection of standard off-the-shelf products and specialty, made-to-order products in the world. Started over 45 years ago, FLEXcon has grown from a single location to a global company. More information is available at www.flexcon.com or by calling 508.885.8200.
About Duraswitch
Duraswitch is an innovator in the design and development of electronic switch technologies. Licensing its intellectual property to established switch manufacturers and OEMs, Duraswitch brings together its expertise in switch design with their marketing and manufacturing capabilities to commercialize the technology for a wide range of commercial and industrial controls. Visit www.duraswitch.com or call 480.586.3300 for more information.
This news release contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of federal securities laws. Risks and uncertainties that could cause results of operations to differ materially from the forward-looking statements are disclosed in our documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2002.

FLEXcon SWITCHmark Product Listing

FLEXcon has the unique capability to add value to spacers by customizing film and adhesive components to meet the requirements of challenging applications such as low surface energy substrates, powder-coated surfaces, and rough-textured surfaces. Please contact the Performance Products Business Team to discuss your custom applications.

Following is our standard offering of SWITCHmark Products.

SWITCHmark Polyester with Adhesive Two Sides

SWITCHmark 2-1-2 R (Available in Quick-Ship)

1 mil (25 micron) untreated polyester with 2 mils (50 micron) of adhesive both sides.
Supplied with 90 lb. polycoated liner one side, 80 lb. mando liner backprinted red diagonal stripes one side.
SWITCHmark 2-2-2 Y (Available in Quick-Ship)
2 mil (50 micron) untreated polyester with 2 mils (50 micron) of adhesive both sides.
Supplied with 90 lb. polycoated liner one side, 80 lb. mando liner backprinted yellow diagonal stripes one side.
SWITCHmark 2-3-2 G (Available in Quick-Ship)
3 mil (75 micron) untreated polyester with 2 mils (50 micron) of adhesive both sides.
Supplied with 90 lb. polycoated liner one side, 80 lb. mando liner backprinted green diagonal stripes one side.
SWITChmark 2-5-2 B (Available in Quick-Ship)
5 mil (125 micron) untreated polyester with 2 mils (50 micron) of adhesive both sides.

Supplied with 90 lb. polycoated liner one side, 80 lb. mando liner backprinted blue diagonal stripes one side.
SWITCHmark 2-7-2 (Available in Quick-Ship)
7 mil (175 micron) untreated polyester with 2 mils (50 micron) of adhesive both sides.

Supplied with 90 lb. polycoated liner one side, 80 lb. mando liner backprinted black diagonal stripes one side.
SWITCHmark 2-10-2 (Available in Quick-Ship)
10 mil (250 micron) untreated polyester with 2 mils (50 micron) of adhesive both sides.
Supplied with 90 lb. polycoated liner one side, 80 lb. mando liner backprinted black diagonal stripes one side.
Ideal for burying LEDS within a switch.
SWITCHmark 2-5-4 (Made-to-order)
5 mil (125 micron) untreated polyester with 2 mils (50 micron) of adhesive one side, 4 mils (100 micron) of adhesive on the other side.
Supplied with 90 lb. polycoated liner one side, 80 lb. mando liner backprinted black diagonal stripes one side.
Ideal for mounting switch to printed circuit board via the 4 mil (100 micron) adhesive side.
SWITCHmark Polyester with Adhesive One Side

SWITCHmark 0-1-2 (Made-to-order)
1 mil (25 micron) untreated clear polyester film with adhesive on one side.
This construction comes on a 90 lb. polycoated release liner.
SWITCHmark 0-2-2 (Made-to-order)
2 mil (50 micron) untreated clear polyester film with adhesive on one side.
This construction comes on a 90 lb. polycoated release liner.
SWITCHmark 0-3-2 (Made-to-order)
3 mil (75 micron) untreated clear polyester film with adhesive on one side.
This construction comes on a 90 lb. polycoated release liner.
SWITCHmark 0-5-2 (Available in Quick-Ship)
5 mil (125 micron) untreated clear polyester film with adhesive on one side.
This construction comes on a 90 lb. polycoated release liner.
SWITCHmark Laminating Adhesive (Roll Form)

SWITCHmark 2-0-0 (Available in Quick-Ship)
2 mils (50 micron) of laminating adhesive on a single polycoated differential release liner.
SWITCHmark 4-0-0 (Available in Quick-Ship)
4 mils (100 micron) of laminating adhesive on a single polycoated differential release liner.
SWITCHmark Laminating Adhesive (Sheet Form)

SWITCHmark 2-0-0 S(Available in Quick-Ship)
2 mil (50 micron) laminating adhesive in sheets with an 80 lb. bleached printed release liner on one side and a 90 lb. polycoated release liner on the other side.
SWITCHmark 4-0-0 S (Available in Quick-Ship)
4 mil (100 micron) laminating adhesive in sheets with an 80 lb. bleached printed release liner on one side and a 90 lb. polycoated release liner on the other side.

FLEXcmon Contact Information


FLEXcon
1 FLEXcon Industrial Park
Spencer, MA 01562-2642
Performance Products Business Team
Phone: 508.885.8440
Fax: 508.885.8355
www.FLEXcon.com
OR CALL:
Christopher Drury
508.885.8253
cdrury@FLEXcon.com

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