Rubber Keypad Manufacturing Process

Below are some images from the silicone rubber keypad manufacturing process. Including, making the tool, adding colors, and screen printing. All our rubber keypads go through intensive testing and quality control during each step of the manufacturing process.

  • Making the Tool

    Making the Tool
    In-house tool making with state-of-the-art EDM and CNC milling machines.

  • Conductive Pills

    Conductive Pills
    Carbon impregnated silicone pills are the most frequently used contact with silicone rubber keypads. The silicone in the conductive pill allows enables it to securely co-mold with the keypad.

  • Placing the Silicone Rubber on the Tool

    Placing the Silicone Rubber on the Tool
    Gum stock silicone rubber is placed directly on tool. Heat and pressure will form the silicone into the configuration of the mold tool.

  • Stage 2 – Keypad After Molding Cycle

    Stage 2 – Keypad After Molding Cycle
    Pressure and heat are maintained until the material has cured. The mold is opened and the keypad sheets are removed for further processing.

  • Adding Several Colors

    Adding Several Colors
    Pigmented silicone rubber is hand placed onto the base mat in preparation for molding. The silicone will blend together to form the keypad base while the keys will retain their specific colors. Only the key tops will be seen through the bezel.

  • Removing the Keypad from the Tool

    Removing the Keypad from the Tool
    Air hoses are used to assist in removing the keypads from the mold tool. The carbon pills were placed in the bottom of the tool prior to adding silicone and molding. As you can see, they are now molded to the keypad.

  • Silkscreen

    Molded silicone keypads are placed in a vacuum fixture for screen printing. Silicone in the inks bond to the keypad during the curing process and flexes during keypad actuation.

  • Screen Printing

    Screen Printing
    A stencil is placed over the keypad. The stencil exposes only the key tops that are to receive ink on this screen printing pass. Each screen print color will have a stencil.

  • Testing

    The silicone rubber keypads are tested to insure they meet our customers' mechanical and dimensional tolerances. The technician is testing the operating force of a key.

  • Quality Control

    Quality Control
    After the molding process and post curing the silicone rubber keypads are removed from the sheet and inspected for quality issues.

America's Oldest, A History of Innovation.  Learn More →
Our History

As the oldest production Printed Circuit Board Company in North America, perhaps in the world, the 60-year plus story of Epec is connected to the development of the PCB and the electronics industry.

See our history timeline →

  • Epec Founded in 1952
  • IPC Founded in 1957
  • Epec Builds PCB for Apollo 11