Light Guide Film HMI Technology

As technology evolves, customers across all industries are seeking thinner and more advanced lighting solutions in their designs to produce sleek user interface products. Engineering and marketing teams have shifted towards Human Machine Interface (HMI) designs with backlighting requirements that common existing technologies can fulfill at a low cost. This includes large backlit areas, uniform lighting, multiple colors, close proximity to other backlit areas, and low profile.

Light guide film lighting solutions designed can be custom manufactured into your user interface panel. Some custom designs we have built in the past allow backlit artwork for tactile keys and status indicators that have the ability to display multiple lighting configurations/colors depending on the reading from the battery level or sensors.

Advanced Backlighting HMI Solutions

HMI designs can be manufactured utilizing light guide film technology as a solution for applications that require more advanced functionality. Light guide film is a thin layer that can be placed over metal domes and spacers to provide uniform backlighting nearly anywhere on the graphic overlay of your product.

Industrial Touch Screen Control Panel Utilizing Backlighting Technology
Industrial Touch Screen Control Panel Utilizing Backlighting Technology

It allows your product to remain thin since the layer is typically only 0.010", but can be as thin as 0.005". This technology utilizes fewer LEDs than you would typically use if you were to backlight a product with only discrete LEDs.

Requiring fewer LEDs means less power consumed and more space for other components on your circuit layer. Coupled with low tooling costs, this technology is the perfect solution for your backlighting needs.

How Does Light Guide Film Technology Work?

The light guide film is a 0.005-0.020“layer that incorporates microdots pressed into the imaged areas that are to be backlit. Cutouts are made in the film to place side view LEDs at the appropriate location. The light rays from the side view LED travel through the film and are refracted upwards towards the surface of the overlay once it hits the microdots, producing a uniform backlighting effect.

All designs are carefully reviewed by our engineering team. We consider the assembly in which the user interface product will be integrated into so we can address concerns such as possible light leaking if there are cutouts or displays involved. There is also the ability to utilize opaque materials to block light in undesired areas.

Light Guide Film Diagram for User Interface

What Applications Will Light Guide Film Work Best For?

Light guide film is most commonly utilized in designs that require tactile keys with backlit artwork. We’re capable of lighting all of the keys at once or individually upon actuation. Large areas can be uniformly backlit with multiple colors so it makes this technology great for status indicators as well (battery, sensors, etc.).

All you have to do is let us know what the lighting requirements and configurations are and our engineering team will do the rest. When implemented in conjunction with our durable design features, the result is an aesthetically pleasing user interface product that can withstand harsh environments. A full seal is available on our user interface products and can meet or exceed an IP 67 rating.

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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.

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