More than $400 billion is spent in the global market for medical devices. This shows the competition and pressure on different MedTech brands to deliver products that stand out. It’s a challenge to continuously meet shareholders’ expectations hence the need to keep up with technology. Membrane switches have provided med-tech manufacturers with a solution that guaranteed durability and product lifespan.

Medical equipment is subjected to more wear and tear as they adjusted frequently and need near-contact user interaction in most cases. As a result, you need quality designs that won’t fail in the near future or worse, cause user problems. The user interface is the most used part of any medical equipment. Membrane switches are produced in fully sealed designs hence making them more reliable and durable. Most of them are made of self-healing technologies giving them the ability to get back to their original shape after damage.

Here are some of the reasons why membrane switches are increasingly becoming a relevant component in the medical field.

FDA Requirements

The medical industry is not only demanding and competitive but also highly regulated. In the past two decades, membrane switches have been in use in this industry and there has been an advancement in the design, material, and manufacturing processes. In 2013, there was a recall case with regards to the non-responsiveness of anesthesia equipment buttons. Since then, the FDA has implemented a Focus on Quality initiative that ensures membrane switch manufactures are compliant with ensuring these switches are the number 1 interface method utilized.

Tactile design and feel

The force and actuation that accompanies a key press is the tactile feel. It lets users know that the equipment has registered the command making membrane switches reliable as they provide immediate feedback. Membrane switches are also shielded from electromagnetic interference (EMI), electrostatic discharge (ESD), and radio frequency interference (RFI). Shielding makes it more suitable for use in hospitals where several machines run at a go.

Reliability

Safety and efficiency to both patients and providers are critical functions in any medical device. Membrane switches add ‘quality of life’ features that increase the reliability of the machines. Their seal ensures they can be wiped clean maintaining the sanitary requirement of no bacteria and dirt in the cracks or crevices.

These benefits combined with enhanced economy space and shorter lead time makes membrane switches ideal for medical equipment. It provides advantages like graphics, illumination, sealability, shielding, compliance, and tactile feedback.