Polyester film simulates stainless steel for switch panels

MacDermid Autotype's Autotex Steel polyester film has enabled MAPP Systems to create tough, long-lasting yet cost-effective switch panels with the appearance of brushed stainless steel.

Since its foundation in 1989 MAPP Systems has provided other small and medium-sized companies with a number of services in die-cut labelling and membrane switch manufacturing. The company takes pride in offering customers cutting-edge products and bespoke services.

Having manufactured membrane switches for well over two decades MAPP Systems is familiar with the Autotex range of printable polyester films from MacDermid Autotype. The Autotex range is claimed to be the international yardstick for durable and screen-printable textured polyester films for membrane switch applications that, even when embossed, can give a switch life performance of over five million actuations. In addition to its outstanding flex life, attractive appearance, and resistance to scratching and chemicals, Autotex is compatible with Windotex, a screen-printable windowing lacquer that produces clear, scratch-resistant windows allowing the incorporation of LCD and LED displays without damaging the physical integrity of the front switch panel.

The secret of Autotex's success lies in the specialist coating technology applied by MacDermid Autotype. This process enhances the film's inherent features as well as allowing selective texturing to expand the range of possible applications. Recently MacDermid Autotype was able to add a new line to its Autotex family, with a film that closely simulates the texture of brushed steel. Called Autotex Steel, the latest film is easy to handle and uses a special primer layer, making it compatible with most screen inks and, in particular, the new range of mirror inks used to replicate the cosmetic features of steel.

New opportunities

Stephen Morse, MAPP Systems' Managing Director, was quick to identify the potential of this new product, introducing two of his clients to Autotex Steel: one for the production of a control panel on an amplifier system, and the other for a line of portable printers. The results were astonishing, as Stephen Morse explains: "When we presented the prototype to our clients they thought that we had used wafer-thin steel and simply could not believe that it was, in fact, a polyester film. The beauty of Autotex Steel is that it offers a number of advantages over conventional stainless steel materials. High-quality keyboard or graphics panels can be produced at a much lower cost and can be easily embossed, making them ideal for use in applications where keys or panel areas need to have raised edges or domed switches thanks to the material's excellent flex life. By comparison, applying buttons to a steel surface would require separate components, decreasing the number of potential applications as well as making the finished product more expensive. With Autotex Steel the operation is simple and the buttons are incorporated as one single part, making it easy to create a fully sealed fascia or keyboard panel."

Unlike stainless steel, Autotex Steel does not show fingerprints, does not dent easily and can effortlessly be printed with clear display windows or even secret-until-lit graphics. The film offers excellent colour rendition and light transmission in clear areas, with graphics being printed on the second surface, so are protected from wear and abrasion by the body of the substrate itself, which is textured and chemically resistant.

Paradoxically, Autotex Steel has greater scratch resistance and a more cosmetically long-lasting appearance than brushed stainless steel, without requiring specialist cleaning materials to return each part to pristine condition. With a lower weight, manufacturing and shipping costs of parts made using Autotex Steel can also be greatly reduced - the latter being a real bonus at times of ever-increasing transportation costs.

With a keen eye for detail and for providing its customers with the best possible solutions to problems, MAPP Systems was able to identify a winning product that once again exceeded expectations.

MacDermid Autotype

Grove Road
OX12 7BZ

+44 (0)1235 771111



More applications
15 hours ago
Beckhoff UK and HepcoMotion’s mechatronics showcase takes centre stage
Automation technology specialist Beckhoff UK, in collaboration with leading manufacturer of linear motion systems, HepcoMotion, hosted a mechatronics showcase at MK7, the home of Oracle Red Bull Racing in Milton Keynes, with several innovations from both companies on display, as well as a brand-new product reveal – the GFX-r guidance system.
15 hours ago
PPMA re-brand puts automation at the heart of UK manufacturing
The PPMA Group of Associations has re-branded and has changed its name to AutomateUK to better represent the needs of its membership and their end user customers in the ever-changing manufacturing landscape.
3 days ago
steute Technologies restructures its business fields
steute Technologies, an international technology company offering switches, intelligent sensors and wireless systems, has announced a comprehensive restructuring of its business fields.
3 days ago
Showcasing design, production and process engineering in the food and drink sect
Taking place on 1 May 2024 at the National Motorcycle Museum, Food Manufacturing Live serves the design, production, process and maintenance engineering teams across the UK food and drink manufacturing sector.
4 days ago
Understanding safety and security for the protection of human and machine
How do you master employee protection, liability protection, productivity and data protection? How do you increase your quality and simultaneously prevent manipulation on your machines? How do you protect your data and employees in equal measure? Pilz is hosting a free webinar on 15 December, 9:30-10:30 am, to address just these questions.
4 days ago
Schaffner opens new regional channels for its range of EMC solutions
EMC solutions provider, Schaffner, announces new partnerships with three distributors to further broaden the reach and scope of its product range and support services across Europe. The new agreements with Telerex, CATS and DSL Components will open new supplier corridors and enable customers to have local and faster access to products.
4 days ago
New SCARA robot transforms pick-and-place and assembly operations
ABB Robotics is expanding its industrial SCARA robot portfolio with the addition of the IRB 930. The new robot, compromising three variants capable of handling 12 kg and 22 kg payloads, has been designed to meet the demands of new growth opportunities in traditional and new markets.
4 days ago
Pilz CMSE training in high demand, as 10,000th graduate qualifies
With the CMSE qualification (Certified Machinery Safety Expert), Pilz created a completely new training programme for machinery safety in 2013. After a decade Pilz is now proud to congratulate the 10,000th graduate to successfully complete the CMSE examination.
5 days ago
New eBook offers expert insights on embedded security
Mouser Electronics announces a new eBook produced in collaboration with global semiconductor leader Analog Devices (ADI). In Embedded Security: Keeping Edge Data Safe, experts from ADI and other companies take a deep look at embedded security concepts and their importance.
5 days ago
New era beckons at UK’s largest online valve supplier
Gary Hopkinson, founder of Valves Online, a sales partner for Bürkert, has announced his retirement, planned for the end of this year. In March, the UK’s largest online valves supplier underwent a business acquisition by R&G Fluid Power Group. Gary has been assisting the transition while Valves Online is set to retain its successful business model.

Login / Sign up