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6 Reasons to “Switch” to Resistive and Capacitive Touchscreens

13 Oct, 2020 | Quest Components
touchscreen

Here are the top reasons why companies are moving away from membrane switches and implementing resistive and capacitive touchscreens.

Touchscreen technology has come a long way over the last few years and is rapidly replacing older membrane switches on a wide variety of devices. The global market for touchscreen displays has gained significant momentum over the last decade. In 2015, the global market for touchscreen displays was $44.4 billion; by the end of 2024, that number will reach $93.8 billion.

Whether they’re installed on a printed circuit board, a piece of medical equipment, or another electrical device, touchscreen switches rely on user controls to create either an open or closed electrical circuit.


Capacitive touchscreens operate with an electrode that’s located behind a panel. Resistive touchscreens, on the other hand, require pressure in order for their upper and bottom layers to make contact. Where resistive touch is a more mature technology, capacitive touchscreen is a newer option that continues to gain in popularity.

6 Reasons to “Switch”

In most cases, touchscreen switches are used to replace membrane switches, which rely on a pushbutton in order to operate. Membrane switches are generally more expensive than traditional mechanical switches and are made from a flexible material that helps provide a gap-free surface. This can create an additional wear point, with failure of the membrane switch often being attributed to the membrane itself failing (e.g., cracks and tears).

Here are six reasons more why engineers and designers are increasingly turning to resistive and capacitive touchscreens:

1. They’re the wave of the future. Membrane switches are made from antiquated technology, while touchscreens are state-of-the-art and modern. Much like the smartphones that many of us carry around in our pockets, the entire world is moving over to touch.

2. Fewer expensive components and labor costs. With touchscreens, companies can retrofit to develop product functionality within a matter of weeks. If, for example, engineers want to develop a new version of an existing product, the touchscreen serves up a much simpler interface for making those changes.

3. Easy adaptation with plug-and-play. To help engineers and designers transition from membrane switches and over to a touchscreen solution, Clarus Vision Inc., (CVI) creates component and circuit interfaces that are as close to being plug-and-play as possible. For example, to replace a current membrane switch, an engineer can simply remove a single piece and use an overlay to achieve that goal.

4. Good user interface flexibility. Because touchscreens are integrated, they can be overlaid onto an LCD or other background, thus creating a high level of user interface flexibility.

5. Simplification of the assembly process. If engineers standardize on certain sizes, they can use a single SKU across multiple different internal product lines. This will also allow them to scale back the list of items that they need to build their products.

6. Weatherproof and good for outdoor use. Capacitive touchscreens are especially good for outdoor use, where they are effectively water repellant. Put simply, the water won’t trigger false “touches” on the wet screen.

Committed to Service

Over the years, touchscreens have more than proven their excellent performance and operational reliability. But not all manufacturers of switches are the same. By providing a high level of support for its products, CVI has established itself as a leading provider of projected capacitive (P-cap, pcap, Pro-cap, or PCT) touch technology and resistive technology.

Unlike manufacturers that release a product, make it for a few years, and then stop making it, CVI doesn’t leave customers hanging. Instead, it’s made a long-term commitment to the resistive or “legacy touchscreen” side of the marketplace. Concurrently, it has introduced a wide selection of capacitive touchscreens—and continues to support those as well.

Along with the reasons cited above, this has pushed more engineers to incorporate CVI’s resistive and capacitive touchscreens into their companies’ products. As technology continues to advance—and as the industry advances toward the $93.8 billion mark—expect to see a wider range of touchscreen options and functionalities to choose from. Stay tuned…

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Here at Quest Components, we are committed to providing you with the information you need to help your business continue to run smoothly. An ISO 9001:2015 Certified Company headquartered in Industry, CA, Quest Components specializes in passive and active board level components. We also provide a variety of services to OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) and CEMs (contract electronics manufacturers) across the globe. Contact Quest Components today at 626-333-5858 for all your electronic component needs!

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