Nowadays that most of the factories here in China still use the old school type office keyboard since lack of knowledge of how to choose a professional industrial type keyboard. Some of them did not know there is a better protection keyboard existed. In the past, Mate Technology has been worked with clients who owned the factory and we provided the industrial input device solutions for them. What are the disadvantages of using these office keyboards? Have you ever count the maintenance/tool cost for the keyboards that you have purchased over the years? Any differences between them?

Using normal office plastic keyboard won’t be able to prevent typo or provide ultra stable performances. If you are now thinking of purchasing a professional industrial keyboard and would like to know more information from all of these options, this article may help you to learn more as well as making a decision and start procurement.

For the differences between industrial keyboard and conventional keyboard are from the following points:

A. Materials

B. Stable performance

C. Configuration

D. Speed

E. Durability

F. Mouse integrated

G. Application

H. Mounting ease

I. Configuration

J. Specification

K. Appearance/Treatment

So, the question is, how can we choose from those conditions? That is also how we need to find out next.

First, we’ll talk about the materials. There are different kinds of material that can be found in the market, for example, stainless steel, silicone, membrane, glass, aluminium, ABS and more. Each material has its own features:

  • Stainless steel – Vandal proof, custom ease, salty resistance
  • Silicone – Clean ease, flexible, wide use of range
  • Membrane – Flat, clean ease, seamless
  • Glass – Flat, nice appearance, clean ease
  • Aluminium/ABS – Use for the case base or CNC case building

As a result, from checking the features of the above lists, we can tell that stainless steel is the perfect choice for unsupervised public area thanks to the material itself. Silicone has been more and more popular in the market now due to its outstanding tactile feeling as well as flexibility. Mate’s silicone keyboard got different finishing, we utilize the best varnish for the last step and it’s as soft as velvet. Membrane material is seamless, one-piece style, and it has been widely used in food & beverage applications. Its easy-clean style also is welcomed for the medical, pharmacy, labs. We always made it black and white for optional. Glass is getting popular lately as its elegant style suits for medical, surgery applications. It can be installed in the operation desk for enterprises as well, which you will find out an ultra neat desk without any hard edges.

Next, let’s move forward to configuration. How to choose the configuration that fits it the most? We recommend choosing a full functionality keyboard when there is enough space for your working station. How to define it as a full function keyboard? Basic typing area, Function keys(F1-F12 or F1 – F24), Numeric keys, mouse integrated. Since you won’t need anything else over the keyboard(it got all the elements you need). If space is not allowed, or let’s say, it’s fixed to some of the reason like replacement of old keyboard or design structure issue, you can choose either function keys or numeric keys. It’s better to have the mouse integrated, however, if you still need some space, then you can choose a separated mouse instead. Other configurations like backlight, it’s depends on your needs.

Mounting solution is another important factor. However, some designs are fixed due to the limitation of the machines, for such case some custom keyboard may be required as it needed to be with customized dimensions. In spite of this, it is highly suggested to find a standard keyboard from the current supplier and combine it into the drawing(3D) to see if it fits or not. Mate’s keyboards have mobile (with VESA holes available) or panel mount (flush or rear panel mount). Any special requirements like sink hole, R corner is also supported. We also provide polish service which will make the edges as smooth as possible, no scratching risks.

Most customers didn’t checked the specification as they think it should be the same. But this not all correct. If choosing the keyboard in the same section like stainless steel with the same or similar configuration, part of the specification is the same as they may share the same PCB and components. If you are comparing the keyboard from stainless steel and silicone, the specification will not be the same such as backlight consumption, key switch etc. Hence, it is recommended checking the specification carefully before ordering, to finally confirm all the conditions.

Operation temperature from -20℃ ~ +60℃ (4℉ ~ 140℉)  is a standard for most Industrial grade keyboard. Chip that we used can bear such temperature without any doubts. Most of the industrial keyboard are also waterproofed, from grade IP65 – IP68. It counts on the working environment you are in. If the device will be in contact with liquids or other detergents frequently, we suggest choosing a higher grade of waterproofness to protect the PCB inside the body. This is a basic condition from an industrial keyboard.

In this article, we are not going to talk about the mouse in details as you can see another article that discussed how to pick an appropriate mouse due to different applications. This is rather important too. The mouse options can be touchpad, trackball, mouse button, joystick etc.

Besides, it’s quite obvious that if you select stainless steel keyboard and will get the keyboard with metal key caps. Can we type it as fast as conventional keyboard? The answer is negative. Industrial keyboard’s most important factor is stability and avoids any mis-operation. Due to it’s material and switch utilizing, the typing experiences will be adapted as good as we can but it can’t be typed that fast.

Let’s put it simple that how to choose a suitable industrial keyboard: confirm that the keyboard should be fixed in dimension or not, if so, talk to keyboard supplier to find out more. If not, try to find out a standard keyboard from supplier’s portfolio and look into the above points that we mentioned. If you still have no clue, you can also contact us for a free detailed quotation.

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