Posted in | Materials Analysis

New Design Trend In Control Panels For Electrical Appliances

SCHOTT has responded to the latest trend in user interfaces in the electrical appliance industry by incorporating minimalistic design and intuitive surface control with a new technology called Smart Touch.

Thanks to Smart Touch, discrete finger grooves and sliders in the glass surface now intuitively guide use, instead of push buttons, knobs, and slide controls that used to cause turmoil. This means completely new design and operator concepts can be realized for coffee machines, refrigerators, medical devices, and other industrial applications.

Photo no. 166160. SCHOTT Smart Touch-Indentations in the glass provide a tactile orientation when operating electric switches. Photo: SCHOTT.

SCHOTT Smart Touch offers appliance manufacturers a multitude of new possibilities. SCHOTT’s new manufacturing technology precisely grinds and positions cavities so that capacitive switches can be easily installed. These switches then serve as tactile orientation guides for appliance operators, enabling manufacturers to stand out from the crowd and sharpen their unique brand identity by offering a distinctive operator interface.

SCHOTT Smart Touch offers many new possibilities. Punctiform control elements are just as possible as rings or sliders. SCHOTT can produce matte or polished finger grooves with different depths and diameters. Illuminating or printing colors and symbols on the respective areas opens up even more design options.

More hygienic
Besides the design possibilities, glass control elements also offer a number of other advantages over conventional mechanical switches. Glass elements are extremely durable because they contain no moving parts. Furthermore, they don't have joints, corners, or edges where dirt and bacteria can settle. They are also easy to clean because the glass surface is completely waterproof and resistant to aggressive cleaning agents. Both aspects ensure better hygiene and usability.

Micrometer precision
SCHOTT has developed a proprietary new manufacturing technique, used exclusively for SCHOTT Smart Touch. A special machine allows manufacturers to precisely create different types of cavities in smooth glass surfaces. The tolerance is a mere +/- 0.05 to 0.2 millimeters, which is an advantage to the production of human machine interface devices. Capacitive switches, as well as active and passive infrared wave technologies or acoustic wave technologies are all possible. This can be done with any type of flat glass that is between 2 and 10 mm thick.

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