Backlighting is one of the most important features on modern products to bring attention to your design and help your product to stand out. Brands want distinctive backlighting options to showcase their product and draw attention to their interfaces. The Hall Company’s engineering team has decades of experience working with different backlighting solutions and can help your team design the features that will take your product to the next level. There are several different backlighting options available for today’s products.   

Discrete LED’s – This is the simplest method of achieving backlighting.  LED’s are placed in discrete locations on a printed circuit or a rigid PCB to illuminate a specific area.  You have the ability to light up individual icons and keys without much impact to the tactile feel of the product.  This is also a fairly costs effective method. However, it does require more thickness than some other methods.

Light Guide Films – Light guide films use special materials to evenly distribute light across an area. Areas can be blocked or etched to guide light to only specific areas needing illumination.  This method allows uniform lighting around keys, open areas, and icons. From an aesthetic standpoint, light guide films can produce very attractive lighting options. It is a very thin and flexible solution with minimal impact to tactile feel.  Because of the properties of light guide films, LED’s can also be minimized benefiting the product design and component costs.

Fiber Optics – Fiber optics uses a mesh of very thin fibers that carry light from a LED or other light source. It fairly evenly distributes light across an area.  It can illuminate open areas such as keys or icons but has a duller intensity than some other methods.  It adds a medium amount of thickness to a part a and costs more than some other options. It also has a low to medium impact to tactile feel.

Electroluminescence –EL Lamps illuminate by printed phosphorus between two conductive layers that emits a glow when current is applied. EL Lamps offer good uniform lighting across and area and illuminate keys and icons.  There is limited impact to the tactile feel of a product, but these applications are best suited to limited or no light environments. EL lamps do degrade over time especially when high voltage is applied to them.

Combination Products – A lot of products in today’s marketplace use combinations of lighting technologies.  For instance, discrete LED’s and Fiber optics can be used together to achieve different results in different areas.  This can have an impact on overall costs, but some solutions require creative lighting ideas to meet a customer’s specifications.  Our team can help you to determine what is the best path forward for your lighting needs.

Additional Backlighting Techniques – There are several other options and tools available to meet your product requirements and to help your brand stand out.  Light piping can be used to direct light to specific areas or to diffuse hot points of LEDs.  Special printing processes can achieve dead-fronted areas that look flat or black until an LED is illuminated.  Then these areas can light up in a keys, patterns or icons. This method is often used for aviation in cabin solutions.  Various textures and inks can also impact how your final product will look. Our team of engineers can help you to navigate through this process.

all metal look to it while still utilizing capacitive technologies that give the ability for very finite sensing options.