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The Purpose of Graphic Overlays

Graphic Overlays Promote Safety and Clear Instructions

All electrical products contain some kind of interface, including buttons, toggles, dials and joysticks, but without a graphic or written depiction of what each interactive part does, a consumer will find the product difficult to use. This is where graphic overlays come into play.

The main purpose of a graphic overlay is visual representation of an interface panel or switch which allows end users to interact correctly with the product. For example, you can show your customer easily where the emergency stop button is by surrounding it in yellow and adding the words “EMERGENCY STOP” above it.

unnamedSource: Introducing The New Vactor 2100i

It is very important that your graphic overlay defines all interfaces clearly and accurately for safety reasons and to give the best end-user experience possible. Keep in mind that some graphic overlays may need to follow compliance regulations, such as those found in NFPA 79: Electrical Standard for Industrial Machinery.

In addition to visual interfacing, other uses for graphic overlays include preventing moisture and debris in the unit, prolonging switch actuation life, and promoting brand images.

Prevent Moisture and Debris in Unit

A graphic overlay is made of a combination of a film (usually polycarb or polyester) and an adhesive that, when combined, create a barrier between the outside elements and housing, further protecting the electrical components underneath.

hands-decal

In order to create the best seal possible, make sure that all cut-outs for switches, joysticks, and dials are sized correctly with accurate tolerances. Too small of a cut-out size means that the overlay and the parts will not fit together, and housing for the switches may cause the overlay to bubble, ripple, or even delaminate. Too large of a cut-out size opens up the possibility of moisture or dust entering the unit and causing the electric or mechanical components to possibly lose functionality or fail.

Prolong Switch Actuation Life

Buttons on a graphic overlay, whether embossed or not, have membrane or mechanical switches underneath them inside the unit. While it would be possible for some of these switches to be open to the outside, their lifespan can be increased substantially by covering them with an overlay. The overlay prevents switches from being accidentally pressed, broken off, or pressed in too far.

Promote Brand Images

industrial-applicationOverlays are convenient places to put logos on your product, without the cost of additional graphics or decals. By consistently using approved brand colors and fonts across all overlays for all product lines, your products will become more easily recognized. Graphic overlays with logos can help put your name and brand right in front of the end-user for daily advertising.

Graphic overlays are not just practical, they are necessary. They not only need careful thought put into them during the design phase, they also need to hold up to long-term use in the field.

Graphics Output has the knowledge to make your best overlay, along with the state-of-the-art equipment to produce it. If you want to improve your current graphic overlays, update them to meet compliance standards or just have a question, email us at sales@gographicsoutput.com, call 260-748-0577, or request a quote here.

Sharon Schiffbauer
Sharon Schiffbauer
Sharon Shiffbauer is the VP of operations at Graphics Output. She is a seasoned professional who has mastered the perfect balance of leadership and fun. She’s down-to-earth and a straight shooter. With over 30 years experience in the industry, she’s a great resource for customers and employees alike. Contact Sharon with any of your printing needs. It’s guaranteed she’ll give you good insight and leave you with a smile.