What is a graphic overlay?

A custom graphic overlay

A graphic overlay is a high quality membrane overlay, suitable for display on the front face of a product or case.

Graphics and text are usually sub-surface printed onto a thin polyester or polycarbonate substrate, providing a wipe clean surface that is resistant to many chemicals and cleaning agents. A permanent acrylic adhesive backing is applied to graphic overlays to enable them to adhere to your product.

Custom graphic overlay

Graphic overlay printing is usually carried out by a screen printing process, but can also be achieved via digital printing. Printed details are normally viewed through the material, protecting them from scratching and accidental damage.

A custom graphic overlay

More complex features can be incorporated, including coloured filter windows, or selectively printed surface varnish or textures. Graphic overlays can also be embossed with a range of raised profiles to enhance switch positions, logos or other important features.

The standard adhesive provided will give a strong and secure bond to the majority of surfaces. We can provide a higher specification adhesive for many low energy surfaces, if required.

Profiles are punched using a die cutting process on our platen press, or using our laser cutter for a graphic overlay prototype and smaller volume productions. Complex shapes can also be accommodated.

A custom graphic overlay

Using custom graphic overlays will remove the need for screen printing or etching directly onto a metal case, providing control panel overlay printing of graphics and text at a reasonable cost. This also allows the details to be changed if required, by simply replacing control panel overlays rather than the whole case.

Custom graphic overlays can be used as instructional labels, indicator panels with LED's or lamps illuminating from behind, or as a high quality, durable panel overlay to your short travel switches. They can even be adhered directly onto a PCB and, by the use of conductive pads printed on the underside,  provide a suitable switching option for contacts on the board.

Control panel fascia

A control panel fascia (or panel facia) is a custom graphic overlay which has been adhered to a backing plate. The control panel fascia is then supplied as a complete unit, ready to use in your product with no additional work required by the customer.

A control panel fascia

Backing plates can be made of various materials including Aluminium and Mild Steel, with surface treatments such as anodising or powder coating. Moulded plastic cases, or even printed circuit boards, can also be used.

Touch Panels can provide your control panel fascia using a backing plate from our range of approved third party suppliers, or we can apply the custom graphic overlay to backing plates, cases, or printed circuit boards supplied to us by our customers.

If you intend to use self-sourced backing plates, we recommend that you free-issue them to Touch Panels and allow us to apply the custom graphic overlay. This utilises the skills of our experienced staff in a clean, controlled assembly environment, which can avoid unexpected problems and prevent costly waste.

Custom graphic overlay options

A wide range of options are available to ensure that each custom graphic overlay is tailored to your exact requirements. Please see below for a list of options to consider.