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Has anyone got experience with manufacturers of industrial/medical keyboards or keypads?

I'm trying to find a relatively inexpensive (as in not $200+ per unit) keypad (for bulk order) that would meet the following specifications:

  • PS/2 or USB interface (USB prefered)
  • Sealed design to prevent dust/moisture from getting between the keys. A membrane keypad in a solid housing (not one of those cheap rollup keyboards) would be a good possiblity
  • Should be able to take rough use from non-technical users
  • Easy cleaning is a plus

To save money however it does not:

  • Does not need to stand up to intentional abuse (vandalism)
  • Does not need to operate in extreme environments (only office level humidity/temperature)
  • Does not need to be customizable. A standard numeric keypad is enough
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closed as too localized by Mark Henderson Jan 14 '12 at 3:32

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What kind of environment are these keyboards going to be in? Do you have a real need for a rugged keyboard or do you just have bad luck with users abusing keyboards? – DWilliams Jul 16 '09 at 19:30
What is your price limit? – Joseph Jul 30 '09 at 20:28

Cherry has a broad range of Industrial/Medical Keyboards. I have never used one of these Industrial ons but I have seen many in factories, they are quite popular at least in Germany.

To prevent dust/moisture there is a flexible dust you'll have to order as an extra.

Cherry has no pricing information on their website and you'll have to look for an retailer in your area. 200 USD for a rugged keyboard is a little unrealistic I guess, I think it is more about 400 USD.

You can try to buy a regular (quality) keyboard an combine it with a flexible dust cover from cherry or another manufacturer.

Cherry is also the manufacturer of "Das Keyboard" by the way.

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You might actually not need to get ruggedized keyboards. They are so cheap now, that it might make sense to just buy a box of 10 or so. Toss them when they get dirty/stop working.

I frequently see super cheap keyboards on Newegg for about $4 to $5 including shipping.

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The replacement cost of the keyboards is not the issue (I just don't want to submit a budget request for 200 keyboards at $250 each), it's the cost and time of sending out tech support to replace them. The keypads would be connected to locked down access stations (PC inside a steal box with a rugged touch screen - keypad is needed for PIN codes) installed at remote locations with no on site technical expertise. With only 1 or 2 units per site, downtime and costly onsite support due to "guy with oil covered hands gummed up the keyboard again" isn't acceptable. – David Jul 16 '09 at 19:42
Ah ha. I withdraw the answer then ;-) – Dayton Brown Jul 16 '09 at 20:18

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