Molex Optimizes Lifesaving Thermal Cameras

Tracing who has a virus is an important step in containing its spread —especially in public spaces or dense, urban areas. And with the challenging dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic – it has never been more vital. Thermal imaging scanning identifies the heat generated by fever, a common symptom of COVID-19. With expertise and support from Molex, one global leader in thermal imaging cameras was able to address an unexpected spike in demand for this critical technology.

The company’s advanced cameras offer a non-invasive, safe and anonymous way of thermally scanning people in heavily populated areas such as airports or train stations. Their cameras look at specific zones on the body, such as the forehead or the corners of the eyes, to detect a potential fever.

However, a camera is only as effective as its user interface.

Molex’s design, components and development expertise ensured that the cameras are easy-to-use, while controlling for higher costs and production times.

The Molex Solution: A Custom, Smart Interface

Molex’s printed circuit boards (PCBs) and keypads work together to form an interface that communicates clearly with users of the thermal imaging cameras. High-quality metal domes allow the keypads to provide both audio and haptic (touch) feedback to indicate when a key has been pressed, while graphics printed on a silicone overlay clearly label every function.  But improved features were not enough — the interface still needed to be production-friendly.

Originally, the keypads used only flexible printed circuit (FPC) boards, and part of each board had to be mounted to stainless steel plates to become rigid enough to support the keys during regular use and ensure reliability. FPC boards are typically more expensive than their rigid counterparts and producing and mounting the steel to the boards can add steps to the production process – not ideal for the quick turn-around needed to meet dramatically increasing demand.  

Molex’s team of designers and engineers developed a custom solution that combined FPCs with more transitional PCBs. This change and other design optimizations eliminated multiple steps in the manufacturing process, allowing the customer to reduce production times, speeding the manufacture of the cameras and driving cost efficiencies at the same time.  

Looking Ahead

Molex is committed to helping our customers develop and refine their designs for higher quality, ease-of-use and production efficiency. And, our expertise and commitment to innovation on behalf of the customer – with an eye for rapidly changing global market dynamics — continue to drive unprecedented value for this thermal imaging provider.

Learn more about what we’re doing to overcome COVID-19.