Custom Graphic Overlays: Control Panel and Front Panel Overlays

Durable Metal, Vinyl or Polyester Control Panel Overlays That Will Last the Life of Your Part

MPC’s custom graphic overlays are durable enough to remain readable even under the harshest conditions, including outdoor and UV exposure, extreme temperatures, chemical exposure and cleaning processes. Our metal overlays and plastic overlays are ideally suited for heavy- and light-duty industrial and electronic applications, serving both a decorative and functional role in the machine-user interface.

MPC manufacturers control and instrument panel overlays that meet many Department of Defense and aerospace specifications, as well as many other industry standards.

A durable control panel overlay that will last the life of the part at a competitive price – that’s our guarantee.

Graphic Overlay Choices for Control Panels

Our most durable and popular material, the preferred choice for any environment requiring extreme durability. Typically applied to a supportive back panel.
  • High-resolution graphics are sealed beneath a sapphire-hard anodic layer, with superior resistance to chemicals, abrasion and solvents.
  • Built to withstand exterior exposure in harsh environments such as extreme cold, heat and UV. Expected exterior life of 20+ years. Color options have limited UV resistance.
  • Most cost-effective for small to medium volumes.

An ideal choice for use in aircraft/aeronautical, automotive, marine and military industries, with an anodized surface with built-in protective finish. Typically applied to a supportive back panel.

  • More durable than regular aluminum, with excellent abrasion and corrosion resistance, high resistance to chemicals and solvents, and moderate outdoor durability.
  • Most economical in higher-volume applications.
  • Graphics are screen printed and sealed beneath the anodic layer. Black graphics possess the greatest durability, with expected exterior life up to 10 years. Color options have limited UV resistance.

High tensile strength makes it ideally suited for printing and die-cutting. Designed to be applied to a support panel of a piece of equipment or used to protect a membrane switch assembly.

  • Ideal for graphic panel overlays because of its chemical and abrasion resistance, and resistance to tears. Expected exterior life of up to seven years.
  • Used in two-part panel construction as an overlay to a supportive back panel or to cover a membrane switch application. Graphics are screen or digitally printed on the second surface.
  • Frequently found on industrial controls, medical equipment, commercial and household appliances as well as other electronics.
  • More durable than polycarbonate in certain applications and less expensive for higher volumes.

High mechanical strength and superior optical clarity, used often in industrial controls, medical equipment, commercial and household appliances as well as other electronics.

  • High impact strength and resistance to stains, heat, abrasion and corrosive chemicals. Expected exterior life of up to five years.
  • Designed to be applied to a support panel of a piece of equipment or used to protect a membrane switch assembly.
  • Best suited for applications with minimum or no flex requirements. Graphics are screen or digitally printed on the second surface.
  • Known for high light transmission and low haze values.

High pliability allows the overlay to conform to curved and irregular surfaces.

  • High receptivity to pigment- and dye-based inks.
  • Lacks dimensional stability and heat resistance, but ideal for a narrow range of light-duty applications.
  • Expected exterior life is up to five years.

Why Choose MPC's Control Panel Overlays?

  • Typically produced from thin-gauge aluminum (.012" to .032") or plastic (.005" to .020").
  • Printing options include highly durable Metalphoto® process, vibrant screen-printed anodized colors, and conventional screen-printed epoxy or enamel inks. Available in spot- or full-color using digital or screen-printing processes.
  • Applied over a supporting back panel, or on top of a mechanical or flexible membrane switch assembly for instructional, safety, or other useful information to the equipment operator.
  • Our advanced fabrication capabilities reduce lead time and costly tooling charges.
  • May be formed or bent with fabricated openings to house gauges, switches and dials, mechanical fasteners or adhesive, and more.
  • MPC's advanced fabrication capabilities reduce your lead time and costly tooling charges.
  • Embellish with dead front images, white front images, transparent windows or selective printed textures.

Benefits of Custom Overlays

Companies often search for custom graphic overlays when they have equipment that requires a unique and completely custom interface. One common example is combining multiple components into a single control panel. Using a panel overlay is preferred over other identification means because they are cost-effective, highly customizable, and very durable.
  • Cost-Effective. Since custom graphic overlays are installed over the surface of your existing equipment, they almost always more cost-effective than replacing any equipment. They also help to improve the operation of equipment by adding new graphics and a streamlined interface. Custom panel overlays can also be installed using permanent pressure-sensitive adhesive or mechanical means, which can make them easier to replace if a new design is needed.
  • Customization. Custom panel overlays are available in many materials, including polycarbonate, vinyl, polyester, and metal. These options make choosing a suitable substrate for your application easy, and you can further customize the adhesive, finish, and coating for most custom graphic panel configurations. Some materials, such as vinyl, are especially pliable and can be used to create overlays that conform to curved or textured surfaces.
  • Durability. Using a custom panel overlay is one of the best ways to add a durable and secure user interface to your equipment. Custom panel overlays allow for intuitive equipment operation by clearly identifying controls and other operational elements. Labels made of materials such as some plastics and paper can be used to label controls, but these types of non-durable labels are prone to detachment and loss. Some custom graphic overlays, such as those made from Metalphoto® anodized aluminum, can survive in harsh exterior environments for over 20 years and represent the ultimate choice for extended durability. Antimicrobial overlays are an ideal choice for environments where hygiene is a concern, offering protection against bacteria, mold, and mildew.

Common Use Cases for Custom Graphic Overlays

Custom graphic overlays provide both a decorative and functional role in the machine-user interface. They are especially helpful for orienting operators of heavy machinery, robotics, and manufacturing equipment. The following are a few common use cases for custom graphic overlays:
  • Aerospace Instruments. One of the challenges for aerospace industry manufacturers and operators is maintaining compliance with the rigid regulatory standards that are in place. With specific guidance available for the labeling, operation, and maintenance of aviation equipment, it is important to choose a custom graphic overlay that is compliant with all applicable industry regulations. Custom panel overlays are used for many aviation instrument applications, but working with a knowledgeable partner to fabricate your overlays is a must.
  • Maritime Boat Switches Panels. Most vessels, both commercial and recreational, typically contain a variety of equipment systems. These are usually operated from a centralized area on the One of the best ways to ensure a clean and intuitive interface is to use a custom panel overlay. When designing a boat switch panel or adding additional electrical components or controls to an existing boat switch panel, companies can integrate the controls, switches, and knobs in an effective orientation that suits them and have a custom overlay designed to accommodate any boat switch panel design.
  • Heavy Machinery. Heavy machinery applications require robust and durable overlays capable of withstanding harsh environments. Depending on an application’s unique requirements, there are several overlay options suitable for heavy machinery applications. Metal overlays provide the durability needed for harsh manufacturing environments. Metalphoto® overlays are an excellent choice for heavy machinery applications, offering superior graphic clarity and resistance to abrasion, chemicals, UV exposure, extreme temperatures, and corrosion. Plastic overlays, when combined with a membrane switch, can create a completely enclosed interface to protect against damage from chemicals or moisture. Plastic overlays are easily replaced, as well. For environments where hygiene is a concern, our antimicrobial overlays are a good choice. Made from a textured polyester overlay incorporating Microban® antimicrobial product protection into the texture, this film has been extensively tested and proven to inhibit the growth of a wide range of mold, mildew, and bacteria.

No minimum quantity. Get a quote for any size job.

Get a quote for any size job – we have no minimum piece requirement. Our minimum production run is $400 per part number, excluding set-up fees/tooling. Contact us regarding your project.

No minimum quantity. Get a quote for any size job.

Get a quote for any size job – we have no minimum piece requirement. Our minimum production run is $400 per part number, excluding set-up fees/tooling. Contact us regarding your project.

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