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GDSI: 25 years and counting

Monday, January 22, 2018

Pushing the buttons on a microwave or dispensing pop from a pop machine, most of us give little though to the fingertip-sized domes that collapse beneath our fingertips. But with every popping, push-button sensation an electronic message is sent. Underneath the numbers we see is a whole lot of technology…razor thin circuitry is printed and then sandwiched between many layers of plastic and adhesive, and topped off with artwork that means something to you and I. These membrane switches, as they’re called, are just one tiny piece of the technology needed to bring you your favorite beverage. And that’s exactly what’s made right here in Amery, at Graphic Display Systems Incorporated—or GDSI for short.

They don’t make buttons for pop dispensers at GDSI, although you might find some of their technology inside pop dispensers. 

No, the bulk of what they make finds its way to the medical industry—ventilators, c-pap machines, drug delivery systems and more. Another smaller chunk, roughly 15 percent, ends up in John Deere equipment.

In an era when touchscreens and wireless tech are taking a foothold, one might think that membrane switches were becoming a dinosaur of sorts. Not so, according to President and CEO Mark Ester. In fact, his team is developing new and exciting ways to put the same technologies and capabilities to different use. 

“There’s still a niche for membrane switches,” he says. “We’re moving more into the printed electronics area with heater circuits and medical sensors. There are better growth opportunities there.”

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