Now you’re on board with the possibility of a custom or customised display as mentioned in our last blog, what are the considerations when designing your display solution? Let’s have a look at the expertise, timescales and safeguarding against obsolescence.
The three disciplines
Displays should be considered as an integration between electronic design, mechanical design and software design of the system. A display needs to fit precisely into the casing and withstand whatever physical abuse (shock, vibration, fluids, heat) the environment or the user inflicts. It is driven by a processor and needs to support appropriate hardware interface requirements. It carries information created by the system software and (if it is a touch screen) needs to respond accurately to the users’ instructions. A good understanding of all three disciplines is key.
Then add ergonomics –how will the user actually use the equipment. Will they be standing in a darkened room or outdoors in the sunlight? Will they be standing in front of the display or will they glance at it from the side?
Finally throw in the commercial constraints of the project. Display choice a complex buying decision on the project, and it is little wonder that a standard part rarely fits the bill.
Design and manufacture timelines
The additional lead time for a custom display is almost all in the initial design and tooling phase and depending on the complexity of the project and the number of iterations, a custom display can be designed in 10-12 weeks. The manufacturing lead times for custom displays is actually the same as for standard and customised units: normally 12 weeks though this varies as it does for any other component.
Protecting against obsolescence
The obsolescence risk is actually lower with custom displays. Many standard displays are manufactured for high volume consumer products like smart phones – and the industrial market is supplied with products based on these requirements. The consequence is that the industrial market is subject to the vagaries of high volume consumer requirements. For example, when smart phone manufacturers switched to making larger phones with larger displays this dramatically affected the availability of smaller 2.8” displays because display manufacturers switched their lines over entirely to the new sizes.
If you have a custom display designed to your specification manufactured specifically for you then you are protected from that risk. It is also possible for customers to dual-source the same design from two different manufacturing partners to safeguard them against obsolescence. Using a specialist display design partner, the design work is done once co-ordinated with different partners that specialises in the industrial market, using just one design team. They continue to closely monitor the market and have the right partners in place that should any components become obsolete, a like for like or very closely matching solution will be offered for a seamless transition that has minimal impact on your end design.
Think custom or customised
I hope I’ve shown conclusively why a standard catalogue display is almost never the best answer for a design but taking that standard product and customising it creates a much better outcome. When this isn’t the case, custom is always an option. Yes, going this route entails a good hard look at the economics but it isn’t as expensive as you would think.
For either route, it makes total sense to partner with an expert who is comfortable doing more than guiding you around the spec sheet. Anders offers a project team including electronic hardware, mechanical and software specialists to ensure that we consider all aspects when we create a custom or customised display solution. This team understands the customer’s technical challenges, and can add deep insight into display manufacturing, based on many years’ experience.