At the forefront of display design

Display engineer Mike Logan25 years ago, Mike's curiosity lead him to dismantle electronic devices trying to figure out what made them tick. Shortly after he jumped at the chance to join Anders who were just stamping their mark on the industry as a recognised LCD solutions provider.
We caught up with Mike Logan to find out how our resident display technology guru, feels Anders has developed over his long tenure at the company.

Q: You’ve been at Anders for over 20 years - what makes them unique as a display solutions partner?

When I joined over 20 years ago, I was fascinated by LCD displays and how they worked, and I could see that Anders was serious about exploring that technology. I had no idea just how far or how quickly display technology would evolve. The type of product, its sensitivity and style has moved on in leaps and bounds and the company has grown to keep up with the changing customer demands. We’ve moved from simplistic 7 segment displays on digital meters to full colour LCD and AMOLED displays for high end industrial and marine applications and we are seeing more and more adoption for home appliances too.

The knowledge of the sales team needs to meet the demands of the marketplace, so we have extremely competent engineering expertise throughout the company and can work with the customer from day 1 of the design process. This ensures the end result is not only fit for purpose but also looks fantastic too.

Q: What are your responsibilities at Anders?

My aim is to be at the absolute forefront of display design. I am essentially a consultant available for all our customers to offer them guidance on products, design and all the latest industry developments. I like nothing more than a challenge and enjoy working with both our customers, our team and our suppliers to create innovative display solutions.
When it comes to our suppliers I’m there to push them on what they can bring technically and question what is feasible, challenging them to come up with results that meet the customer’s design requirements. Our suppliers rely on us to bring them the work and they are happy to adapt their products and win more business. Anders is at the heart of the client supplier relationship, enabling the conversation on the design and product requirements.
Q: What have you brought to the Anders team?
display-design-coffee-machine"Customer interaction can be complex and we are on-hand to offer advice and get a handle on the application to work out where the product is going and draw on experience we’ve gained from previous customers and applications. To offer things that the customer may not have even considered initially.

For example, a consumer coffee machine requires a 3.5” colour capacitive touch display, but what we actually developed through close interaction with the customer was a display that extended beyond 3.5” and utilised soft key buttons on both sides of the screen that were actually all part of the same sensor. This caused us a few issues with EMC in the beginning but through our technical expertise we were able to work with the customer to eliminate any flaws and create a stylish, user-friendly design within the designated timeframe."

Q: What difference do you make to Anders customers?

Success! We are prepared to go the extra mile and not afraid to look at new things and new approaches. The best, most cost effective way is to get us involved from the start of the design process. It can save a lot of time, money and headaches further down the line. We can effectively help to design the product when it’s based around a display.

display-engineersI’m much more about working with the customer to develop the right solution for their project rather than helping them pick a standard product. A lot of customers think there is a cost to customisation, but often there are also savings. You can cut costs directly by getting rid of unwanted features but the most significant savings are usually indirect. For example, getting a display that’s the right size can allow a smaller overall case size.

I’ve been lucky enough to travel to many of our customers’ facilities across the globe to understand first-hand how the display is going to work in the overall mechanical design. 

Q: What is most rewarding in your working day?

It is a great feeling when a customer signs off a design that you’ve worked on and made a difference to, but I also really appreciate supplier factory visits. Unless you’ve seen these places it’s hard to appreciate the sheer scale. Manufacturing a display can sometimes involve 25 or more stages. Only by seeing it for yourself do you get to understand how all these processes work together to create the finished display.  This insight makes a real difference when  working with the customer on their designs I can often open up ways forward to achieve things that the customer didn’t realise were possible.  

Q: What is most challenging in your working day? 

Getting the right information from our customers. We need to make sure we understand not only how the design works electrically, but also the environment in which it is to be used. Our direct customer may be two or three steps removed from the person that actually uses the instrument and it really helps to understand what drives all the stakeholders. For example a smart meter may be manufactured, funded, installed and read by four different companies. I try to look at all of the aspects. Where is the user of the instrument going to be sitting? What are the light levels like in that environment? Will they be under pressure when using the display? All of these things are as important as the practical issues of drive ICs, power consumption and mechanical design.  

Q: What trends can you see in the display market?

We’re definitely seeing an increased move towards AMOLED displays and in particular wearables and circular designs.  The latter seems to really be capturing the imagination of designers and developers and is gathering momentum for industrial applications. There is a continuing pattern of display technologies emerging first in high volume and fashion conscious consumer electronics, and then moving to industrial applications with lower volumes and a requirement for long term stability of supply. 

Related articles:

AMOLED joins the circular revolution
Mechanical Design for Industrial Displays
Instant prototyping with display design kits


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