In the 2nd in the series of topics covered in the recent Reliability Matters podcast, hosted by Mike Konrad for the electronic assembly industry, Paul Mullen and Mike Logan discuss the engineering challenges the company is facing and addressing.
Many of the challenges they overcame are things we take for granted every day - the efforts made by “the people behind the screen” ensure our lives are not complicated by malfunctioning displays. Designing a durable product for a harsh environment entails deep awareness of the surroundings in which the display will be functioning as well as having the foresight to design for the toughest situation.
“We see our display as a subsystem, as a piece of glass with LCDs on it,” explained Mike Logan, Display and Input Technology Manager at Anders. “It could be a TFT, there's hundreds of thousands of transistors on the glass, it's going to have an FPC, they could have a backlight, a certain brightness and lumens. All these design aspects are the elements that go into making that product, and it’s tailored around the application for which it’s intended to be used. It's not just a display on its own -it has to go into an end-product. It has a certain task that it has to be able to complete. Once we understand exactly how we're going to use it, then we can understand what type of materials will go into our display.”
A good example of a product with numerous environmental challenges is a display that supports marine applications. “There’s not just moisture in the air, there's corrosive saltwater moisture in the air,” Mike explained. “There are vibrations, so mechanically the display needs to be robust. It’s usually mounted on a ship where there's lots of sunlight coming in, so it needs to be sunlight readable. These displays require attention to every detail.”
A maritime design must incorporate the proper backlight, with anti-reflection and anti-fingerprint coating, so it can be read in bright sunlight. Optical bonding is used to help it withstand destructive salt mist. Anders works with partners to test prototypes and new applications in harsh environments, looking for damage or excessive wear. The company tries to replicate how the end-product will be used, and where it will be located.
Because there is corrosive moisture in the air, a display goes into an enclosure that is airtight and watertight. While some customers are content to receive the display with a ruggedised touchscreen which they then assemble into their unit, Anders recommends going a bit further. To ensure proper mechanical integration and prevent leakage, Anders can supply the front of the case, with the display and the cover lens glued into its own frame, to be assembled with the rest of the unit. This is yet another extra step in ensuring durability and long life of a product.
Everyone knows that the marine environment is one of the harshest around, so if Anders can develop successful products in that market, with all the various pressures to maintain the touch in a myriad of harsh conditions, it would make sense that the company can succeed in a lot of other environments. With Anders proving repeatedly to be a good marine life supplier, less demanding applications benefit from the company’s attention to quality, too, and Anders continues to provide outstanding solutions for customers in many markets.
If you missed the original Anders’ Reliability Matters podcast, it can be heard on the following channels:
Reliability Matters Podcast:
Reliability Matters is a podcast on the subject of reliability of circuit assemblies. Reliability "best practices" and success stories are discussed. This podcast features interviews with experts in the electronics assembly industry: https://www.aqueoustech.com/podcast