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Creative coverlens engineering adds functionality

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Jun 14, 2021

All displays need a coverlens, or coverglass. It’s a simple term for a component that, by applying a little thought, can create a solution that stands out from the competition. It’s all about shrewd design and squeezing the maximum potential from every aspect of your user interface. Putting that coverlens to work can deliver the functionality and performance you need within the typically tight constraints like power, cost, and time to market.

The underlying role of the coverlens is to protect the front of the TFT-LCD panel. It is needed to prevent the delicate polariser on the front of the display being damaged by hazards such as moisture, contamination from finger grease or dirt, dust and other particles in the atmosphere, and impact damage.

Think beyond the obvious with shapes and cut-outs

But so much more becomes possible by thinking beyond the obvious. Our manufacturing partners use precision laser-cutting processes that can produce intricate shapes and features for enabling a variety of use functions. You can arrange cut-outs to incorporate peripherals such as a camera in a door-access control panel, more easily than designing a special bezel or enclosure. Additional items such as an infrared temperature sensor for virus-status checking can also be designed-in this way.

If your display is part of a larger control panel, you can arrange cut-outs to incorporate mechanical switches, keypad buttons, or analogue dials. You can choose whether these should be raised, flush-mounted, or recessed, and make the user interface look better as well as simplifying assembly. We helped one customer add a digital display to an established user interface, using coverlens cut-outs for access to the existing controls and instruments. This helped avoid making changes to the original enclosure thus saving significant re-engineering and re-tooling costs.

Extending the coverlens for additional functionality

You could take a similar approach to reuse the digital platform of your user interface in several different applications, changing the coverlens shape and positions of cut-outs to suit: boost the return on your investment in the underlying hardware and software design, and get new product variants to market faster. Or if you want to change the display in your application, maybe to use a larger or smaller unit, why not change the coverlens size instead of re-designing the enclosure? We can help you create curved or convex coverlenses if necessary to match an existing contour.

Don’t forget that you can utilise the space around the outside of the display in various ways. Consider screen printing any relevant user instructions or helpful numbers to call if assistance is needed. 

In an application such as a transport ticketing terminal or electric vehicle charging station, you can use the coverlens to protect a contactless card reader and print an image to show users where to place their card or mobile.

Our previous blog discussed opportunities for styling the coverlens, and the same ideas can enhance functionality too. Icons that are hidden until lit, behind the coverlens, don’t just look cool, they can work incredibly well too. 

You can use the decluttering effect to prevent important features such as critical status icons struggling for attention in a visually busy environment.

With our knowledge of the most up to date processes, and the precision finishes that are now achievable, we can help create a coverlens design that makes a powerful statement. We have applied our skills to optimise all aspects of our customers’ designs to ensure every component delivers the maximum possible value. Why not take advantage of our experience to turn your user interface into a stand-out feature of your next project. Get in touch today.

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