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Touch screens customization

To succeed, currently launched on the market devices have to offer clients something more than just good technical parameters or reliability. Nowadays, clients expect that the product have also an attractive look. That’s why electronic devices manufacturers fight for the leader status in modernizing the products design. This philosophy applies also to displays and touch screens used in most of market segments – from medial applications to transportation and industrial automation. Currently, precise matching of the display to client’s application matters more than ever. A perfect solution in this case is customization which means adjusting the module to client’s needs. Below you can find description of possible changes regarding parameters and the process from an idea to implementation.

POTENTIAL PROFITS FROM CUSTOMIZATION

The implementation of customized module should be considered by any manufacturer that produces devices equipped with a display integrated with touch screen. Customized modules (display + touch screen) allow the designers to have almost limitless possibilities in defining the external appearance and functionalities of final application. Such solution enables the user to adjust display and touch screen to the final application (e.g. dashboard, washing machine, control unit) and not vice versa. The possibilities and cost of customized screens manufacturing are now much more affordable. Moreover, customizing companies often offer technical support and assistance at every stage of the project which generates even higher savings for the client. Product manufactured in that way has an attractive appearance and is tailored to software and hardware of client’s application. Thanks to these features, the final application becomes much more attractive in the eyes of the ultimate user.

CUSTOMIZATION PROCESS

Step 1 – General requirements

Some display vendors, in addition to the products themselves, offer also professional support in designing and manufacturing a complete solution (touch screen + display) according to client requirements. At the very beginning of the customization process, the client presents to the company providing customization services a basic information about the application and general requirements regarding technical parameters of individual elements.

Step 2 – The interview and details

In the second step, it is important that the engineer supporting the project interviews the client regarding the final device. The purpose is to get as much details as possible, so that all module components are adjusted to operational environment of the final application. At the beginning, the customizing company needs an information about outer dimensions of the touch screen, its shape description, structure type type and thickness. The most popular material used to cover the display and touch sensor is glass. Glass has many advantages among which we can distinguish durability (glass thickness adjusted) and appearance that suits many applications and environments. It is also possible to grind the glass edges to make the corners round or gain an effect of C-cut (glass pane rounding). Another option of customization is making holes in glass to install mechanical elements such as buttons or ignition switch. Moreover, on this stage client defines details regarding touch screen panting (color, logotype, description, icons). Client can also choose full-color or semi-transparent mask. When the backlight is switched-on, semi-transparent mask lets the light from the bottom and when it is switched off the mask is in the background color. This method is mainly used with icons that should be visible only during the device’s work. Thanks to additional options of customization such as antireflective coating, water resistance, EMC or vandalism resistance, the touch screen gains many new functionalities. A complex set consists of the touch panel and usually of properly matched display. Customization company engineers suggest also a display model that fulfill clients demands based on the information provided by customer about display technology (Mono LCM, OLED, TFT, e-paper), diagonal, resolution, temperature range, brightness and additional functionalities (e.g. water, dust, shock, EMI resistance).

Step 3 – Pricing and executive drawing

When the initial project is agreed, the customizing company prepares the pricing and commercial offer. This process takes up to 5 business days, depending on the complexity of the project. When the client accepts the initial project, the manufacturer prepares a detailed executive drawing of the touch screen. The drawing takes into account all necessary dimensions and shape defined by the client. Client can also make minor changes at this stage (e.g. logotype or icons change). In this case, all modifications are implemented to the project till gaining the final acceptance, that is undersigning by the client.

Step 4 – Manufacturing a prototype (sample)

When the project is undersigned, the factory is almost ready to start producing the small amount of samples. However, the manufacturer often requires a Non-Recurring Engineering (NRE, tooling) fee before producing samples. The fee covers the costs associated with the production line preparation and the cost of samples which client will receive to conduct tests. At this stage, all irregularities are still possible to eliminate without significant additional costs. If the test batch complies with the requirements, client places a production order.

Step 5 –Production

In step no. 5 client authorizes the samples. The batch production time is generally 8 - 10 weeks. When the full production process is once completed, it can be repeated many times without any additional costs. There is also a possibility to make some amendments before producing the next batch. However, the client has to remember that every change in the project may involve an NRE fee or unit price change. Batch manufacturing may begin even from a few pieces, depending on the application complexity and other customized components.

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