Sourcing Displays for Harsh Environments

Midas Displays encourages buyers to consider a display’s operating environment early, with a focus on temperature, readability, touch and the physical environment

The environment a display is tasked with operating in is often overlooked when initially discussing a new project, even though it can play a big role in display performance. Factors to consider include: environmental temperature range, lighting (dark rooms/direct sunlight), the physical environment and touch requirements.

Every display has a min/max operating temperature. If exceeded either way, display performance can be negatively impacted or the display may fail. Factors increasing or decreasing a display’s environmental temperature include machinery, enclosure, embedded PC or natural causes.

Regarding readability, will the display be in direct sunlight? The noonday sun measures 1,600,000,000 nits which will always beat a standard backlight. Most displays average between 500 to 1,000 nits, although solutions of >2,500 nits can be provided. Will the display be operating in a dark room? In this case certain technologies must be ruled out if they lack a backlight, such as e-paper and memory-in-pixel (MIP).

The next question is the physical environment. Could the display come under physical pressure? Displays used in industrial applications may suffer additional stress, so what can be done to protect the display? Many applications require a display with an impact rating (IK) or waterproof rating (IP).

If touch is required, are there factors impacting touch screen performance? Medical applications may require the touch panel to work with surgical gloves. A shower application may require the touch to be water resistant. Many things need considering when selecting touch technology.

A sensible solution is speaking to a display specialist that can support such needs. The list of environmental factors that may impact display performance is extensive but there is always a solution. Wide temperature range displays can combat harsh temperature environments. There are many options to improve sunlight readability and sturdiness, including optical bonding, cover glass, anti-glare coatings and polarisers. Standard and customised touch panels are available to work under harsher environments.

Whilst harsh environments can be overlooked in project planning, a display specialist can guide buyers to the ideal solution or even suggest one that may not have been considered.