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Pepperl+Fuchs Blog

What Makes Industrial Displays so Industrial?

Posted by Kristen Barbour on Tue, Dec 04, 2012

Why is it that industrial displays are so much more durable, and quite a bit more expensive than something you might buy at a consumer electronics store?

Industrial DisplaysThere are plenty of meaningful differences, let's go through them:

Industrial internal components

Only industrial grade components are used inside the display. As a result, an industrial LCD panel can handle a wider operating temperature range. The industrial displays will start and run at a much colder temperature than a consumer grade monitor, all the way down through, and in some cases, below the freezing point. That has to do with the actual backlighting technology. And, while it is fluorescent lamp technology, it will start and run at a lower temperature because the lamps are industrial grade.

At the top end of the temperature range, the industrial display will run to a higher ambient operating temperature than a consumer grade display. Specifically, 50 °C and, in some cases, 60 °C ambient operating temperature. This is because the actual liquid crystal composition in an industrial panel will run at a higher operating temperature than a consumer grade panel. You would expect to get continuous 24/7 operation at elevated industrial temperatures from an industrial grade monitor, whereas with a consumer grade monitor, you would not. You would expect it to fail from the heat at some point.

In addition to the better operating temperature parameters, a true industrial grade LCD panel is typically much brighter than a consumer grade LCD panel - 40-50% brighter, in fact. This brightness is very useful in well-lit industrial areas where you need to clearly see the information on the screen. A much wider viewing angle, both in the horizontal and in the vertical views is also very useful. You will also see true color representation throughout the entire viewing angle.

The colors on an industrial grade LCD display, even when viewed from the steepest angle, will hold true. Red is still red, blue is still blue, and so on. If you try this on a consumer panel, you tend to get color shift as you move off angle. If you're doing an excel spreadsheet at home at night, that's no big deal. But in process control, colors like red and green mean things that are process critical, so you truly want to see those colors properly represented, no matter what the angle or lighting level is.

Easy-to-replace backlights

An industrial grade LCD panel has replaceable backlights. This is because under 24/7 use you would expect to exhaust the lifetime of the backlamps, want to replace them for an inexpensive sum, and then put the unit back into service. You certainly would not want to scrap an industrial display just because the lamps were worn out.

In addition to the better quality LCD, there are a number of other industrial features that set apart industrial displays from consumer grade electronics. To metion a few:

  • Full gasketing around the outside and the inside for true NEMA 4 protection
  • Type 2 zinc chromate on the back of the unit protects against corrosion
  • Gold plated connectors also protect against corrosion
  • Intermediate cabling between the bulkhead connectors and the internal circuit boards prevent shock and vibration from the field from transmitting to the unit
  • The LCD is on a shock mount gasket, for better shock and vibration performance

In addition to the better grade industrial components on the inside, units are designed and engineered for industrial environments on the outside as well. The entire unit is assembled with 24/7 operation and factory applications in mind.

Measuring quality

How do you measure quality in an industrial monitor? We measure it by MTBF (mean time between failures). Our MTBF is 550,000 hours! That's just about forever (60 years) for any type of process you have going on in your plant. It also greatly exceeds units from competitive manufacturers and consumer grade equipment as well. Industrial displays are designed for the harsh rigors of manufacturing and process control, and will certainly meet your expectations for reliable use and longevity. 

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Topics: Industrial Monitors/ HMI

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