Anders highlight how custom displays offer a robust, accessible and flexible solution

Leading UK based display specialist Anders, design, develop, and deliver LCD touchscreen and embedded display technology. In this article, we learnthat as the company has transformed, their continued investment in engineering, supports the growing industrial need for customisationas a means for competitive advantage, both for Anders, and for the markets that they serve.

Anders’ business model is continuing to evolve to service the demands of the marketplace. The company, who havebecome well known for distributing displays and supporting display applications, now place more of an emphasis on helping customers specify their own customisedLCD, TFT or Embedded displays. Foreseeing a greater demand for customiseddisplays in the industry, Anders hasoptimisedthe company to be able to provide a greater level of support to customers who wish to develop a customiseddisplay, including managing the complete manufacturing process, from concept to finished product, with the company’s Asian manufacturing partners.

The transformationmay appear sudden, but it is something the company has been working towards over a number of years, gradually adapting its value proposition to stay ahead of the industry curve. As off-the-shelf displays have become commoditised, there is a growing gap in the market to provide comprehensive technical and engineering support for more sophisticated display and embedded display applications through customisedhardware and software solutions.

This evolution of business priorities has allowed Anders’ to grow and optimiseits in-house engineering expertise and use the experience that the company has gained over decades to replace the non-technical middlemen found in the industry, and provide a direct conduit between customers and their Asian manufactures. Anders can assume full control over the design, development and manufacturing process to make customer access to customiseddisplays as pain freeas possible.

Why choose to customise a display?

The vast majority of products today use some kind of display. For some devices, such as mobile phones or tablets, the display is almost the only way to interact with it. As time passes, more and more functionality has moved from electromechanical devices, like switches and buttons, to the screen itself.

There is a wealth of optionsavailable for designers that wish to buy a display off-the-shelf, including size, resolution, brightness, contrast, and touch technologies. Even with these choices, many companies underestimate the complexity of integrating the display hardware and software into the product. This complexity can include designing the perfect touch experience to coping with ESD problems, ensuring the design is robust and rugged with exact mounting options for ease of installation or selecting the correct connectivity options for the application. Every aspect of the integration process has the potential to shorten the product’s usable lifetime or, in the worst case, lead to a complete redesign.

Do you not want more?

With all the choices available, many companies have started asking, what differentiates my product from any other?

When the screen is the most visible feature of a product, designers who buy off-the-shelf displays from the same list of suppliers and use the same included software face the risk of competing products start to look and feel alike.

Forward thinking companies quite rightly want to put their own stampon their products, and that is more than a logo on the start-up screen. A distinct look can help users tell the manufacturer at a glance. Other companies have products that are not suitable for the generally available screen ratios or sizes, or have applications that require more or less powerful electronic processors, or different mounting options. For those companies, a customised display is an ideal solution. But, are these displays not much more expensive?

Anders’ customers often state, a decision driven by price achieves only short-term gain and in reality brings long-term pain. Off-the-shelf displays offer no real advantages for the majority of applications. Cost-effective, customised displays are usually the smarter option for the longer-term. Specifying the display and processor to suit each specific product can help initially, as many companies are forced to over-specify displays or electronics, resulting in too much processing power or too many unnecessary features on the display for the application requirements, resulting in a higher cost solution that is actually needed.

There is also the question of obsolescence. Today’s displays and supporting electronics are designed for the consumer marketand its short product lifecycle. The majority of product designs in the industrial world are intended for much longer use. For those products, a component’s obsolescence could mean a costly redesign of the product. By specifying the display from the start, designers can choose products that have guaranteed availability for much longer periods, ensuring component supply for the whole product lifecycle.

What is crucial, is specifying the product correctly and knowing the components that manufacturers have committed to supplying over the longer term. This is not always an easy task as there are a bewildering amount of different combinations to consider, and making a single wrong choice could lead to the expensive redesign that the customised solution was meant to avoid. Making the correct choices takes experience, so forming a partnership with an expert in the subject matter is the best way to ensure the completed specification is right first time.

It’s even better if that partner, who is now familiar with the requirements of the design, also has the contacts and expertise in the Chinese market to oversee the manufacture of the product. Anders has experts on-hand with decades of experience in both specifying displays and supporting electronics, as well as managing complex manufacturing projects in China for every type of application and vertical market. The company’s design-led focus will allow more of those experts to work directly with customers, and provide a broader range of support and services, which will ensure a seamless route from initial product specification to completed manufacturing.

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