Industrial control panels and mobile devices have long been stuck with cumbersome technology due to the tough environmental conditions in which they’re operated. Push buttons, dials, gauges, counters, and switches have long dominated applications in this sector, but as a manufacturer of control panels or handhelds, you know that the sector is making the switch to touch screens as an economic, convenient way to speed up operations. However, in order to build control systems for industrial applications, you have to use touch screens that can stand up to just about anything, which means finding a vendor who’s in the business of producing high-performance touch screens used in extreme conditions.
Touch screens may be used in control panel monitors or all-in-one PCs as well as in handhelds used in the field or on the floor by operators. Put simply, they get dirty, and they need to function perfectly despite contamination from grime, dirt, chemicals, solvents, and dust. Used in everything from manufacturing to food processing, they should be able to function in freezing temperatures and users should be able to operate them with a gloved hand or a stylus. What this means is that, by and large, capacitive touch screens are not a viable option, as they rely on the electromagnetism of human skin and require direct contact with a finger.
For the most part, that leaves resistive touch screens, which are made with two panels of glass and read input when one layer makes contact with the other, thanks to pressure applied by a finger or stylus. Ottawa-based manufacturer A D Metro has gone one step above and beyond when it comes to this technology and have created an ultra resistive touch screen that raises the bar on durability. Not only is it shatter- and spalling-proof and operable despite contaminants or deep scoring, it’s also able to withstand repeated impacts. It uses a top layer of borosilicate armored glass with an ITO (indium tin oxide) coating and substrate separated by dielectric spacers. The ultra resistive touch screen from A D Metro is designed for the most extreme conditions, and in addition to industrial applications, is also used by in military, marine, and aerospace applications.
As touch screens come to dominate as the preferred HMI (human machine interface) in industrial applications, it’s become more important than ever to source rugged technology that your clients can depend on. If you’re making mobile devices or control panels for more forgiving conditions, standard resistive touch screens from A D Metro are also a low-cost option that’s quickly and easily integrated into any of your product lines. Touch screens have the power to improve industrial control and monitoring processes, but only if they can withstand use and abuse and last long enough to be a cost effective purchase for your customers. Keep up with changing industry standards and start building the rugged, touch screen-powered control panels and handheld devices that industrial customers are looking to buy.