Why Glass is Important for Industrial Touch Panel Displays
When it comes to the screens in your life, you probably don’t think much about the types of glass used in them. In truth, display glass is a highly sophisticated technology that’s worth a closer look: how the glass is made, what it’s made of, and why certain types of glass are manufactured especially for specific types of applications. Some touchscreen displays are designed for indoor use, some for outdoor, some for industrial environments and some for moisture. If you’ve ever wondered about screen glass, this post is for you.
The first, most obvious consideration is one to which we can all relate: how the glass affects screen visibility. Generally, there are two main types of glass around us:
- Soda-lime glass
- Sapphire glass
Soda lime, sometimes referred to as soda-lime silica, is the glass we encounter most. It’s used in everything from windowpanes to soda bottles. Cheap and easy to manufacture, it comprises nearly 90 percent of all glass that we see and utilize on a daily basis. As its name implies, this glass frequently has a green tint to it.
Sapphire glass, by contrast, is more durable though it’s also more expensive. It’s the type most frequently used in items like smart phones and tablets. Chemically, sapphire glass is manufactured with less iron, which eliminates the greenish hue and produces superior optical quality.
Making glass more resilient for industrial touch panel displays
To boost its strength and resilience, glass commonly is fortified in one of two ways:
- Heat tempering
Treatment type is based on the glass’s size and thickness. Chemical strengthening, which typically is more expensive, involves a sodium and potassium ion-exchange process inside a salt bath. The treatments are best suited for thin displays of 3mm and below, though it can be used in thicknesses of up to 6mm, as well as for any other applications that require minimal optical distortion.
Tempering requires a glass thickness of 3mm or greater. The glass must be of commercial-grade quality known as a 120/80 standard, which refers to a maximum limit of permissible surface defects. Full tempering offers higher thermal strength and imparts a safety dicing-break pattern that makes the glass crumble into chunks instead of shatter into shards.
When full heat tempering isn’t feasible due to the glass’s small size, thinness, or a low thermal expansion rate, manufacturers instead use a less-demanding process known as heat strengthening. Whereas full tempered glass typically is four to six time stronger than standard annealed glass, heat-strengthened glass typically is only twice as resilient.
Best glass protection and coatings for industrial touch panel displays
(See below for Infographic)
Now that the glass is strong, it’s time to coat it. Different types of coatings add value according to the screen’s intended use. Premio offers a variety of coatings, from anti-reflection to anti-microbial, and each offers its own benefits:
– Applied to one or both sides, an anti-reflection coat reduces mirroring by up to 98 percent, with many medical applications typically requiring 98 or 2 percent. This coating permits users to look at the screen for prolonged periods without causing eye fatigue.
– Applied to just one side of the glass, an anti-glare coat creates a slight blur that reduces reflection at the cost of a small loss in clarity. Many conference-room windows use anti glare; however, the process isn’t environmentally friendly and can’t be applied in the U.S. As a result, anti-glare-coated glass must be purchased from overseas.
– This is an additional coat that can be applied over the top of other coatings. As its name suggests, it resists, though doesn’t completely eliminate, oily smudges caused by fingertips.
– Typically used in the medical and health-care industries, an anti-microbial coating helps prevent the spread of common types of infectious bacteria and germs. Typically it’s more expensive, wears off over time, and must be reapplied every three years or so.
– This useful coating is found on most wearable eye spectacles and in high-humidity areas such as bathrooms. As the name implies, it helps minimize the effects of condensation.
– Commonly used at banks, especially bank-teller windows, privacy film decreases the viewing angle of the glass, making it more difficult for bystanders to see through it.
When it comes to glass strengthening and coating, Premio is an industry-leading provider of ODM/OEM touchscreen technology. We specialize in helping our clients identify and source the right touchscreen display technology and glass for virtually any type of industrial application.