Traditionally, industrial and medical equipment designers have relied on mechanical switches and dials for system control, and for a long time this has suited the industry well enough. However the appeal of touchscreen enabled tablet PC’s and smartphones has led designers of industrial equipment to reconsider how users interact with complex machines and systems in the workplace.
However, implementing touchscreen technology in often challenging environments is not straightforward. There may be many obstacles to consider and overcome, and some touch technologies may not be capable of operating in extreme conditions.
But Zytronic are acknowledged leaders in the manufacture of durable touch sensors, and our technology is proven in the most demanding applications and environments.
The combination of an intuitive interface, and our rugged projected capacitive touch technology continues to change how people interact with machines and computers in the workplace.
For example, imagine an offshore oil and gas drilling platform. It is a potentially dangerous, and dirty environment, where the collection and analysis of process data by engineers and technicians must be accessed rapidly, understood and then acted upon quickly. Creating a rugged human machine interface (HMI) that is easy to use and able to withstand the harshest of conditions is the problem that faced Smart-EX; a manufacturer of intrinsically safe industrial PC’s designed for hazardous areas.
HMI touchscreens in this environment must be incredibly durable, and able to withstand corrosive salt water and oil, they need to be capable of detecting the touch from a heavily gloved finger, and crucially they must also be capable of being hermetically sealed to eliminate the risk of sparks coming into contact with flammable gases and liquids. Traditional mechanical buttons and dials would not have been suitable so Smart-EX turned to Zytronic to supply 15 and 19-inch projected capacitive touch sensors manufactured from 23 mm thick laminated toughened glass for their new Zone 1 hazardous environment terminals.
It isn’t just the oil and gas industry who are taking advantage of the benefits that PCT™ has to offer – medial applications are also reaping the rewards of Zytronic’s patented technology.
Medical device and software company, K2 Medical Systems, sought a durable and cleanable solution for its K2MS Platform™ Medical Grade Integrated Panel. Designed to work in critical departments such as neo-natal intensive care, cardiology and anaesthesiology, the K2MS platform was required to be resistant to chemicals and rigorous cleaning methods, and to respond reliably to the touch of a surgically gloved hand. Zytronic’s ZyBrid® product was selected due to its ability to be supplied in small volume, custom designs and its peerless reliability.
“Touchscreens make advanced technology easy to use and accessible to all staff, even those with little or no PC training, which is essential in modern healthcare. But this environment imposes very specific demands. Touchscreens must be easy to keep clinically clean, offer good light transmission with no glare, and must be strong enough to pass medical device standards, which include a 2-inch steel ball drop test. Zytronic’s ZyTouch® touch technology delivered and surpassed all of these criteria” Dr. Robert Keith, Technical Director, K2 Medical Systems.
Zytronic’s projected capacitive technology (PCT™) has also been implemented in Pharmaceutical and Food Processing applications. APC Technology, an innovative leader in the design, manufacture and support of rugged computing solutions for defence and industry, has used the moisture- and dirt-resistant properties of Zytronic’s ZyBrid® touch sensors to provide high reliability, impact resistance and all-weather functionality.
APC Technology’s chose Zytronic to provide the 15-inch touch sensors used in its ‘FT’ range of ruggedised panel PC’s. The ZyBrid® touch sensors outstanding performance allowed the ‘FT’ range to be used in a wide range of demanding environments, including production and assembly lines, hose-down zones, food production and livestock management areas.
The adaptability of Zytronic’s projected capacitive technologies (PCT™ and MPCT™) and flexible manufacturing processes continue to allow us to design and supply uniquely durable designs. Industrial applications can benefit from our customisations including:
- Thick laminated glass
- Thermal and Chemical glass toughening
- Specialist anti-microbial glass
- Bezel free designs
Contact us if you would like to know more how our touchscreen technologies can assist your demanding industrial application.