Slated to replace CRT monitors, liquid-crystal displays (LCDs) offer several design advantages for systems integrators, such as decreased power consumption, lower weight, smaller size, and no flicker. On the debit side, however, they cost more than CRTs, and this has limited LCD use in machine-vision and image-processing applications. To meet tougher application demands, several vendors specialize in developing LCD-based displays for harsh environments. This month we investigate those manufacturers and their products.
If you're thinking of incorporating a flat-panel display in your next system, check out the site of Computer Dynamics Inc. (Greenville, SC). There you'll find "Flat Facts"—an on-line FAQ about LCDs that discusses input standards, illumination, and how to design enclosed industrial systems; there is also a listing of open-frame systems, terminals, and accessories.
Innova Electronics (Houston, TX) designs and manufactures rugged electronics, computers, and flat-panel monitors for the aerospace, industrial, and oil-field service industries. On the company's Web site are descriptions of its rugged computers and STS-4000 Series of rack- and panel-mounted thin-film-transistor LCD monitors. Also described are the company's contract manufacturing capabilities, equipment, and facilities.
Harsh and flat
A range of LCD-based monitors and computers are featured on the Web site of General Digital (Manchester, CT). Offering information on rack-mounted and panel-mounted displays for harsh industrial environments, this site also presents a range of open-frame and fully enclosed LCD monitors that incorporate Pentium-based CPUs. There are descriptions of these products as well as rugged keyboards, touchscreens, and power supplies.
Military and aerospace
Producer of rugged computers, displays, and networking equipment for industrial factory-floor and military applications, Solaris Systems (Anaheim, CA) offers a number of rack-mounted and portable computers. The company's site provides descriptions of these systems as well as a range of rack mounts and industrial keyboards.
Rugged and compact computer hardware, including LCD monitors, LCD touch screens, thin LCD touchscreen workstations, and industrial computers, are featured on the Crystal Visions Technology (Costa Mesa, CA) site. The company's range of touchscreen displays and workstations are detailed, as well as computers for medical applications.
Graphics and video
As a Sun Federal Systems Integrator, Z Microsystems (San Diego, CA) offers LCDs, computers, and data-storage systems for use in harsh environments. Of special interest is the company's range of LCDs that include the Gemini series. These displays allow systems integrators to process and show real-time radar and live video and scroll graphical messages and maps.