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Choosing the right industrial monitor

Industrial monitors are designed for increased durability and to withstand the harsh conditions in industrial and commercial applications. They are available in a wide variety of sizes and resolutions, and there are multiple mounting options: panel mount, rack mount, open frame, etc. An industrial monitor can have a touch screen or not. Touchscreen versions are available using resistive touch (pressure touch) or capacitive touch (tactile).

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  • How to choose an industrial monitor?

    When choosing your industrial monitor, it is important to take the environment it will be used in and its application into account. Will your monitor come into contact with any liquid? Dust? Does it need good brightness? The type of integration (rack-mount, panel mount, etc.) is also important. Which touchscreen is optimized for your application and what degree of protection do you need?

    Depending on your working environment and planned application, you can choose:

    • The desired screen size and format. We define the diagonal (in inches) and the width:height ratio. The 6:9 and 4:3 ratios are the most well known, but it is also possible to have a 5:4 or a 16:10 screen.
    • The screen resolution. The resolution is the degree of detail of the image. It is expressed in pixels.
    • The brightness. This is the luminous intensity of the screen. If the screen isn’t bright enough, you will not be able see anything in full daylight. The luminosity is expressed in candela per square meter (also referred to as nits). The standard brightness is about 250 cd/m². Today sunlight readable” monitors are available for use in very bright environments. These screens must have a brightness greater than 1,000 cd/m2.
    • The resistance of the monitor is the ability of the screen to undergo aggression in order to avoid short circuits or infiltration into your system. Several standards guide you in the choice of resistance to spattering of various substances (water, oils, solvents, etc.), shocks or more aggressive spattering in explosive areas (see paragraph on protection standards below).
    • The integration and mounting of the monitor. The VESA Mounting Interface Standard, or VESA mount, defines standards with which monitors are mounted: the hole dimensions, the screws used and the configuration of holes at the back of the screen.
    • Tactile or not. As touch screens monitors are increasingly used, if you choose one, you will have to study the environment in which it is used.

    Main characteristics:

    • Size and format
    • Resolution
    • Brightness
    • Resistance
    • Integration and mounting
    • Tactile or not
  • Which technology should you choose for your industrial screen?

    • LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) screens use pixels with backlighting for a standard image with a lack of black density and shades of gray. The backlighting system makes the LCD screen quite large and heavy. LCD screens are very energy-intensive, but have the advantage of being very affordable.
    • LED (Light Emitting Diode) screens are very popular on the market. The image is very precise and uniform. LED screens are illuminated by light-emitting diodes. This results in better image quality and contrast, and this technology also saves about 30% in energy compared to LCD screens. LED screens are a little more expensive than LCD screens but still remain affordable.
    • OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) screens offer the best image quality on the market. This type of screen uses a chemical substance that lights up when it comes into contact with an electric current. They offer unparalleled depth of field and color nuances. This type of screen is thinner and lighter than other technologies and uses less power. On the other hand, they are much more expensive.
    • Plasma screens: compared to an LCD screen, a plasma screen has a better image quality; the shades of grey and black are better and the depth is greater. The minimum size of a plasma screen is 107 cm, which makes it quite cumbersome. They also use more energy than LCD screens. As the technology used is relatively old, this type of screen is inexpensive.

    The different types of technology:

    • LCD
    • LED
    • OLED
    • Plasma
  • How to choose your touchscreen?

    There are two types of technology for touchscreens:

    • Resistive touchscreens: two conductive layers are separated by a layer of insulation. When the user touches a layer, the two conductive films come into contact, which causes a current to flow. The device will apply a voltage whose coordinates on the screen are measured and transmitted to the system. This type of touchscreen is essential for many applications (GPS, video games, cash registers, electronic agendas, etc.), it responds to any form of pressure and is potentially more accurate than capacitive touchscreens. It works when touched by a stylus, gloved hand, bare finger, nail, etc. Additionally, this type of touchscreen is resistant to water, grease and dust. A resistive touchscreen is more sensitive to scratches and other damage caused by sharp objects however. It is also less reactive than a capacitive touchscreen, and its reactivity decreases over time. Lastly, a resistive touchscreen is less transparent, resulting in a loss of 20 to 25% of screen brightness.
    • Capacitive touchscreens: with this technology, a layer placed on the glass face accumulates charges. When users touch the layer with their fingers, charges are transferred to them, creating a measurable change (the electrostatic field is interrupted) on the layer. Sensors then determine the coordinates of the affected area. For “multitouch” applications, it is necessary to turn to touchscreens with projected capacitive technology. This technology works with thicker screens. This allows the touchscreens to be covered by a highly resistant armored glass screen. Capacitive screens offer many advantages: they are robust and scratch-resistant, they are also brighter and more transparent than resistive screens (90% transparency compared to 75%). The sensitivity of the screen is also better: you just have to touch the screen to get an immediate reaction. The disadvantage of capacitive technology is that it does not work when the user wears gloves.
  • What protection norms should your industrial monitor have?

    The industrial monitor you choose must be optimal for your application, but it must also meet the protection standards applicable to your industry:

    • IP rating: the first digit of the IP (Ingress Protection) rating indicates protection against solids, the second digit indicates protection against water or other liquids. Industrial monitors generally have an IP67 or IP65 rating. Lastly, it is possible to choose between “Full IP” (all sides are protected) or “Front side” (only the front side is protected).
    • IK rating: the 2-digit IK rating is the protection index for electrical equipment against external mechanical impact. It indicates protection against impact energy expressed in joules. It gives the equivalent to the fall of a mass of a certain weight from a certain height. For example IK01 => material protected against an impact energy of 0.15 joules (impact equivalent to the fall of a 150 g mass from a height of 10 cm). An IK00 rating indicates that the equipment is not protected.
    • ATEX standards: ATEX standards concern the protection of people working in environments sensitive to explosion risks. There are industrial monitors that comply with ATEX standards for use in explosion risk areas. ATEX distinguishes between areas with high gas and vapour concentration (zones 0, 1 and 2) and areas with dust concentration (zones 20, 21 and 22).
    • MIL-STD-810G/F is an American standard that indicates the robustness of the device. This standard was developed for the US military and is now used commercially to indicate to what degree a product is suitable for the environmental conditions.
  • Which connection should you choose for your industrial monitor?

    • VGA analog connector: this is the most widely used video output port, it is standard on industrial monitors. But, it only provides an analog signal and is not suitable for very high resolutions.
    • VGA-DVI connector: this evolution of VGA allows analog and digital signals to be obtained. Like the VGA, it has two screws, which prevents the cable from being pulled out.
    • HDMI and DisplayPort: these are increasingly used for consumer products. They route all digital signals (audio and video) in a single cable. They also make it possible to convey very high resolutions.
    • LVDS connector: this type of port should be favored for integrated screens. It connects the monitor to the graphics card by copper wires and allows a high data rate.
    • S-video connector: used for an analog video signal that transmits colors and brightness separately.
    • BNC connector: transmits the video signal in analog mode and also allows for audio transmission. It can be used as an analog and digital connection, as an antenna connection or for electronic testing. It can also be used for thin Ethernet networks. It is an electrical connector used as the end of a coaxial cable, most often used for radiofrequency.
  • What type of mount should you choose for your industrial monitor?

    When mounting your monitor, you will have the choice of mounting it on a wall or bracket, or integrating it into a complete system. Monitors are provided with predefined holes and configured according to the VESA standard for mounting. This standard also defines the screws to be used (M4, M6 or M8), as well as their position.

    You have several options when it comes to the type of monitor mount:

    • Panel mount: the monitor is designed to be embedded in a kiosk, cabinet, dashboard, etc. The brackets are at the back and therefore invisible.
    • Rack mount: the monitor is attached by the front to the frame of a 19-inch rack using four screws.
    • Flush mount: is like a panel mount but with visible fasteners.
    • Open frame: a monitor without an enclosure or frame, simply surrounded by a bare metal chassis on which all internal components are bolted. The advantage is that you can dress and customize the contour or case according to your preferences.
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