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Designing A Custom Segment Display: Benefits & Considerations

May 9, 2021

Segment display is a much older technology than TFT or OLED, with early patents dating back to the turn of the 20th century. But despite the rise of new display options, it is still one of the most popular choices for products like kitchen appliances, thermostats, industrial meters and medical devices due to its low cost and low power consumption. Segmented displays are made up of monochrome segments that can either be hidden (off) or visible (on). Its simple but effective design is a perfect solution for products requiring a customizable, low-power, cost-effective display option. 

Businesses are increasingly turning towards custom display solutions in order to build displays to their exact requirements and meet the evolving needs of their customers. A customised display can be just what it takes to stand out from the competition. Read on to learn more about the opportunities a custom segment display can offer, plus things to think about when designing a custom display.

What Is A Custom Segment Display?

A custom segment display is a display designed and manufactured to meet a business’ exact requirements. It can vary in size, shape, thickness, complexity, information displayed and it can also include sensors and other smart technology. For example, Mimbly AB created a custom display for its sustainable laundry solution - their custom display uses sensors to tell users when water savings have been made. An innovative display solution entirely unique to Mimbly.

Segments can vary in number - with the most sophisticated segmented displays going up to 100s of segments. Although one of the most popular segment displays is the seven-segment display; seven segments are used to display text or numbers. On activating all the elements, it displays the number 8. However, when fewer elements are activated it displays single-digit numbers from 0-9, plus most lowercase and uppercase letters in the English alphabet. It is widely used in calculators, microwave ovens, washing machines, calculators, digital clocks, electronic meters etc.

custom segment display

Benefits of a Custom Display

While off the shelf displays provide standard options, a custom display can be made exactly to your unique specifications, incorporating design details and functionalities that can take your product to the next level. Here are some of the main benefits of producing a custom display:

Versatile

Custom displays are built according to a business’ exact requirements so you can incorporate the functionality that your customers require and your competitors don’t yet have. This could include colours, size, but also additional features such as waterproof, temperature sensors, colour changes in response to a stimulus and material flexibility.

Elevate your brand

Custom displays help elevate your brand to stand out against competitors. They can add uniqueness to your business and give you a competitive advantage.

Cost-effective

Keeping expenses down is an important factor in all businesses. Depending on the design, custom segment displays can be produced in mass quantities using methods such as roll-to-roll screen printing, meaning that unit cost stays low.

Reduce wastage

As your displays will be designed to your exact requirements, you can reduce the quantity of raw materials you waste. For example, if you only need a tiny display, you will only need to pay for the materials it costs to produce that amount. 

Custom Display Considerations

There are many factors to consider while designing a custom segment display. Some of these factors are:

Power consumption

Power consumption is an important factor while designing a custom segment display. Typically, segment displays need less power than any other display technology. For example, displays requiring an LED backlight need >10x more energy compared to low-power reflective displays using electrochromic technology for example.

Segment size

Segment display contains a number of segments to display numbers and letters. The number and size of segments can range. Larger segments will require more energy than smaller segments.

Operating conditions

Another factor to consider while designing your custom display is the operating conditions, such as temperature and humidity. Typically, there are two temperature configurations:

  • normal temperature range between 0C to +50C
  • wide temperature range between -20C to +80C

If you need your display to operate in particularly humid conditions, this will also need to be factored into the design.

Backlights

A backlight is also an important factor if the custom display needs to be operated in the dark. However, most backlights are battery or solar-powered, meaning they have limited power. 

Viewing angle dependency

Viewing angle dependency is another factor while considering a custom segment display. If you require a display to be visible from all angles or if it is not an essential criterion. Viewing angles vary, with some displays only being visible from a 30° viewing angle.

Lifetime

You should think about how long you need your display to last. If it will be short-use, it doesn’t have the same durability issues as a display needed to last for a long time. 

Display visibility

An important consideration is whether you want your display to be permanent (i.e. static) or dynamic. Also, if your display is dynamic, how long do you need the information to be displayed once it has been activated.

Weight & thickness

It is now possible to produce ultra-light, ultra-thin yet durable displays. It is also possible to create flexible or bendable displays if required. This can open up the scope of what is possible. Lightweight, thin displays help reduce overall product weight and offer more application opportunities. Consider whether this is essential for your particular application.

We Can Help You Design, Prototype & Manufacture Your Unique Custom Display Solution

At Ynvisible, we help clients create innovative custom displays for transformative technologies. We offer R&D and end-to-end solutions, including prototyping and cost-effective manufacturing. To get started designing your own unique custom display, take a look at our designer display kit today.

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