Custom Color TFT ~ An Expensive Option

Many larger companies such as Apple, Motorola or Samsung can afford the cost for a custom color TFT display (Thin Film Transistor) module. If, on the other hand, you are an engineer, designer or owner of a much smaller company, the tooling cost associated with a custom color TFT may be beyond your budget.

When choosing a custom color LCD, avoid TFT’s

There are different components of a TFT displays that can be modified to create a custom color LCD. Some of the modifications are not too expensive, while others can be cost prohibitive. We will cover some of the main options available and their estimated cost when customizing a TFT display module.

Custom color LCD options include:

  • Custom LCD glass size
  • Modified PCB(Printed Circuit Board)
  • Customized touch screen/panel.

Note: If you need a color LCD module, but do not need video or dot matrix (Graphical) capabilities, I would suggest using a lower cost alternative such as FSC*(Field Sequential Color display) aka known as a TN color display. A second option for a lower cost and much lower power requirement would be a custom segmented display module with color overlays.

Custom color TFT with modified glass size

This is by far the most expensive component of the TFT module to customize. There are industry standard glass sizes for TFT’s. The list includes, but is not limited to, 2.8 inch, 3.5 inch, 5.7 inch, 7 inch, 10.2 inch and larger. If you can design your product to make use of these standard sizes, then do it. If you need a unique size, say a something between a 2.8 inch and 3.5 inch, you may be forced to invest in a custom glass size. We have seen quotes for custom glass sizes for TFT run between $100,000 dollars to $150,000 dollars. Not a minor investment for most companies.

A second major cost to consider for a custom glass size is the high MOQ’s (Minimum Order Quantities). MOQ’s could be as high as 50K to 100K units per year. Not unheard of for a tablet for smart phone.

Custom color TFT modification of the PCB

We have customers request a standard TFT display, but require the PCB modified to fit into a case.

A TFT LCD display with a modified PCB, is still considered a custom color TFT. Modification costs to customize the PCB is an estimated $400 to $1,200 one-time tooling fee. The unit cost of the TFT display, with a modified PCB will be slightly higher than the cost of the TFT with a standard PCB.

Lead time for samples of the custom PCB is seven to eight weeks.

Custom color LCD modification of the touch screen:

Many products that incorporate a custom color LCD display will contain a touch screen or touch panel. These can be modified to meet a customer’s particular size for an estimated tooling cost of $3,000 to $4,000.

Lead time for samples of the custom PCB is seven to eight weeks.

* COG (Chip on Glass) FSC is a new type of technology and not recommended at this time. The most stable type of FSC construction at this time is a COB (Chip on Board)