Custom LCD modules | Price vs Cost

Black Model ‘A’ Ford Vs. Custom LCD Modules

What do custom LCD modules have to do with a Model “T” Ford automobiles? When Henry Ford first built automobiles, you could have any color car you wanted as long as it was black. There were no other options available on a Model “A” or Model “T”. You could not order a GPS, rear spoiler or the color blue with a tan interior. You purchased ‘off-the-shelf’ and that was all there was to it. But times in the automotive industry have changed, and so have consumer demands for a more custom designed car.

Times have changed for LCD display modules as well. At one time you were limited to a few possible standard configurations of LCD’s. Before the introduction of custom LCD modules, engineers were forced to design their product around the display manufacturers LCD. Thankfully LCD technology has advanced and now the roles are reversed. The custom LCD manufacturer can build your display around your design, not the other way around. This is true for either a small custom segment display or a larger custom color graphics LCD display.

OEM product manufacturers of such industries as medical, industrial, automotive, and consumer products can design a custom module that enhances the perceived value of their own products. This can be a great advantage over their competitors.

Custom LCD modules have become more popular due to shorter lead times and lower cost. Many displays can now be modified for a tooling cost as low as $200; and prototype samples can ship in five weeks or less.

What to keep in mind when choosing your custom LCD supplier

Choose your custom LCD modules supplier carefully. There will always be a LCD manufacturer on their way to bankruptcy. As is true in any industry, there will always be someone who has a lower price for the custom LCD panel. Lower price does not necessarily equal lower cost.

Check to make sure the supplier has been in business for a few years. Do they really understand LCD technology, or are they a broker that also supplies, PCB’s, capacitors and duct tape? Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) technology changes at a very rapid pace and requires an LCD company who deals with LCDs and LCDs only. Would you service your new car repairs to a repair shop that also buys gold and low cost health insurance? You get what you pay for.

Make sure the supplier knows the difference between STN and FSTN, or the advantages and disadvantages of EL backlight versus a LED backlight.

Will working directly with China and India really save you money on purchasing your custom LCD modules?

Yes, you will save money if everything goes perfect; if you don’t mind making phones calls to the factory at 2am to resolve issues that come up; and you accept that many times off-shore LCD suppliers will modify your custom LCD display without notifying you.

If you are a company that purchases several different types of LCD’s a year and possess a strong engineering department, you could realize a cost savings. On the other hand, if this is an ‘experiment’ and you need to get to market on time, your sample displays need to match production; you may want to take a pass. If your LCD is a low cost segment LCD and things go wrong, you may only be out a few thousand dollars, but if you need a larger color TFT display when things hiccup, your loss is increased to several thousands of dollars.

Make sure the lower price you receive takes into account duties, tariffs, freight and clearing house fees.

Many LCD manufacturers are really brokers that not only supply LCD’s but also mp3’s, digital picture frames and even clothing.

Price vs Cost on custom LCD modules

Your price for the small custom display and your custom color LCD may be lower, but the cost you pay for the experience of the learning curve can be painfully expensive. Your competitor may be the first to market when you are still waiting for samples or to get your design made correctly.