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VFD replacement displays for the medical industry

VFD replacement displays for the medical industry

Dec 6th 2019


VFDs (Vacuum Fluorescent Display) produce bright characters and icons with a sharp contrast that exceeds older twisted nematic technology. For years, these qualities have made VFDs the preferred display for medical, aviation, and military products.

However, times have changed and now there is competition.

UWVD stands for Ultra-Wide Viewing Angle Display, which means it can be read from almost any wide angle. It provides many of the same qualities as VFDs at a faction of the price. If saving money is not enough reason to switch, check out its other features.

UWVDs can replace VFDs:

UWVDs are fully customizable and have affordable tooling (NRE). This allows the engineer to choose the size of the display, plus the ability to add any features such as touch screen panel or heater.

These displays can be built with the same size glass, icons/characters, and interface to use as a drop in replacement for your VFD.

Low MOQs:

UWVDs have low minimum order quantities because they incorporate the same components as older STN technologies. STN displays are currently produced by several suppliers and their demand has not waived in the last several years.

Short lead time:

UWVD has a similar design cycle to other technologies, which allows for designs to be finalized quickly so prototypes can be started without delay.

Low probability of obsolescence:

No one wants to design a display only to find it discontinued a few months later. This is a common problem with some display technologies. UWVDs avoid this issue by integrating components from a mature supply chain. If one supplier has delivery issues, several others can step in and fill the void.

Adjustable brightness:

The ability to dim or brighten the display is key not only to the medical field, but also aviation, where cockpit lighting changes and the display must meet the needs of the pilot.

UWVDs are DC driven and easy to adjust brightness and is also a good option for battery powered products where lower brightness equates to longer battery life.

Choice of interfaces:

Custom built displays allow the engineer to choose between SPI, I2C, parallel or other options. SPI is growing in popularity.

Choice of colors:

UWVDs use DC driven LEDs that allows the customer to choose the color or if need be, integrate an RGB display where the colors can be modulated to create unique hues. Examples include green when conditions are good, yellow to notify of an error and red when you really need to grab someone’s attention.

Extended half-life:

UWVDs are built with LEDs. Light Emitting Diodes have a half-life of 70K hours. Half-life is how much time (in hours) before the display is half as bright as when first turned on.

Ability to add a touch screen:

Touch screen interfaces are common for TFTs and other graphical displays but can also be integrated into UWVDs. The most common is a resistive touch screen because of its lower cost and ease of integration and durability for outdoor use.


Need help replacing a VFD or designing a UWVD for your new design?

Contact us.

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