Why is Designing a TFT with a Custom Size not Feasible for Most Projects?

Why is Designing a TFT with a Custom Size not Feasible for Most Projects?

Oct 19th 2022

TFT displays are now used in a wide range of products, including TVs, computers, appliances, medical equipment, instruments, mobile, and other gadgets. The utilization of LCDs in all market segments was significantly enhanced by incorporating thin film transistors into LCD architecture.

The liquid crystal display (LCD) uses TFT (thin-film transistor) technology and contains a transistor for each pixel (that is, for each of the tiny elements that control the illumination of your display). Since each pixel has a transistor, the current that initiates pixel lighting may be reduced and turned on and off more quickly. The active matrix display technology is another name for TFT (and contrasts with the "passive matrix," which does not have a transistor at each pixel).

The materials required to make a TFT display include ITO glass, liquid crystal, polarizer, sealing glue, and intermediate powder. These components themselves are simple enough, but the manufacturing process can often involve heavy investment in tooling, sourcing, and research. Each step of the process requires a unique line and space in the factory, along with dedicated design, engineering, and manufacturing staffing.

A custom sized TFT display will likely need to be designed such that each component fits into an appropriately sized housing that the project will require; this will often require experimentation and creative resources.

Regarding engineering support, the bespoke panels will need to be designed to function reliably and with the performance required for the use. This process will also require sourcing the tooling or suppliers for individual parts in order to manufacture the custom display. Finally, manufacturing the custom display will require a dedicated assembly line with the training to create the bespoke display configuration. Depending on the use case, this may require custom or unique processes that will require an investment in training and quality assurance. The quality assurance process for devices that are not mass-produced can be difficult and time-consuming. Because there are usually tight deadlines to follow and a limited number of samples, it can be difficult to reliably assess samples and understand the breadth of limitations surrounding a design.

Finally, economies of scale play a massive role in cost and pricing. Economies of scale relate to the cost-benefit a company has when it raises its output level for a specific screen size—the benefit results from the inverse connection between the amount produced and the fixed cost per unit. The fixed cost per unit decreases as production volume increases.

Therefore, it may not make sense for a small project scope if you need a small number of TFTs with custom sizes. While the overall cost may be lower due to unit price reductions as the number of displays purchased leads to a decreased cost per unit, this price reduction will not be feasible with a smaller purchase size of custom-size displays. Additionally, when considering the tooling cost, this is not able to be spread over a smaller number of custom displays purchased, leading to limited cost savings on small purchase orders. Custom can be cheaper if your project falls within mid-range volumes, but this is not the case for small projects.

Consequently, due to design, sourcing of materials, manufacturing considerations, and cost and time of quality assessment, it can be impractical to order a custom TFT configuration for smaller projects. Fortunately, FocusLCDs offers a wide variety of mass-produced screen sizes that allows you to benefit from economies of scale and may even be a perfect fit for your specific project.