Touch Screen Technology

“When we went looking for a designer to help us upgrade some of our products to touchscreen control, we got a lot of “too expensive” and “too complicated” responses from groups we had used in the past. We were happily surprised to find Thomas Instrumentation nearby. They had the knowledge and experience in touchscreen technology we needed to give our products a competitive edge. No longer did we have to compromise on what we really wanted. Thomas delivered exactly what we had in mind. Customer feedback to our new products has been very positive.” – Christopher Meyers

With the popularity in touch screen systems growing, Thomas Instrumentation decided to develop a low-cost, highly customizable, quality touch screen controller for its customers. The system has a fast power initialization time, displays data in near real-time, and can be configured to meet specific interface designs. The processing speeds and quick reactions to touch sets us apart from others. Most touch screens in industry are PLCs or use a Linux operating system. Both of those take a long time to startup and be ready to use. Our touch screen is up and ready in less than 1 minute. We also give users the ability to change the responsiveness to touch in case our default setting isn’t sensitive enough. Everything is fully customizable.

Our touch screen can function as either a complex control system or a simple user interface that communicates with an existing controller. It has plenty of both external RAM and flash which means we have lots of room to support graphics, languages, logs, etc. The system can communicate with other devices via I2C, SPI, CAN, Ethernet, Serial (RS485), and USB. That USB port is often used for updating firmware and storing or downloading data logs.

The actual touch screen display is available in a variety of sizes and technology types. Our standard displays are a 4.3” Widescreen and a 7” Widescreen that are both resistive touch technology. We primarily use resistive touch as our screens are used in Industrial & Laboratory environments where users typically wear gloves. A capacitive touch screen would not allow for gloved hand use. That said, we can easily adapt our system to work with a capacitive touch display for customers that desire a multi-touch interface. We can also use displays smaller than 4.3” and we’re currently working to develop a 10” model. All our touch screen systems include software to display a screen saver that constantly changes position and dims the backlight after a period of non-use. This feature prevents screen burn-in, conserves energy, and greatly increases the lifespan of the display.

The touch screen system we sell to customers is just the circuit board. The system requires custom software to make it complete. This is where our software department and our specialized tools come into play. We have invested in a licensed program that allows us to easily incorporate custom graphics into our displays. This gives our customers the freedom to create their own unique graphics and use them on the display. Typically, our customers will develop these graphics and the screen layouts/mockups for our software developers. Our developers then incorporate these graphics per those layouts and tie each graphic to its specified function. We work closely with our customers at this point to make sure everything looks and feels the way they envisioned it. Another licensed program we’ve invested in converts any Window’s Font to the format we need for our system. This means customers can easily deploy their touch screen product globally. We currently have touch screen systems operating in the native language of China, Germany, Poland, Spain, France, Italy, Czech, USA, and others. We’ve put a lot of time and effort into developing this product, so we’re confident we can provide you with the solution you’re looking for.

  • Summary of Benefits
    • Fast Startup & Load Times
    • Quick Reaction Time to Touch – Very Responsive
    • Support Display Sizes 10” and Under – Stock 4.3” & 7”
    • Licensed Converter Tool for all Window’s Fonts
      • If there’s a Window’s Font for the Language, then we can support it
      • Currently have systems in native language of China, Germany, Poland, Spain, France, Italy, Czech, USA, & more
    • Licensed Tool to Support Custom Graphics
      • Customers develop unique images for every feature of their display
    • Ethernet, CAN, USB, & RS-485 Communication Capabilities
    • In-Field Updates