What goes into a custom display?

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Display systems are at the heart of what RDS does. The company has been designing and developing custom displays and systems for many years. This article outlines what goes into a display when it is built to a customer's specification.

What goes into a custom display?Working closely with clients, RDS develops systems that suit their exact needs for an HMI or system, taking into account functionality, the limits of the settings, its facets and how these will affect the display itself. Aesthetics also come into the equation; a front panel formed purely of glass looks smart and can be shaped. If the customer needs a graphic on the bezel, RDS can print this and give the display an edge over standard black bezel templates. RDS also needs to consider the environment where the display will be used. Does it need to be robust, are the conditions hazardous, is sunlight a problem? These days displays also need to have a strong body, and they are often embedded with smart display features that can include virtual keyboards and swiping mechanisms.

So, what goes into a custom display?

The baseboard

RDS has a comprehensive range of embedded systems and boards, from single-board computers, wide-temperature SBCs and modules that come in many form-factors, including Pico-ITX, Mini-STX, Micro-ATX and ATX, together with a full range of processors. Controller options are also available from chip-only to dedicated boards capable of supporting most common operating systems. Utilising bespoke ARM-based systems, RDS can include a range of add-on features including WiFi, Ethernet, CanBus, etc. Custom-designed boards - to any shape or size and using selected components to meet specifications - are all assembled and tested by RDS.

  • Custom PCBs of any size
  • ARM-based systems
  • Bespoke electronic design
  • Custom BIOS work to ensure longevity of operation
  • Custom baseboard design for SOM-based CP systems
  • Custom power and cooling designs
  • PCB design and manufacture


Display system design can include touch panel integration to add an extra dimension to the usability of an HMI system, or multi-touch capabilities of PCAP technology, or the simple, rugged and reliable option of resistive four-, five- or eight-wire sensors. Smart cover glass options are available for screen sizes from 3.5 to 4.0 inches. Screen technologies can vary from standard TFT to high-brightness OLED or super-strong and robust EL.

  • Passive LCD custom glass provides a low-cost option
  • LED backlighting including NVG options, as well as lower and high-brightness options
  • Custom LED backlight driver boards – excellent for applications where space is restricted
  • Custom OLED modules
  • Custom TFT substrates
  • Custom touch panel designs, with or without switches
  • Optically bonded touch and display assemblies reduce reflection in high ambient light situations
  • Intelligent display drivers
  • Display over USB driver board
  • Display cables
  • 3D printing

General design

RDS displays must meet the specifications of a range of applications and certifications. Whatever type of bespoke display is required, RDS can work with customers from prototype right through to manufacture and all relevant certifications.

  • Project management
  • Mechanical, housing and mounting design
  • Flow management for cooling
  • Electronic hardware design
  • Firmware and bespoke application software

If you need a custom display system, visit the RDS website to find out more about the company and its customisation capabilities at

21 November 2019

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