What are the tooling costs?


What are the typical tooling costs for developing a custom LCD display?

Well certainly, everything is on a case-by-case basis but that’s not a very helpful response. So there’s a wide range of costs depending on the product.

I’ll list some typical costs that we generally see in our industry. Starting with changes to viewing angles, polarized types, switching from transmissive to transflective or reflecting viewing modes are all examples of $0 tooling cost changes. Simple PCB changes typically run from five hundred to a thousand dollars.

Tooling a new backlight can run from $1,500 to $4,000, depending on the complexity. Creating a custom monochrome LCD glass cell is on average $2,500. Resistive touch panels are approximately $2,500 and capacitive touch panels tend to range from $4,000 to $10,000 in tooling.

So finally when tooling up a full custom monochrome display without the touch panel, we typically see the overall tooling land in the $6,500 range plus or minus about $1,000. So you may be thinking, well what about color TFT displays?

That gets a little more complicated and leads to our next question.

What is the difference between tooling up a custom monochrome display versus a color TFT display?

The color TFT cell is manufactured on a silicon backplane, which requires a significant investment in tooling and a much higher volume run rate. I’ll give you an example: monochrome glass is around 2500 in tooling and we can build down to about a thousand pieces per lot. Color TFT is about a hundred and seventy-five thousand to three hundred and fifty thousand dollars in tooling and typically cannot be manufactured in lots less than a hundred thousand pieces at a time. So because our customer base mainly consists of customers building between five thousand to a hundred thousand parts per year, the color TFT tooling and lot sizes are cost prohibitive. So instead we design our displays around a standard TFT glass product form, that is already in high-volume production. This avoids the tooling and we’re able to pool orders to support lower individual MOQs. We can then customize the balance of the LCD module to meet the specific needs of our customers in a tooling range from about one to six thousand.

And finally the last question: can I modify an existing standard display?

Yes. We understand that one of our standard products may already be close to exactly what you need. We consider this semi custom display and anything from standard to full custom is certainly possible. So whenever we start developing any display for a new application we always try to use standard components first. This lowers the tooling investment, simplifies the design process, and can often enable a shorter sample lead time.

To learn more about creating a new display or matching an existing display, visit PhoenixDisplay.com.

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