Printed light guide technology helps Malvern Instruments with instrument control panel

Nov. 17, 2008
Date Announced: 17 Nov 2008 Design LED Products and manufacturing partner IGT Industries have been working with Malvern Instruments to create advanced backlit capacitive touch panel for latest Kinexis rheometerPrinted light guide technology from Design LED Products has enabled human-machine interface specialists to create an advanced control panel for the latest Malvern Instruments Kinexis rheometer. Featuring enhanced ergonomics, compact dimensions and direct communication with host software, the control panel supports intuitive access to the instrument’s specialised functions.Using Design LED’s technologies to build low-profile, backlit capacitive switches, IGT Industries – the human-machine interface specialist and a manufacturing partner of Design LED Products - has created a clear and informative control panel featuring intuitive colour effects using a single LED per window. This has saved 66% of the LEDs normally required to build a panel supporting comparable features and consistent illumination.Additional benefits include reduced size and cost, faster assembly, improved ergonomics and an attractive, high-tech appearance. The control panel overlay is reverse-printed on textured polyester in black, silver and chrome, and completes the user interface design.Describing the impact of Design LED’s light-guide technology on the success of the project, Steve Carrington of Malvern Instruments said, “The ability to custom-design the control panel to fit perfectly within the instrument was a major advantage. Working closely with IGT Industries, our team at Malvern Instruments was able to integrate the new panel completely into the hardware for optimal user ergonomics. Importantly, printed light guides also allowed our designers greater freedom to create an attractive design that fits perfectly within the overall instrument concept.”IGT’s Derek McLaughlan said, “Design LED’s precision light distribution technology is leading the way to smarter control illumination systems, and enables our backlit capacitive switches to deliver an enhanced user experience, ultra-slim dimensions and outstanding reliability. There are numerous potential applications such as domestic appliances, security panels and instrumentation, in addition to industrial and scientific equipment like the Malvern Instruments Kinexis rheometer.”Printed light guide technology, developed by Design LED, combines processes used to build membrane keypads with innovative techniques to enable light from LEDs to be distributed to precisely controlled locations. No hard tooling is required, and the light guides are able to produce consistent colour and brightness across a surface area up to 50cm x 50cm. Potential applications include control panels, instrumentation, signage, general lighting products and specialised applications such as merchandising and branding.By allowing designers to achieve interesting effects using low-voltage LED technology, including colour-change lighting using RGB sources, printed light guides enable new creative freedoms for designers and also remove challenges such as designing the inverter for an electroluminescent system.Illumination is scalable and proportionate to the number of LEDs in each light guide segment. Luminance values from 50 cd/m2 to 5000 cd/m2 can be achieved, according to individual project requirements. Additional advantages include the ability to build flexible illuminated panels, create straight or curved edges, and easily add custom graphics.About IGT IndustriesIGT-Industries, based in Eastleigh, Hampshire, specializes in the design & manufacture of Membrane Keyboards, and Full Control Panel Assemblies using highly sophisticated technologies. They provide solutions to all Human Machine Interface (HMI / MMI) requirements. Established in 1987 IGT Industries Ltd has built up an enviable reputation for high quality, outstanding technical ability and service.About Design LED Products LimitedFounded in early 2004, Design LED products have developed and patented a manufacturing technology to embed Light Emitting Diodes within printed light guides. This enables thin, inexpensive, segmented display panels suitable for a range of applications from consumer electrical & electronic devices, automotive, point or sale advertising & industrial keypads. Design LED aims to become the world leader in printed light products technology in a wide range of markets including consumer electronics, automotive, industrial and point of sale. More than 50 billion LEDs are sold every year into products and Design LED has the opportunity to both displace existing solutions and enable a new generation of products.

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