Touch screen technology has been with us since the early 1970s and have become increasingly popular in recent years with the advent of mobile phones and pocket computer systems.

Touchscreens are now everywhere with ATMs, ticket machines and information points utilizing them. They are a key asset in industrial computing too as touch screen monitors offer certain advantages over conventional computer screens.

The most obvious advantage of touchscreen monitors is that they act as both an input and output device. Using a graphical user interface (GUI) there is no need for a separate monitor, keyboard and mouse as the touch screen monitor acts as all three.

In industrial applications, touch screen monitors also have the advantage of being more robust than a conventional CRT (cathode ray tube) or LCD monitor. Touchscreens are often built with durability in mind and many are resistant to industrial contaminants such as water, dirt, oil and grease.

Many touchscreen monitors boast IP65 and NEMA 4 ratings allowing the monitors to be washed-down and protected against, electrical surges, physical impact, temperature extremes, theft, tampering and airborne debris.

Touchscreen monitors can also reduce the size of a computer system, without separate peripherals and all those wires, they can also be mounted on walls or on the back of machines.

They can also be house in industrial computer enclosures – these afford added protection from spillages, knocks, bangs and even explosive atmospheres. Many touchscreen devices are used where standard computer equipment is just not practical such as when a machine is positioned outside or left unattended.

There are different technologies behind touch screen monitors such as resistive touchscreens, capacitive systems, infrared and surface acoustic wave technology. The types of touchscreen
Differ in their efficiency at reading a touch and the clarity of the monitor. Some of the systems are also more susceptible to scratches and contaminants.

In selecting a touchscreen the most important things to remember is where the screen will be placed, what applications it will be used for, how durable does it need to be and how clear or bright does the monitor have to be.

Richard N Williams is a technical author and a specialist in the industrial computer industry helping to develop industrial computer enclosures and protection for all environments. Please visit us for more information about industrial touch screen monitors or other industrial monitors.