This article examines the printing processes and production methods that are suitable for the manufacture of information-display applications.
The modern world could not function without the devices, vehicles, and machinery that require instrument panels, gauges, and dials. From power plants to planes, trains, and automobiles, our world needs an interface that communicates information to a user. That interface is most likely a dial, gauge, or instrument-panel cluster (Figure 1).
What qualifies as a dial or gauge?
All sorts of products, from single-purpose instruments to complex machines, require interfaces that quickly and efficiently convey information from the device to the user or operator. This information runs the gamut from internal data, such as power level or engine temperature, to external data, such as positioning, speed, or temperature. Manufacturers create metal dials or gauges—or their more modern equivalents, such as an instrument-panel (IP) cluster—to convey this information
In addition to mechanical options, like metal dials and gauges, newer digital display alternatives, such as touchscreens, are gaining popularity. An industrial printer needs to offer wide-ranging capabilities for both analog and digital displays to match manufacturing options for form and functionality needed for each part.
Industries, especially those that require precise measurement for high performance, require reliability. And when it comes to gauge, dial, or IP cluster production, this demands precision with tight tolerances and repeatable manufacturing processes.
Many product uses require specialized capabilities for their instrumentation, including the durability to work in unfavorable environmental conditions or to withstand harsh chemicals or the possibility of physical damage, like abrasions.
Who uses instrumentation?
The changing demographics in the industrialized world are a driving factor in the growth of the healthcare industry, and there are many medical products that require gauges and dials. From familiar devices, such as the thermometer, blood-pressure gauge, and syringe, to more advanced devices, including infusion pumps, defibrillators, and diabetic-monitoring devices, all require precise indicators to deliver data to the end user.
Private aviation, commercial air travel, airfreight, and military aviation all require complex machinery. The support staffs on the ground that prepare a plane, drone, or rocket and monitor its progress to ensure a safe and successful flight or mission rely on instrumentation to perform their jobs. The cockpit of a modern airplane is filled with displays, dials, and levers, which all have an impact on the plane’s flight. All of these devices require precision-crafted instrumentation.
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