As more instrument panels utilize liquid crystal display (LCD) technology, new challenges are cropping up in the visibility and screen protection of these displays. Especially in a marine environment where sea salt can mar the LCD surface and sunlight can diminish readability. Many captains also wear polarized sunglasses which make some LCD displays of GPS chart plotters, fishfinders or controllers look distorted or become invisible.
This was the challenge that the RG Group faced when they wanted to install the IQAN-MD3 master display from Parker Hannifin on Viking 82 Sport Fishing Yachts. The display was supposed to be mounted on the flybridge panel and provide steering information to the captain. The IQAN display is designed to withstand aggressive outdoor conditions including EMI, vibrations, and a wide temperature range. However, the display screen’s visibility was greatly reduced when exposed to sunlight and totally invisible when viewed through polarized sunglasses.
“We wanted to use the Parker display, but the visibility problem did not pass Viking’s rigorous quality control stipulations” according to Kevin Delaney, Vice President of Sales for RG Group, a leader in marine hydraulic products and services. That’s when they turned to NuShield for the solution to the sun glare issue. The NuShield DayVue anti-reflective overlay film has built-in properties that minimize sun glare, eliminate eye-damaging UV rays, and negate problems created by the polarization of sunglasses. By completely covering the screen, the DayVue film also protects the LCD from exposure to sea air and any damage from seawater or salt. The film is installed by placing a slight rubberized tacky backing over the LCD surface.
The DayVue film, only 6 mils thick, has been created as an inexpensive alternative to successfully overcome sun glare problems on many GPS devices, car navigation screens, laptops, and cell phones. According to Dr. Mark Ross, Vice President of Technology at NuShield, “the coating cancels out the reflected light from the top surface and allows the transmitted light through from the display. The process also negates any embedded polarization so that wearers of polarized glasses can view the screen clearly without having to tilt their heads or removing their glasses.”
Once the NuShield film was approved by the RG Group, the MD3 display with the installed DayVue protection film was sent to Viking for their approval. Eric Metz, Mechanical Engineer at Viking Yachts, tested the modified MD3 display and concluded that it worked quite well. “Everyone around me was chuckling that the fix couldn’t be that easy. But when they saw it with their own eyes they were just as pleasantly surprised as I was.” After a number of further tests, Viking Yachts gave the RG Group the go-ahead to install the modified MD3 with the NuShield screen protector. Currently, there are eleven Viking 82 Sport Fishing Yachts in service utilizing the MD3 with the NuShield screen protector and no complaints from owners. Because the NuShield film has a long life span it will not be necessary to replace the film for at least a year.
Since the Viking trial has been a success NuShield decided to make the film available to boaters using Eagle, Garmin, Humminbird, Lowrance, Navman, Raymarine, and Simrad fishfinders, chart plotters, and other GPS devices. The DayVue film is available in sizes up to 31 inches diagonal. The NuShield website, nushield.com, provides additional information about the DayVue technology and you can learn more about the different applications for NuShield screen protector films.