Up to date heavy-duty equipment cabs come equipped with full color, touch screen displays showing a variety of gages and indicator icons. OEMs are shifting technology from the traditional instrument panels with a plastic frame and housing and several gages and indicator lights to easy to use and interpret display screens that are helping to increase equipment productivity. Like all technologies, there are many factors that drive change.
Dial gages have many components to make them work; overlays, needles, stepper motors, etc. These components and the subsequent labor required to assemble have driven up the cost for traditional dial gages. Meanwhile, the cost of a good resolution, full-color LCD display has come down in price. Displays have relatively few components and generally require less labor to assemble than a series of dial gages, making them an attractive alternative to traditional dial gauge clusters.
To customize a dial gage, several components usually need to be modified, which typically results in an additional cost for customization and production support. A single base part number display screen is freely programmable and can be customized with software to show many gages or icons on the screen. Having more than one screen, allows more information to be made available to the operator.
And, the display can be customized to show details only when the operator needs it or requests it. For example, the DEF tank level on a diesel engine doesn’t need to display its level on a continuous basis. However, if the fluid level is low, the operator should be alerted and the gage showing the level of the fluid in the tank can appear on the screen. This “instant on” capability of virtual gages allows a vast number of possible of gages and indictor icons to be shown.
With dial gages, when an operator preferred to view the data in a specified language, a new dial gage overlay was used. But, now with digital displays, the language and the units for the gages and indicators can also be more easily customized.
Original equipment manufacturers can customize the screens, gages, logos, and colors for certain OEMs. And, this is managed in the display’s software. So, there is only the need for one part number for the hardware, only one part number needs to be inventoried, maintained, and procured. This helps OEMs manage the indirect costs of handling multiple variants of similar parts, while still providing a custom look and feel to their customers.
As the shift towards freely programmable displays continues, more OEMs will adopt screens, in place of dial gages. Not only will this help drive down costs and increase operator productivity, but it will also offer OEMs the ability to add value to their customers through custom virtual dashboards. In order to help OEMs, respond to this shift in technology, Parker has launched a new line of PHD displays designed for mobile equipment that offers up to date features, capabilities, and ease of programming at a competitive price point.
Visit www.parker.com/phd to learn more.
Article contributed by Kirk Lola, product manager, Electronic Controls Division, Parker Hannifin Corporation.