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Screenvision, a provider of display and touch-screen technology, is using Projected Capacitive Technology (PCT)-based touch sensor products from Zytronic on an upgrade project for one of its clients.

Zytronic’s Zyfilm sensors have been chosen to bring touch functionality to the retail store windows of a South African mobile communications operator.

Located in shopping malls, these terminals allow subscribers to access their account, make billing enquiries, look at new products and services on offer and even check progress on the repair of a handset – all via a display mounted behind the window and accessible even when the store is closed.

In addition to these customer service functions, the units also act as interactive digital signage displays, gathering real-time marketing data on customer preferences at specific locations, times and days.

Zyfilm employs the same proprietary PCT sensing mechanism utilised in all of Zytronic’s touch sensor products.

This consists of a matrix of micro-fine copper capacitor elements arranged in an XY grid.

These detect touch through tiny changes in the capacitance level.

What differentiates it from the glass-based sensors in the company’s range is that it is supplied as a flexible polyester film measuring approximately 0.5mm in thickness.

This allows the sensor to be mounted to the rear surface of a rigid transparent material – such as glass or plastic – then operated by touching the material’s front surface.

In common with all PCT sensors, the active components are not in direct contact with the outside world.

The sensor is well protected against scratches, dirt, harsh weather conditions, strong cleaning fluids and other types of impairment that can shorten the functional duration of alternative touch solutions based on traditional front-facing technologies, such as resistive, surface capacitive, infrared and surface acoustic wave (SAW).

David Grant, Screenvision’s technical director, said: ‘With the previous generation of terminals, which used touch sensors from another supplier, the solar heat incident on the display/touch screen often caused slipping from the adhesive bonding.

‘This had a serious impact on operational integrity, with regular recalibration of the touch settings needing to be carried out, sometimes on a daily basis.

‘By utilising Zyfilm, the touch sensor could be directly cling-film laminated onto the inside of the store window, with a freestanding display.

‘Correctly applied to the inside of the store window, Zyfilm shows no sign of movement or slipping after more than 18 months of continued service,’ he added.

Ian Crosby, Zytronic’s sales and marketing director, said: ‘As Zyfilm has an integrated adhesive film front face, it can be quickly attached to store windows in a single step, reducing installation time and the risk of costly maintenance call-outs for reapplication.

‘The adhesive front film can be either a cling-film type to enable easy removal after completion of a temporary promotion or a semi-permanent and optically clear adhesive type allowing longer deployments,’ he added.

Supporting display formats of up to 30in (76cm) in size, Zyfilm is suitable for a variety of end applications, including curved displays and interactive retail window advertising.

Since the elements that make up the sensor matrix measure 10 microns in diameter, they are virtually invisible when the display is in operation.

As a result, the light output of the display is almost unaffected by the inclusion of the touch sensor.

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