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Comparison of OLED and LCD displays in industrial applications

Comparison of OLED and LCD displays in industrial applications

Choosing a display for industrial applications is not an easy task, given the multitude of technologies and models available on the market. Today we will take a look at LCD displays, which have been used in industry for decades, and OLED displays, which are tentatively but proudly entering factory showrooms. What makes them different? Which are more economical? Let’s compare! OLED vs. LCD in the industry – who will win this duel?

Key differences between OLED and LCD. What to choose for your industrial application?

The main difference between OLED and LCD displays lies in the way the image is displayed. LCD displays work by blocking or transmitting the light emitted from the backlight with liquid crystals sandwiched between two polarizers. This means that they cannot display true deep blacks, because light always penetrates the screen to some extent. OLED displays, on the other hand, generate images by directly emitting light through organic light-emitting diodes, which makes it possible to achieve deep blacks and high contrast, since each individual pixel can work (or not) independently of the others. The method of image generation by LCD and OLED displays outlined above entails further differences, such as:

  • contrast – OLED displays allow better contrast,
  • brightness – LCD displays guarantee higher brightness due to backlighting,
  • viewing angles – OLED displays are readable regardless of the angle at which the screen is viewed, while LCD displays retain this readability only up to a certain point (they have smaller viewing angles),
  • Longevity – LCD displays can be used intensively for 7 years without loss of display quality, while OLED displays are prone to image burn-in, and their lifespan is still being tested (currently estimated to last about 10 years),
  • black level – here the OLED display wins unquestionably, which allows for deep and crisp blacks,
  • Readability in sunlight – both types of displays offer good readability in bright sunlight, although LCD screens have some advantage,
  • Price – OLED displays are more expensive, but we’ll come back to this topic.

The choice of display for industrial applications should be tailored to the needs of the application with which it is to work. It is worth taking into account not only the above-mentioned differences between the technologies presented, but also the nature of the devices’ work, the investor’s expectations of their functionality and budget constraints . The operating environment of the display, which we will discuss in more detail in a moment, is also not insignificant.

The impact of environmental conditions on the choice between OLED and LCD in industry.

Equipment used in industry must be designed to operate in harsh environments. Here we mean, among other things. high and low air temperature, high humidity, and exposure of the display to pollen, vibration or electromagnetism. How do OLED and LCD displays handle such challenges?

As for the operating temperature range, both technologies are capable of operating in both cold (down to -40ºC) and hot operating environments (above 80ºC). It is worth noting, however, that LCD displays fare a little better in this regard, as extremely low and high temperatures do not have a negative impact on their life and performance. OLED displays endure exposure to high air temperature less well, as it can accelerate their aging, leading to a gradual loss of quality of the displayed image.

Both OLED and LCD displays have some limitations when it comes to operating in elevated humidity conditions, but they respond differently to this factor. Due to the way they are constructed, LCD screens are considered more airtight, making it more difficult for dust and moisture to enter the device. An OLED screen is more susceptible to the degrading effects of moisture and requires additional protective measures to ensure its long-term performance and lifespan in humid conditions. Dusting the surface of an OLED display usually does not directly affect its functioning. Problems can occur, however, if dust gets inside the device and settles on electronic components. In such cases, the display may malfunction or even damage the electronics.

Cost analysis. Is OLED or LCD more cost-effective in the long run?

Time for a brief analysis of OLED/LCD costs in the industry. OLED displays are a kind of novelty on the market, and are therefore more expensive to purchase. Due to the fact that it is an “eco-friendly” technology, in the long run we can expect savings associated with the daily operation of such a screen. OLED has no backlight, so it consumes less power, offering excellent image quality. On the other hand, it is a display prone to image burn-in, so over the years, it may require more frequent replacement.

LCD displays, on the other hand, are among the cheapest on the market and less prone to damage than OLED screens. Although they use more electricity, they are less likely to need repair or replacement. Considering only the economic aspect, it can be said that LCD displays are cheaper – both to buy and to operate. In addition, it is a technology that has been on our market for years, so it is compatible with most industrial applications, which limits the costs associated with the implementation of new technological solutions.


OLED and LCD use cases. Where does each technology perform best?

Now let’s look at OLED/LCD use cases in industry. The latest technology, or OLED, will work best:

  • In applications where excellent display quality is required (deep blacks, crisp colors, high contrast),
  • in mobile devices, due to electricity savings, resulting in better battery performance,
  • in innovative projects that require a high degree of conceptual flexibility (e.g., the use of curved or flexible screens).

LED displays, on the other hand, are recommended:

  • For long-term display of static images,
  • For industrial applications with limited budgets,
  • For work in extremely harsh conditions,
  • To external devices.

Both OLED and LCD displays for industrial applications are available in our Unisystem online store. We will be happy to help you choose a screen that will be the perfect complement to your industrial application.

The future of displays in the industry. Will OLED replace LCD?

The future of industrial displays is not necessarily based on the replacement of LCD technology by OLED, but rather on the evolution and coexistence of the two technologies, which will continue to evolve to better meet the specific requirements of various industrial applications. OLED undoubtedly has many advantages, but LCD technology still remains competitive with it due to its durability, reliability and well-established market position.

In the future, we can expect both technologies to evolve to solve their limitations. For example, in OLEDs, R&D will focus on increasing image life and burn-in resistance, and in LCDs on improving contrast and blacks. In addition, the development of new display technologies such as MicroLEDs, which promise to combine the advantages of OLEDs (high contrast, good image response) and LCDs (long life, resistance to outdoor conditions) may also influence the choice of solutions in the industry.

In conclusion, the OLED versus LCD duel can hardly be considered settled in favor of one of the technologies presented today. Consider that both go head to head.


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