The ever increasing popularity of touch screen devices in many commercial applications, from point of sale to health care, has opened up a range of opportunities for the Bristol based BOM Group, a specialist developer of IT and POS solutions, working in conjunction with global films manufacturer MacDermid Autotype.
Tuffscreen was initially developed in response to a problem that one of BOM Group Ltd's affiliates was experiencing. Broken or cracked screens on devices used on board aircraft for duty free sales were causing numerous operational difficulties, as well as proving costly both in terms of repair and unit down-time. Rather than fitting very expensive reinforced screens or casings, BOM Group came up with Tuffscreen, designed to offer vastly improved scratch and impact protection for the screens of a wide range of devices.
This clever solution relies on the well-known Autoflex EB hardcoated polyester film by MacDermid Autotype. This film combines excellent optical clarity with a tough, abrasion and impact resistant outer surface. The secret, as explained by Tuffscreen's Head of Business Development, Tristan Fowler, is about the combination of materials used; "Autoflex EB is adhered onto a clear formula gel layer, creating a multi-layer protector that offers enhanced scratch and impact resistance the gel layer acts in effect as a cushion."
Sheets are laser cut for maximum precision and are available in a variety of sizes currently up to a standard laptop screen, though larger sizes to be used, for example, over flat screen TVs located in public places are also in development. "Because there is minimal effect on either visual clarity or tactile response, Tuffscreen can be used effectively even in demanding applications and hostile environments like TVs and game consoles, in-vehicle display systems, warehousing and logistics facilities, and so on", adds Tristan Fowler.
Thanks to the inherent properties of Autoflex EB, Tuffscreen can withstand not only abrasion, but is also chemically resistant to many solvents and cleaners. This can save companies large amounts of money in the event of accidental spillages and makes the product ideal for use in environments such as power and petrol stations and large distribution centres.
An antimicrobial version of Tuffscreen is currently under development, using Autotex AM from MacDermid Autotype. Tristan Fowler says, "We are working closely with a provider of mobile technology to the Scottish Health Authority as they have ordered a large number of tablet PCs for their healthcare professionals. An effective antimicrobial barrier like the one we would be able to provide with Tuffscreen AM could make a real difference in the fight against hospital acquired infections when these new devices are eventually in use."