PixelFLEX Joins Chinese Rivals In Offering Hardened Fine Pitch LED Displays

March 14, 2019 by Dave Haynes

Nashville-based LED displayco PixelFLEX appears to be among the first companies outside of China to start actively marketing fine pitch LED product that has a protective coating that reduces the risk of damage and, with that, repair costs.

The company says its new FLEXUltra with PixelShield addresses a well-established industry pain point.  “Historically, these types of displays have been extremely fragile with high failure rates due to the damaging of pixels,” says CMO David Venus. “With our new PixelShield protective technology, we are not only preventing the fragile nature of these displays, but we are ultimately enhancing the longevity of the ultra fine pixel pitch display market as well.”

Says a press release:

Utilizing the impact and scratch resistant COB PixelShield™ technology, FLEXUltra is designed in a convenient 16:9 ratio and has a 160° horizontal and vertical viewing angle. With fully font-serviceable panels for quick and easy onsite installation and maintenance, FLEXUltra operates with a 3840Hz refresh rate to eliminate on-camera scan lines and flicker, and is available in 0.9mm, 1.2mm, 1.6mm and 1.9mm pixel pitch options.

COB means Chip On Board, a different manufacturing process from how most indoor LED displays are made. It is among several industry terms that get applied in different ways, like micro and mini LED. I couldn’t find anything in the materials that went into whether this is indeed COB, other than a PR reference to it being “true COB technology.”

But in the product spec sheet, it clearly says it is 3 in 1 SMD, and Surface Mounted Device LED tech is not COB. Hmmm.

The company website suggests the coating is added to this display series. Assuming the lower right part of the image above is the coated part, it is quite different looking from what I have previously seen. More typically, the end result are modules that look like smooth, matte or glossy wall tiles.

I don’t know what more it costs, but do know field repair costs can be very high for repairing and replacing damaged LED chips, and fine pitch LEDs that are in retail and public space environments are GOING TO get bumped and scraped, willfully or by accident.

As I have written about several times in the past year, these hardened LEDs are likely the way the industry will go. I first saw what is starting to be referred to as Glue On Board hardened LED modules in Shenzhen, when I was there in Fall 2017.

I saw a few products using it at ISE 2018, and many by ISE 2018. Leyard, the big dog in LED, has a hardened product now, so it is getting mainstreamed.

Sam Phenix of Leyard/Planar gets into it in this recent 16:9 podcast.

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