SCHOTT solutions no. 2/2011 > Touch Panels

The ultra-strong display glass SCHOTT Xensation® Cover makes touch panels even more resistant. Photo: SCHOTT/J. Meyer

Strong Beyond Comparison

The ultra-strong display glass SCHOTT Xensation® Cover makes touch panels even more resistant.

Alexandra Meinhardt

Hardly a day goes by when even the daily papers don’t report on them: smartphones and tablet PCs that feature touch functions are the new darlings of our electronic world. Current forecasts, like the one published by the U.S. market research firm IDC, for instance, predict that the global market for smartphones will grow by 55 percent to reach 472 million units in 2011. This figure is expected to rise to nearly a billion by 2015.
Photo: SCHOTT/J. Meyer
As one would expect, the fight over customers’ patronage is quite fierce and takes place at various levels. As a supplier to the fast-growing touch panel market, SCHOTT has now decided to join the race by launching a new glass from its family of cover and touch technologies. SCHOTT Xensation® Cover features extremely high strength and durability and thus protects the touchscreens of smartphones and tablet PCs from scratches and breakage.

This floated aluminosilicate glass has already proven its qualities in internal standard tests. With a compressive strength of more than 900 megapascals, it shows significantly higher bending strength. In a ball drop test, it has also demonstrated greater resistance than comparable glasses currently available on the market. In fact, this cover glass is up to 20 percent harder under the same tempering conditions. If processing is set to normal market values, touch panel manufacturers are able to reduce processing time for the first time, and thus save money.

These advantages have also been confirmed in external tests performed by processing companies in the ”cover & touch” industry. ”As soon as we have completed the evaluation phase, this glass will fit seamlessly into existing standard manufacturing processes without any modifications. To ensure smooth process integration, we also offer expertise and technical support along the entire supply chain as part of our Cover & Touch Center of Excellence,” emphasizes Dr. Jochen Alkemper, who works in material development at SCHOTT.
Prof. Udo Ungeheuer, Chairman of the Board of Management of SCHOTT AG, and the SCHOTT Xensation® model presented the new product at a press conference held in Jena. Photo: SCHOTT/J. Meyer
This is an advantage that should not be underestimated because manufacturing a cell phone requires well over 100 different steps. The glass used in touch panels is processed using a meticulously defined and strictly controlled process. Any change takes even more time and incurs additional costs. The goal is to avoid this, especially considering the fierce competition and short model life of today’s mobile devices.

SCHOTT has developed a wealth of expertise in this respect. After all, the company is currently the only manufacturer that offers special glass products for use in all types of cover and touch technologies under its umbrella brand Xensation®. This is of advantage for yet another reason: Apple is not the only company making products responsible for the double digit growth rates projected for the touch panel market in the years to come. The designs of future operating systems for computers like Windows 8 that you will be able to operate mainly by using your finger suggest that the best of times for all types of touchscreens are yet to come. <|