PORTLAND, Ore.—A lifetime supply of liquid-crystal displays (LCDs) is being guaranteed to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) by Kyocera Corp., which recently extended its acquisition of LCD and touchscreen suppliers by purchasing Optrex Corp.
Last year, Kyocera (Kyoto, Japan) acquired Sony's small- and medium-sized LCD fab, and last week it added Optrex (Tokyo) to its manufacturing base for OEM displays and touchscreens. Optrex specializes in ruggedized displays for industrial, automotive, medical, telecommunications and appliances.
As Kyocera integrates this new capacity into its thin-film components group, thereby extending its growing array of industrial quality displays and touchscreens, the company is also extending to OEMs, regardless of size, a guarantee that they will have a supply of displays indefinitely.
"We have customers who only order a few hundred LCDs per year, and others who order thousands of units per month, but at Kyocera, it does not matter how big a customer you are, you are still guaranteed a supply of displays for as long as your end-user product is being manufactured," said Joe Maurer, a marketing manager at Kyocera.
The guarantee is especially important to OEMs with long-lived product lines, such as expensive medical instruments used at hospitals, which are often designed to last for decades. Utility meters and many industrial applications also require guaranteed supplies of critical components like displays, in order to maintain end-user equipment designed to last 15 years or more.
Kyocera specializes in small- to medium-sized LCD display for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
I have been there and displays are a moving target, they change all the time, either because marketing needs higher specs, or because supplies dry up. Kyo are removing half that problem, fair play to them.
Many distis for, say, NEC will hold stocks for long-term customers, as long as you know the demand you can reserve buffer stocks paid for by the disiti, you or your customer. Kyo allow you to shorten that pipeline, and also to support customers who will not commit to known forward order quantities of the finished goods.
Of course industrial long-lifetime LCDs cost a lot more than consumer, no brain required.
It's great to see that a manufacturer knows enough about their own supply line and their customer base to be able make such a guarantee. I remember a few years ago trying to replace an obsolete 16x2 standard character display. Uh, did I say standard? Nix that word. There were enough subtle differences in the character set, dimensions of the bezel (and especially the height) as well as other factors, which included being able to pass an ESD test, that finding a replacement turned into quite the exercise! A lifetime guarantee on the original display would have been pretty nice.
I think the biggest thing that Kyocera gets from this commitment is trusted vendor status which translates into orders. When a product must be taken out of production (or cannot be repaired) because of the lack of availability of a component both the manufacturer and the end use suffer. Of course there is still the issue of warranty support after manufacturing production ends...
This has always been an issue. When designing new products, we have to think about the life cycle and how long we need to have access to the parts we pick. The automotive industry guarantees 10 years for replacement parts. It is very difficult for many industries to make that long of a guarantee. Of course, I still want to find some vacuum tubes in case my stereo stops working...
Interesting approach. What does Kyocera get out of this approach? Higher OEM pricing? Presumably this means that their not extending this into mobile consumer areas. I guess it's easier to make this offer as long as the pricing remains undefined...
I had often wondered what to do about replacement displays. Low-tech solutions were always available, but in my designs, the utility of British-flag displays is limited. Knowing that a particular LCD will be around for an extended period is a great boon; Kyocera will be on my list as we evolve our designs.
The big boys can always make a purchase sufficient to their anticipated needs, but not so for those of us who build 100 units in a year. It's a real issue when we have to look down the road at decade-old installations and wonder just what the cost of maintaining an instrument will be. Bravo Kyocera!
This is a nice offer among the day-to-day problems related to part obsolescence in the world of electronics! Also, good to see that volume doesn't matter. Kyocera could be the choice for LCD displays for many industrial equipment manufacturers to get rid of obsolescence related headaches.
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