Display protection - a comprehensive explanation and overview

What you need to know about display protection

What is a display film and why is it advantageous?

Display protection films are specially manufactured films that are designed to protect the touch screen as a protective layer from time to time even at the factory. They can also be subsequently produced and applied in a suitable form using various manufacturing processes. The task of a display protection film, one also speaks of display film, touch film, touch screen film or also touch protection film (to date no generally valid designation has been established) is the efficient protection of the device display against display damage, such as scratches and scratches, up to the prevention of display breakage. In addition, display films protect against chemicals such as cleaning agents or disinfectants, dirt and grease.

Scratched display of a MDE device of a parcel carrier

Protective effect Display protection

The display of the mobile phone is one of the most battered elements. Especially in case of falls or shocks, the screen is rapidly defective or scratched and the function is therefore impaired or even completely impossible. A display film has a protective effect to protect the screen from external influences, especially scratches. It thus ensures that the mobile phone remains usable for a long time. Coins, keys or other hard sharp objects, such as sand, zippers can scratch a smartphone monitor. If the phone falls on the road, the screen can even jump. This is not only annoying, but a display repair can sometimes be very salty. Everybody knows the mobile phone Spiderapp! Additional protection with a Neoxum Antireflex Film or transparent display foil is therefore highly recommended.

Broken cell phone display

A broken screen, for example, makes a mobile phone or a digital camera completely unsuitable. An expensive repair is surely the consequence, if not even a new acquisition is sometimes the economically more reasonable problem solution. Without question extremely annoying and expensive and in the case of a total loss also ecologically not particularly useful, since

  1. the waste equipment accumulates as electronic scrap
  2. the disposal of electrical equipment, which is still not solved reliably.

The preventive protection of expensive utensils with professional display protection from Neoxum is better and significantly more cost-effective.
In principle, there are two substantially different types of display protection. Flexible display protection that protects touch screens from scratches and damage and rigid pure glass diplay protection.

Higher sales value of used equipment

When concluding a smartphone contract with a standard term of 2 to 4 years, a brand new mobile phone is usually included. If the existing contract is extended, you often receive a brand-new smartphone. The former telephone is no longer needed and sold. Macken, especially on the screen, reduce the resale value. With the help of high-quality display protection from Neoxum, as display protection film, anti-reflecting OnScreen Hybrid glass or crystal clear OnScreenhybrid glass, the display or display glass remains uninjured and one achieves a better sales value.

Quality Display Protection

Surface hardness, material thickness, transparency and also the sensitivity change of the sensor screen are decisive for the quality of a display protection film. The harder the display protection film, the more resistant it is to scratches. As a rule, the degree of hardness of the surface of the display protector is indicated in pencil hardness H. But elasticity also plays an important role: we know this phenomenon from nature. Trees sway in the storm and give in to the power of the wind. Even in powerful storms, healthy trees generally resist the forces of nature by giving way to elasticity and adaptability.

Bamboo and protection of displays - an analogy

A plastic prime example are the Asian breathtaking scaffolds made of bamboo. The natural material (bamboo is a grass!) is enormously flexible and elastic and yet very strong. With the help of bamboo scaffolds whole high-rise buildings are built. Rigid steel frameworks, on the other hand, can only withstand the forces to a certain extent until they undoubtedly break. Only the movable bamboo scaffolds are so resistant that they can withstand the enormous loads. The modulus of elasticity is responsible for this extraordinary characteristic.

And what does all this have to do with display protection?

Rigid display protection made of glass (tempered glass) certainly has an extremely hard surface to protect the screen against scratches. Nowadays the so-called bulletproof glass is very popular (bulletproof glass, real glass or hard glass protection, tempered glass). This item is real glass. Bulletproof glass is also often referred to as pure protective glass, shock-resistant display protective glass or anti-shock protective glass. Sometimes it is advisable to question this advertised dampening feature. In the case of a sudden force (an impulse), for example a fall or a pointed object with a point load, a blow or impact with a screwdriver or the like (the device falls with the display on a hard floor), display protection made of pure glass breaks quite quickly. Unfortunately, small pointed and sharp-edged splinters often occur, which represent a not inconsiderable risk of injury.

Display protection for industrial quality requirements

Especially in the field of industrial display protection, bulletproof glass or also bulletproof glass, flexoglass, called protective glass, has not established itself because occupational safety plays an extremely important role here. Neoxum offers the solution with hybridOnScreen glass: the hybrid material has a surface as hard as glass with 7H and yet is as flexible as a display film. The fusion of glass with an intermediate layer of protective film does not break and behaves more like safety glass or laminated glass.
Obviously, the protective films available on the market for touch screens differ in their quality. An inferior film will not withstand sharp-edged objects.

For example, display protection films, bulletproof glass and hybrid glass are currently used successfully in the following commercial segments:

  • Clinics, hospitals, nursing homes and universities, which have to protect and disinfect the displays of medical and veterinary examination equipment and patient displays, and which have to antireflect and antirefuse them
  • Public transport companies that use display protection films or glass-hard display protection on conductor equipment, ticket vending machines, ticket vending machines and info terminals in order to protect them from wear and tear and destruction.
  • Agricultural machines such as combine harvesters, tractors, milk milking machines, which are now operated with touch functionality on control panels.
  • Touch panels on CNC milling machines, lasers, NC controlled punching machines,

Adhesion Display protection by means of adhesion

Adhesion force on smooth surfaces

High-quality display protection in general and display protection made of glass, e.g. OnScreen hybrid glass adheres purely to the display surface with the aid of adhesive force. With the help of forces in the nanometer range, without the use of adhesives, an extraordinarily strong adhesive effect is achieved, which completely prevents slipping or falling. At the same time, adhesive films and hybrid OnScreenglass can be easily removed from a display without leaving any residue. In this case you only have to pull up the display protector at one corner with a fingernail and then remove it diagonally backwards. The relation between the holding force and the forces required to remove it can practically be imagined as follows. If two flat glass plates are placed directly on top of each other, the air gap between these two is completely displaced. The surrounding air pressure presses the plates enormously against each other. If you want to separate the two, you can't do that with human strength. If one uses a trick and pushes the plates apart, the splitting succeeds however very easily.

Physical chemical forces

Several factors play an important role in the adhesion of high-quality display protection to screen surfaces by means of adhesion. Adhesion is a decisive phenomenon in the molecular range, which occurs through polar interactions at interfaces, in our case the interface display surface <->silicone adhesive layer of the display protection. Especially so-called Van-der-Waals bonds in the area of molecules of the screen surface and molecules of the adhesion layer (the very thin silicone adhesive layer) are responsible for the strong adhesion on smooth surfaces. The decisive factor of adhesion is the spatial proximity of the two surfaces. The silicone adhesive layer of the Neoxum display protector or surface protection is designed in such a way that Neoxum display films, as well as the OnScreenhybrid glass, adhere extremely well to numerous smooth materials such as plastic, metal and glass. The adhesion film and the hybrid glass can be removed from all materials without leaving any residue.

Structure of a display foil

Display protection films consist of different layers, which are specially designed for their purpose. A silicone adhesive layer enables the adhesive effect on the screen surface. A simple and bubble-free installation is indispensable. The essential protective layer, made of PET high-performance film, pure glass (= very brittle, risk of breakage) or a hybrid material of glass-hard surface and elastic special polymer (=OnScreen ® Hybrid Glass) ensures that the monitor is protected from damage. The operation of the touch display is not restricted by the additional powerful protective layer. Even displays made of tempered glass (often referred to as gorilla glass, bulletproof glass or bulletproof glass) are not insensitive to scratch marks or other signs of wear when they are maltreated with very hard objects. The following is a brief excursion into the evaluation of surface hardness grades.

Transparent transparent and anti-reflective display protection

Transparent display protection

In a completely crystal clear version, the display protection is virtually invisible. The clear display protection protects the display like a second skin. Colors are reproduced true to life. The transparent protection of the display is no longer perceived with high-quality products. In most cases, the untrained eye does not recognize at all that there is a transparent protective film on the display. The property of the touch screen does not influence the film in any way. The touch-sensitive touch function also works as it should with the applied protective foil. neoxum ultra clear display protection films are coated with a repellent anti-fingerprint layer that noticeably reduces unsightly fingerprints.

Anti-reflective display protection

As Anti-Reflex Display Protection reflections on the display surface are efficiently reduced: The screen is anti-reflective and protected from damage by the extra protective layer. The anti-reflective surface ensures excellent service in bright environments, especially when working outdoors. The display is much easier to read. No more annoying and obstructive reflections.

How hard is display protection really?

In the world of surface protection and display protection, the classification of how hard display protection is is given in Mohs' surface hardness grades measured. The following table lists the different hardnesses of the display protection surfaces and compares them with a naturally occurring material and an everyday object:

Hardness grades of materials

Hardness grade Has hard asDescription Degree of hardness
1Htalc Mg3[(OH)2/Si4O10]Material can be easily pressed in with a fingernail, film made of polypropylene or polyethylene
2HGypsum CaSO4*2H2OMaterial can just be pressed in with a fingernail
3HCalcite CaCO3 (Calcite)high-quality display protective film made of PET (polyethylene terephthalate)
4HFluorspar CaF2high-quality display film made of PET (polyethylene terephthalate)
5HApatite Ca5[(F,Cl,OH)/(PO4)2]plain window glass
6HFeldspar KAlSi3O8Material can be carved with a simple kitchen knife
7HQuartz SiO2as well as tempered glass, gorilla glass, bulletproof glass or OnScreenhybrid glass from Neoxum
8HTopaz Al2[F2/SiO4]
9HCorundum Al2O3as hard as sapphire crystal, e.g.: watch crystal for high-quality watches; jewellery
10HDiamond C (carbon modification)hardest well known material, diamond can only be ground or cut with diamond
Overview of hardness grades according to Mohs

As can be seen from the table above, statements such as diplay protection has 9H, must be taken with caution. Corundum or sapphire (an Al2O3 (aluminium oxide) doped with chromium (III); also known as ruby and colored pink to red) are extremely expensive and can only be applied as a very thin layer using special extremely expensive methods, e.g. PVD (physical vapor deposition) or CVD (chemical vapor deposition). A protective glass with a hardness of 9H for 5,99 EUR can therefore hardly equal the truth! Serious suppliers and manufacturers name 7H as hardness (see table above) for display protection made of glass or glass-hard display protection.

Curved Displays - 2D - 2.5D - 3D Protective Glass

In addition to the distinction between transparent and anti-reflective display films and protective layers made of glass or a glass-plastic composite (OnScreenhybrid glass), there are other differences that can be indicated with D specifications: 2D films only cover the monitor, 2.5D films also protect the screen edges of strongly curved displays, and 3D films extend beyond the screen.

Protective films applied by the device manufacturer

Factory-fitted protective films are usually made of polypropylene (PP) or PE (polyethylene) or PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and act more as transport protection films than as veritable display protection. This transport protection film, most of which is not cut to size, is intended to protect the screen from display damage during final assembly and packing. Once this functionality has been achieved, the particularly lightly adhesive protective film can be easily removed from the display after the device has been purchased. However, there are now exceptions where mainly mobile phone manufacturers pre-install good protective films on the monitors.

Cheap display films in a set

Display films are small useful aids against the damage of screens and sensitive surfaces. The protection of the display or screen of inexpensive display films usually consists of PE (polyethylene), PP (polypropylene) or PVC (polyvinyl chloride). The adhesive effect on surfaces is usually achieved by using adhesives (acrylates or modified acrylate adhesives) which are applied in very thin layers (usually less than 10-20 g of adhesive per square meter of film). Alternatively, if the protection of displays made of the materials mentioned above is already somewhat better, an adhesive silicone layer is used as the adhesive (adhesive, but not adhesive adhesive layer).

Low-cost thin protective films

All three inexpensive to very inexpensive display films have in common the fact that they are comparatively thin. As a rule, the thickness of inexpensive display foils does not exceed 60 microns, equivalent to 0.06 mm. In addition, protective films made of PE and PP are very soft and flexible. The result is that the sensitive polymer can be deformed very easily with a little bit of force (better: pressure = force per surface). If the applied force (e.g. a zipper scratches the thin protective film) exceeds a certain maximum value, which is very low with simple protective films, an object (key, pen, coin, ballpoint pen, rivet on jeans, stone, zipper, etc.) breaks through the thin polymer protective layer in no time. The display underneath will certainly be damaged. On top of that, inexpensive protective films defy horizontal shear forces marginally: they are extremely easy to wear out. During stretching, film material is thinned out until it breaks when the stretchability is exceeded. The low durability and resilience is the reason why cheap suppliers usually offer 3, 6, 9 or even 12 packs for little money. The protective films break relatively quickly and you have to replace them.

In Asia, simple display protection is mostly punched in multiple layers with punching dies contour. This can sometimes result in crushing at the cutting edges. This affects not only the fit, but also the adhesive layer. In the worst case, the inexpensive display protection film does not adhere to the edges of the touch display and stands off. Such display protection by no means satisfies industrial quality requirements. According to our advice, displays should be equipped with high-quality and professional display protection.

Insufficient surface hardness of inexpensive display protection films

The low surface hardness of the cheap films also very quickly leads to the surface of the inexpensive display film itself being noticeably scratched and accordingly hardly anything can be seen on the display.

Professional Display Protection

Professional display protection films normally consist of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) a polyester material. PET has outstanding optical properties, high tensile strength, an E-modulus of 4500 N-mm2 lengthwise and crosswise, i.e. with a material thickness of about 0.1-0.13 mm, which is qualified for professional screen protection, an extremely powerful and hard protection of the display is given. Sharp pointed objects cannot easily penetrate to the device display. The screen under the display protection is protected with a high degree of efficiency. Protective films made of high-quality PET are very resistant to chemicals. Furthermore, display protection films made of PET material are very temperature resistant. In our technical data sheet we have summarized the relevant features of Neoxum display films. Professional display films from Neoxum are used, for example, in the food industry or in the medical sector, where the displays have to be regularly disinfected to remove germs. The disinfection of the screens does not harm the touch displays at all due to the protection of the display foil or the on-screen hybrid glass. The surface of good display films has a surface hardness of 3H. Scratches on the protective film are unavoidable during massive and intensive use in industrial or commercial applications. However, professional display protection from Neoxum protects touch displays and displays from scratches, damage, chemicals, including cleaning agents, without even negatively changing the touch property.

Why is a good display protection fit indispensable?

High-quality display foils and OnScreenhybrid glass from Neoxum are produced in Germany on modern precision laser machines. The small recesses and cut-outs on the device display are different sensors of the device. For example, a smartphone has light sensors, proximity sensors, several camera lenses on modern smartphones, a microphone, loudspeaker outputs and a few more recesses. In order not to prevent the function even with a display protection, all cutouts for the detectors of the device are considered. This is particularly relevant for light and proximity sensors. The light-sensitive sensors regulate the automatic switch-off of the display during a telephone call and the automatic brightness control of the display.
For Neoxum display films as well as OnScreenhybrid glass, the measurements are always taken from the original device. As already explained, all sections of the dimensions are important. But also the dimensions have to be measured digitally. There are manufacturers who use dummy devices (without electronics, only device housing and display) for measurement. Nevertheless, there can be significant differences to the real display. With curved displays, Neoxum display protection products are cut with the laser so that neither the Neoxum protective film nor the Neoxum OnScreen Hybrid glass protrude beyond the edges. In principle, hybrid glass adheres even more strongly to the screen surface and is therefore very suitable for curved displays.
An adhesive layer of very thin silicone is responsible for the adhesive effect on the monitor surface. The adhesive effect is based on the physical principle of adhesion. The adhesive effect based on forces in the nanometer range has already been explained in more detail in another article.

Life cycle assessment Protection of displays

Avoidance of electronic scrap through high-quality display protection

As expected, high-quality display protection extends the service life of the device because the switching unit, the display, is well protected. Broken or broken screens inevitably lead to expensive repairs or even a complete replacement of the device. Often it is not worth it to repair the display for a lot of money, because new devices cost almost as much. As a result, broken displays or screens that have become unfit due to signs of use or a display defect are extremely unhealthy ecologically. Preventive display protection reduces the risk of display damage due to a massive impact, e.g. a break in the display. Scratches and damage to the monitor are avoided and in the event of a fall, the probability is significantly higher that a display equipped with a display protector will remain undamaged in the event of a collision with the floor. The Life Cycle Assessment is therefore better with display protection than without.

Plastic recycling of display films

Display foils on the other hand are made of plastic. Low-cost display films made of PP, PE or PVC are not particularly resistant and must therefore be replaced at regular intervals. This causes again and again avoidable plastic garbage. PP and PE can be recycled. Thermal recycling is also possible, with only water and carbon dioxide remaining. Nevertheless, we all produce far too much (cheap) plastic waste. Better are high-quality display films made of PET, which are very robust and hard-wearing. In addition, PET display films can be collected by type and recycled into beverage bottles, for example. PCV display films are the worst performers. PVC contains chloride (PVC = polyvinyl chloride) which reacts to toxic dioxins, furans and hydrochloric acid during thermal recycling (waste incineration).. PVC-polluted exhaust gases must therefore be decontaminated using complex processes. In the long run, it makes more sense to do without cheap PVC films.

Applying display protection to the display

Low dust environment

The most important rule when installing display foils or glass display protectors is to take some time and set up a low-dust environment. It is very easy to create an appropriate environment for yourself at home in the bathroom. Here the air tends to be humid after showering or bathing and there is usually little dust in the air. Optimum conditions for the assembly of display protection (except professional assembly in clean room conditions).

Cleaning the Touch Screen

How a protective film or bulletproof glass, hybrid glass or a glass foil is correctly applied to the respective device display should be explained in a detailed operating manual for high-quality display protection. The most important requirement is that the screen is free of grease and dust. Normally, branded products also come with a cleaning cloth as an addition. For this purpose Neoxum supplies a cloth soaked with screen cleaning liquid for display cleaning and a dry cloth for post-processing, both for Neoxum display foils and OnScreenhybrid glasses. A microfiber cloth alone is not so good for removing fingerprints or grease. Only equipped with a microfiber cloth, fingerprints are smeared on the display. In this case you should use a suitable screen cleaner liquid.
In addition, it is advisable to clean the display of dust with the enclosed cleaning accessories. Cheap microfiber cloths charge up statically, respectively the screen, and thus the display attracts even more dust particles. In such a case you should also use an antistatic screen cleaner to remove dust particles.

Individual steps in screen protector assembly

Does the display protection fit?

First, the display protection product, whether transparent or anti-reflective, is placed on the display to be protected to check its dimensional accuracy. Do all recesses fit? Are there recesses for camera, microphone, loudspeaker etc.? Does length and width fit? The carrier foil must not yet be removed!
IMPORTANT: Usually the display protector is cut a little bit smaller than the dimensions display edge to display edge to facilitate application. The display protection should be approx. 0.1-0.2 mm smaller than the display itself.

Partial removal of the carrier film

The next step is a partial (approx. 2-4 cm) removal of the Displas protection from the carrier film. Different manufacturers have developed more or less unproblematic methods to facilitate the removal of the actual display protection from the carrier film. All Neoxum products, display protection films as well as OnScreen hybrid glass are manufactured in the so-called Kiss-Cut process. All cut-outs are lasered as well. However, the outer outline is only lasered so deeply that the laser beam only cleanly cuts through the display protection material without also cutting through the underlying carrier film. The display protector can then be removed very easily like a label. It is important to ensure that the exposed silicone adhesive layer is touched as little as possible with your fingers.

Attaching the display protector

The silicone-coated adhesive side of the display protector is now placed on the cleaned, dust- and grease-free display surface at an angle of 30-45° above the thumb on one edge and the adhesive layer is carefully applied piece by piece to the surface. touchscreen applied. For a display protection larger than 15 inches diagonal, it is recommended to lay it on a long edge. At the same time, the carrier film is gradually removed. In this way, the display foil or display protection, which consists of glass, is applied to the surface without air pockets forming. Air inclusions can be removed with the thumbnail or a plastic card, e.g. EC card, towards the edge.
If, in spite of all caution, a dust particle has come between the screen surface and the display protection, the dust particle can easily be removed with a trick: To do this, cut off an approx. 5-7 cm long adhesive tape (e.g. from TESA or SCOTCH) and stick it to the display protection with only one half on the edge closest to the dust grain. At the other unglued end you can now lift the already attached display protector effortlessly. With a second adhesive strip, which was glued together to a ring with the adhesive side to the outside, the dust grain is now removed.

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OnScreen ® Hybrid Glass in Extreme Test

We have subjected our glass-hard and nevertheless very flexible bullet-proof glass similar high-tech material to an extreme test. Here's the video.

Video Extreme Test OnScreenHybrid Glass