Daktronics: Keeping ahead of the LED curve

LED is getting bigger and brighter, but rarely is life breathed into the technology in the way that Daktronics is spearheading. Reece Webb finds out from product manager Adam Gilliland how the renowned display manufacturer’s new technologies are blazing a trail in a field of fierce competition.

Daktronics has been in the display business for a long time and has built up a well-renowned reputation as a result, always aiming to keep ahead of the curve in the hyper-competitive LED field.

How would you assess the current state of the global LED market?
I think it’s a truly exciting time to be in this industry, people all over the world are more ingrained with digital technologies. We’re all experts. We spend time in front of our computer and phone screens, so we have an ingrained expectation of what a good screen should look like.

What we’ve seen is that there’s been a huge trend towards higher resolutions, towards narrow pixel pitch because people will think,‘This doesn’t look like my smartphone’ or ‘This does not look like the massive TV I have in my home. I need more resolution,I need 4K.’ These demands present an excellent opportunity to be in the display industry.

Think about your typical airport today. It’s going to have many kinds of screens and many are going to be architecturally integrated. Even outdoors, the scale just keeps getting larger and the resolution just keeps getting better. 

With the new narrow pixel pitch technology, people are looking to do things in conference rooms and boardrooms beyond 100 inches diagonally. Some people prefer LED over projectors because of the high brightness and enhanced image quality. I think the current state of the global LED market is that its growing.Every indication that we see,were seeing a pretty strong interest across the globe. It's also quite competitive as there's many options to choose from.


What new technologies is Daktronics bringing out?

At ISE, we showcased our Narrow Pixel Pitch line which uses traditional surface mount diode technology. It has a nice combination of robust reliability,high image quality with our architecture and our processing and it also has industry leading brightness up to 1,500 nits. These fine pixel pitches provide a really good value for those customers who want the best image quality with the proven technology that's out there today.

We also showcased our high brightness Chip on Board technology in a 1.2-millimetre pitch, which packs a punch at 6,000 nits. Chip on Board is a new technology that is going to allow some new applications to be pursued. It has a proprietary encapsulation over it and it’s very durable, with a high brightness of 6,000 nits that could certainly blow you away indoors.

For well-lit auditoriums, atriums, store front displays,outdoor street furniture, the Chip on Board technology has the potential to thrive where brightness and robustness are needed. Also, that brightness can allow for an expanded dynamic range to further enhance our world class HDR capability with LED.

Traditional LEDs are bought packaged from the LED manufacturer and then we place that with machinery to the printed circuit board (PCB).

With Chip on Board, we’re buying the individual RGB dies and we’re taking that and inserting it into the PCB. Then, we encapsulate that to protect it. 

Some of the benefits of Chip on Board are the efficiency or the brightness that you can get, and the die sizes are smaller, so it fits into the mini LED category.You’re going to hear a lot about traditional LED, mini LED and micro LED, a lot of companies are using traditional LED, miniLED and micro LED terms for marketing when perhaps their product does not fit into the category. We aim to help educate on what these standard categories of LED are over time. 


What's the best way to educate the market?

The best way to teach is by getting the product out in front of people and introducing the new technologies into applications both existing and new. We’re viewing micro LED as having a light emitter that is 50 microns or less, and with miniLED, you get between 50 and 200 microns and of course, the traditional package of LEDs. 

I think the industry will 

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