Electronic Touchscreen Maintenance Tips
Touchscreens have become increasingly common in industrial and manufacturing applications due to their ease of use and accessibility. Industrial touchscreen displays provide a more intuitive interface between human operators and industrial electronic machinery by allowing operators to monitor equipment performance in real time, input commands and settings efficiently and identify problems with machines immediately.
These advantages have led various industries to adopt touchscreen displays — from automobile manufacturing to food and beverage processing — and their prevalence continues to grow. By 2026, a study by Acumen Research and Consulting predicts the global market value for industrial touchscreen displays will reach nearly $1.46 billion.
However, despite the distinct benefits of touchscreen displays and monitors, using touchscreens in an industrial environment poses challenges of its own. Industrial touchscreens must be able to withstand constant use in dirty, hot and humid conditions. Issues can arise if touchscreens do not get cleaned regularly, calibrated properly and used correctly. Luckily, proper industrial touchscreen maintenance can protect screens from damage and ensure proper operation of electronic monitors and equipment.
Why It’s Important to Take Care of Industrial Touchscreens
Industrial touchscreens can work with a wide range of machinery for equipment monitoring and control functions. Touchscreens streamline machine programming by allowing operators to input controls and adjust settings with a simple tap on the screen. When used for condition-based monitoring or predictive maintenance, touchscreen displays can alert operators of problems and communicate clearly what has gone wrong. With industrial touchscreens serving such crucial functions in manufacturing and other industrial applications, companies must protect their screens from damage to keep operations running smoothly.
Touchscreens designed for industrial applications are built for durability and sealed for protection from dirt and grease. However, they are not immune to damage or malfunction that results from improper care. Touchscreens consist of thin layers of material with a glass screen and sensitive electronic displays. Shocks, vibrations and rough handling can damage them. Excessive moisture and exposure to high or low temperatures can also harm touchscreen displays.
If a touchscreen connected to critical equipment malfunctions or breaks down, it can result in severe problems for your company. An unresponsive touchscreen display may mean your operators cannot input machine commands, which can result in operational errors. If operators cannot access equipment settings due to a frozen or incorrectly calibrated touchscreen, the equipment can malfunction. Problems with touchscreen performance and responsiveness can eventually result in equipment breakdown and costly downtime.
By taking care of your industrial touchscreens, you can prevent equipment failures and increase uptime in your facility. Performing simple touchscreen maintenance can stop problems before they happen and save your company from headaches and unnecessary repair expenses.
Common Touchscreen Problems
The first step toward effective touchscreen maintenance is to identify the common problems with industrial touchscreens. By recognizing the risks, you can take measures to prevent damage to your touchscreens and the critical electronic equipment they help operate. Here are a few issues to watch out for when using industrial touchscreens in your manufacturing facility.
1. Dirt and Grease
Grease, dirt and dust are unavoidable in many manufacturing environments — they are in the air and on workers’ hands when they touch machinery and screens. The best industrial touchscreens will be durable enough to withstand everyday dirt and wear. However, if touchscreens for electronic equipment do not get cleaned frequently enough, buildup of dust and grime can impact how well touchscreens function.
A dirty touchscreen can be difficult to read clearly, making it harder for equipment operators to enter correct commands or view performance data. Grease on the screen can also impact the accuracy of the touch sensors, resulting in accidental incorrect programming that can cause severe problems with machine operation.
Using a dirty touchscreen can also cause the screen to get scratched or cracked, which further impairs screen visibility. Scratches also impact the screen’s touch sensitivity and can be challenging to repair without replacing the entire screen surface. A cracked screen also makes the touchscreen more susceptible to internal damage from moisture and dust.
If dirt and dust make their way inside the touchscreen or other electrical equipment components, it can cause the machine to malfunction or fail. Moisture inside the touchscreen can also ruin the display or cause the equipment to short out. While industrial touchscreens have protective features that help prevent damage from environmental conditions, they can still experience damage from excessive dirt and grease without regular cleaning.
2. Not Calibrated
Poor touchscreen calibration can be more difficult to notice than a physical defect or visible dirt, but can be equally problematic if not taken care of quickly. An incorrectly calibrated screen can make it challenging to navigate touchscreen applications when entering information or monitoring data. In more severe cases, a touchscreen with poor accuracy can cause operators to accidentally enter the wrong program or input incorrect machine settings.
A touchscreen that has lost its calibration may even fail to detect user input entirely, especially with commands or buttons located at the edges of the screen. When you need to enter commands quickly and smoothly, the last thing you want is a touchscreen that is unresponsive because it is not calibrated correctly.
Touchscreen calibration will naturally shift slightly off perfect accuracy after a period of regular use. System updates can also cause touchscreen displays to lose their calibration. Industrial touchscreens initially get calibrated upon installation, and many facilities do not calibrate their screens again until a problem arises. However, by performing calibration regularly, you ensure a high level of touch sensor accuracy, which results in effective control of machines when you need it most.
3. Not Updated to Current OS
When touchscreens get connected to other electronic equipment, all machinery must operate synchronously. If the equipment has an operating system (OS) update, the touchscreen displays may need corresponding updates as well. If the touchscreens do not get updated to the current OS, they may become unresponsive or be unable to perform critical functions.
When performing OS updates, operators should follow all instructions carefully to make sure touchscreen monitors continue to work correctly after completing the update. While it may be tempting to rush through an update to save time, skipping critical steps can result in malfunctions in the touchscreens or other equipment components.
Maintenance Tips for Electronic Screens
After identifying the potential touchscreen problems in your facility, you can plan for effective touchscreen maintenance. Rather than waiting for your touchscreen displays to break down or glitch, you can perform regular preventive maintenance to keep your monitors, displays and machines operating at their best. Here are four simple ways to maintain your industrial touchscreens.
1. Clean the Touchscreen
Regularly cleaning industrial touchscreens is an easy way to protect them from malfunction and damage. A simple wipe-down will remove grease and smudges from regular use and prevent dirt and dust from getting inside the equipment.
All you need to clean a touchscreen properly is a soft lint-free cloth, distilled water and a cleaning solution. Microfiber cloths are often the best choice for cleaning screens, as they are soft and non-abrasive. Using a regular cloth or paper towel can scratch the screen surface. Use distilled water to dampen the cloth for removing stuck-on dirt. It’s also possible to clean touchscreens with regular tap water, but it may leave marks after cleaning, whereas distilled water will not.
When choosing a cleaner, look for a cleaning solution specifically designed for touchscreens. Regular household cleaners will be too harsh and abrasive and can damage the screen surface. It is also safe to clean touchscreens with a homemade solution of 50/50 distilled water and white vinegar or 50/50 distilled water and isopropyl alcohol.
Follow these steps for how to clean a touchscreen properly.
- Turn off the touchscreen: Before cleaning, turn off the touchscreen and the equipment connected to it. This step will protect the machinery from damage and make it easier to see dirt and smudges on the screen when it is not lit. If you are unable to turn off the screen, such as for a continuous-duty operation, lock the touchscreen so you cannot accidentally hit any commands while cleaning it. Many touchscreens also have an option that will lock the screen and make it unresponsive to touches during cleaning.
- Wipe the screen with a dry cloth: Using a microfiber cloth, wipe the screen gently in small circles. Use light pressure to remove dust and smudges without damaging the screen. Do this when the cloth is still dry first to remove the majority of dirt and grime.
- Dampen the cloth and spot clean: After the initial cleaning, check if any spots remain. If the touchscreen still has built-up dirt, dampen a microfiber cloth with your cleaning solution and gently rub the spots away. Always moisten the cloth rather than spraying cleaner directly onto the touchscreen to prevent water damage.
- Dry the touchscreen: Before turning your touchscreen and equipment back on, give it one more pass with a dry, lint-free cloth to remove any remaining moisture. Letting your touchscreen dry completely before use will ensure it does not get damaged.
Cleaning your industrial touchscreens should be part of your regular maintenance and cleaning procedures. The more frequently you clean your screens, the faster and easier it will be each time and the longer your touchscreen will last. For added protection against grease and dirt, you can also purchase a touchscreen protector or invest in a more durable touchscreen model.
2. Use It Properly
The nature of an industrial environment means your touchscreens will regularly get exposed to potentially damaging elements — such as moisture, grease, dirt, dust and extreme temperatures. However, by using your touchscreens properly and taking steps to minimize hazardous exposure, you can prevent damage and keep your monitors operating correctly for a long time. Here are a few tips for how to use your industrial touchscreens properly.
- Be gentle: Exposure to shocks and vibrations can damage touchscreens, as can handling them too roughly. When inputting commands, only use the necessary pressure and avoid hitting the screen too hard. Try to position touchscreens in places where they are not likely to get bumped accidentally during regular operations.
- Keep your hands clean: Try to wash or wipe your hands before using industrial touchscreens. While this may not always be possible in particularly dirty or dusty work environments, keeping your hands clean when operating touchscreens will reduce the amount of dirt and grease that collect on the screen and improve touchscreen performance.
- Take off your gloves: Many modern touchscreens come with built-in capacitive sensor technology that helps them recognize a human touch. Wearing gloves can interfere with these touch sensors and make it difficult to navigate touchscreen controls or even make the screen entirely unresponsive. If operators attempt to use touchscreens while wearing gloves, they will likely end up pressing too hard and damage display components.
- Use an appropriate stylus: If you are working in an environment where it is necessary to wear gloves, such as a medical or another sterile setting, use a stylus to operate the touchscreen. Choose a stylus specifically designed for touchscreens or tablets. Using another tool like a pen or pencil can scratch the screen and may not work as designed. Using a stylus instead of your fingers also helps keep the touchscreen cleaner.
- Place screens in safe locations: Whenever possible, install touchscreen displays and monitors in safe areas away from severe conditions like extreme temperatures and moisture. While other common touchscreen problems like incorrect calibration or a dirty screen are easy to fix, damage to internal touchscreen components can require a more extensive and costly repair.
Depending on the model of touchscreen you have, your industrial touchscreens may be able to withstand different ranges of temperatures, levels of vibrations and other environmental conditions. Read the touchscreen manual or other resources your equipment supplier provides to protect and take care of your touchscreens properly.
3. Keep Screen Sensitivity in Mind
It’s possible to adjust most industrial touchscreens to different sensitivity levels to suit your needs. A highly responsive touchscreen may be beneficial in operations that require precision, or when performing functions quickly. If a touchscreen is somewhere it is likely to get bumped, a lower sensitivity setting can be useful to avoid unintentional commands. Adjusting the touchscreen to a comfortable screen sensitivity setting can also prevent damage by making it easy to use without pressing too hard on the screen.
Different types of touchscreens also require different amounts of pressure to activate the touch sensors. Resistive touchscreens require more force to depress the top layer of the screen and activate the conductive layer underneath. Capacitive touchscreens, on the other hand, get activated by electrical conductivity from human touch and require almost no pressure at all. To use your touchscreens properly, identify which type of sensors your industrial touchscreens have.
When operating touchscreens, keep the screen sensitivity in mind and apply only the necessary amount of pressure. Touchscreens have delicate displays located just underneath the glass that can experience damage from improper use. Repairing a damaged touchscreen display, main board or another electrical component can require professional assistance and may cause costly machinery downtime.
4. Calibrate the Screen Regularly
An incorrectly calibrated industrial touchscreen can be frustrating for operators and can even lead to equipment malfunctions if the wrong commands get entered. Companies should perform touchscreen calibration regularly to prevent any potentially devastating consequences.
It’s usually possible to perform touchscreen calibration through the equipment’s settings. Select the calibration option and follow the instructions to calibrate the screen correctly. If you are unsure how to calibrate the industrial touchscreens in your facility, now is the time to learn. All operators should receive training on how to properly calibrate touchscreens — both in response to malfunctions and as part of regular maintenance procedures.
Industrial Touchscreen Repair From Global Electronic Services
Taking care of the touchscreens on your electronic equipment can prevent costly malfunctions and breakdowns and increase the lifespan of your equipment. By cleaning your touchscreens regularly, using them properly and calibrating them correctly, you can continue to enjoy the distinct advantages industrial touchscreens offer — such as a streamlined human-machine interface, accessible controls and high visibility of equipment performance.
If you ever need a hand to keep your industrial touchscreens and electronic equipment in top operating condition, Global Electronic Services offers comprehensive touchscreen and display repairs. Our skilled technicians can handle any issue that may arise with your touchscreen displays, from cracked screens to capacitor failures. Contact Global Electronic Services for a quote on professional electronic equipment repair.