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[Overway Overseas] Birth of an MD Select LCD Assembly

Welcome back to the Overway Overseas blog series.

EO here, and this week, I’m here to give you an in depth look into how our MD Select series is created, all the way from a RAW LCD to a finished product that ends up on your workbench.

We have our own factory in Shenzhen with about 60 employees where we produce our LCD screens, add small parts like camera brackets and proximity sensor brackets, and even create our packaging and boxing materials. On an average day, we’re producing 2,000-3,000 LCD screens. Having everything under one roof proves to be extremely advantageous in reducing defects at the source.

Getting into the production floor of the factory is no easy task for someone that’s six foot three. We are required to wear anti-static suits that cover us from head to toe. After I squeezed into my ESD-Onesie, I stepped into a decontamination chamber before a parallel door opened on the other side. Through the other side is where our story really begins.

All production starts with a team member running the raw LCDs through an electron microscope. They do this to check the sub-pixels throughout each LCD for consistency and accuracy before they’re cleared to enter the main production line.

These are put into a machine where the first IC get installed. This IC is the driver for the sub-pixels on the LCD which obtains information from the logic board on what to display. Each device model uses a different drive IC even though the LCD glass may be the same. The driver IC is bonded to the LCD glass with a special conductive adhesive called ACF. After this, the LCD flex cable is installed with another ACF machine. The assembled LCDs are then tested prior to proceeding in the production process.

After this we enter the first pressure room. These rooms are designed so that air can only enter through a system of filters and maintains a higher pressure than the surrounding areas. This prevents dust, debris, hair, etc, from contaminating the area of production. Here, there is a process of inspecting digitizer films and outer glass lenses. The digitizer film is responsible for touch sensitivity while the outer glass lens is the piece of glass that you actually use with your hands. Both pieces must be completely free of dust or contaminants. After a thorough inspecting and cleaning, the digitizer is bonded to the glass lens with optically clear adhesive.

The next step in the production process involves marrying the digitizer and outer glass assembly that was just created with the LCD assembly that was created earlier.

Coming into the other end of the line, the assemblies start to become more familiar. Here, depending on the model, the digitizer may need to be bonded to the LCD flex. Then the display assembly is tested again to ensure proper function. The final step in completing the display assembly involves adding the backlight. For models with 3D-Touch, the backlight assembly includes the 3D-Touch sensor and home button connection.

The last step of the assembly process in the factory line involves the frame installation. Years ago there were industry-wide issues involving frame separation in iPhone screens, but we’re happy to say that it’s just a piece of history now. You’ll find an automated torch making its way around a raw frame. The flame passes over the surface extremely quickly, but this process leaves just the top layer of the plastic chemically altered to help it bond with the adhesive that is installed in the next step.

After the adhesive is applied this frame goes into a guide for the previously assembled screen to be bonded to it. These frames are put into stacks that are then put into a machine commonly called a “cold press.” This applies pressure in a constant process for a specific amount of time before being sent to another part of the factory for the addition of proximity bracket, camera brackets, and standardized packaging.

Our addition of these small parts involves different individual stations for almost every piece, and every part is added by hand before being hand tested. This stage involves adding the front camera bracket, the proximity sensor bracket, ear speaker grille and any identifiers required for receiving back here in our US warehouse

It’s a long and highly developed process to create these high quality aftermarket screens you’re accustomed to. We’ve come a long way in our process of procurement here in China, all the way from buying from the same manufacturers as our competitors to creating our own massive facility in under a year. The best part about this is that our team out here is growing, our operations and parts quality are getting better by the day, and we’re constantly expanding to make a difference in the repair industry. It’s time to set the bar higher.

How do we define quality?

The stream of content from China is far from over. Stay tuned leading up to CNY to see more insight into our operations in Shenzhen as well as cultural blog posts coming soon.