Commitment. Capability. Continuity.

People often have concerns about the longevity of cathode ray tube technology.
Below, we provide insight on the questions we hear most often.

Are CRTs still manufactured or used?

Are CRTs Obsolete

Absolutely. CRT material and process technologies are common to the vacuum tube industry as a whole, which continues to serve many applications across a wide variety of industries. These include:

  • Lighting: incandescent, fluorescent, & high-power arc lamps
  • Communications: microwave, traveling wave, & high-power amplifier tubes
  • Medical Testing: x-ray tubes
  • Commercial & Industrial Heating: magnetrons

What are the advantages of maintaining CRTs?

There are many advantages of CRTs, and one major one is the fact that CRTs use tried-and-true technology that has been in successful application for many decades. That doesn’t mean it’s old; it means it’s a reliable solution. In addition, they’re also:

  • Cost-effective: high value components can be refurbished & reused
  • Available & Accessible: quick turnaround, short setup, continuous production, & no minimum buys
  • Eco-friendly: refurbish, reuse, recycle, & avoid waste
  • Proven: no need for costly & risky system updates when you’re working within a familiar, stable design

Advantages of maintaining CRTs

What maintenance is most common on CRTs?

Are CRTs Obsolete

The biggest maintenance upkeep needed throughout the life of your CRT is refreshing the phosphor coating. The phosphor coating determines the brightness, color, and persistence of the illumination, and various types are available depending on your needs. For example, to best see brief, fleeting events, a long persistence phosphor is recommended. For events that are fast and repetitive, or high frequency, a short-persistence phosphor is generally preferred.

Over time, phosphors wear down and lose some of the properties that make them functional. By replacing the phosphors in your CRT, you are able to extend the overall life of that CRT. There are around 50 different phosphors available for your CRT, ask us which ones are best for your application.

Will CRTs be available for years to come?

Indeed, they will. For over 65 years, our focus has been CRTs; they will continue to be our focus for the foreseeable future. Further evidence of our commitment is shown through:

  • Our Facilities: We’re making ongoing, aggressive investments to maintain & modernize our 3-building, 38-acre campus
  • Our Global Presence: We’re not going anywhere, with production & manufacturing facilities around the world (New York, Illinois, Kentucky, & France)
  • Our Staff: Our team is intensely committed to maintaining & furthering our expertise in all aspects of CRT displays

CRT Longevity

What technologies are used in manufacturing CRTs?

CRT Technology

The technologies we use at Thomas Electronics are the same as those used in a variety of high-technology manufacturing processes and industries. For example:

  • Glass Working: lathe forming, frit sealing, grinding & polishing
  • Coatings: screen print, settle, spin, spray, photolithography, vacuum evaporation
  • Vacuum: turbo-molecular pumping
  • Testing: photometry, image analysis, vibration & temperature cycling
  • Assembly: solder & crimp connections, silicone rubber encapsulation

What manufacturing control systems do you use?

Our Quality Assurance tools are common to today’s high-tech world. Processes such as thin film measurement, optical & laser measurement, and RGA are in place across an array of industries. Other consistencies include:

  • DMAIC: We apply Six Sigma’s 5-part improvement cycle (define, measure, analyze, improve, control) to every work center in our facilities
  • Manufacturing Execution System: We utilize a finely-honed control system for operator instruction, consistent data capture, & real-time monitoring of work-in-process
  • Factory Automation: Our LabVIEW-based control systems & Keyence sensing/measuring solutions allow the automation of various processes and machinery

Manufacturing control systems

What is your supply chain?

What is Your Supply Chain

We’ve been manufacturing products for the electronic display and imaging market since 1948. Over this time, we’ve developed strong, enduring relationships with our suppliers at all levels. We actively maintain those relationships with frequent visits and collaborative interchange of key data.

  • Forecasting: provided at regular intervals
  • Parts Commonality: established over many designs
  • Basic Materials: procured when necessary
  • Vertical Integration: undertaken when necessary

Interested in joining our team? View open positions >

Facilities & Capabilities

Facilities and Capabilities

Class 10,000 Cleanroom

  • Continuous monitoring of area temperature, relative humidity, airborne particulates
  • Real-time information available and accessible remotely

Cleanroom Manufacturing

  • Phosphor screening
  • Electron gun assembly
  • Bulb-electron gun sealing

Facilities & Capabilities (Continued)

Facilities and Capabilities

High Vacuum Manufacturing

  • High temperature ramp and soak
  • Continuous monitoring of temperature profiles with SpecView software
  • Continuous monitoring of vacuum
  • Automated cathode filament cycling

Intelligent Automation

  • LabVIEW: automation of CRT activation
  • Digital communication for data tracking and archiving
  • On-board PLC for cathode current regulation
  • In-process testing for cut-off and emission performance

Facilities & Capabilities (Continued)

Facilities and Capabilities

Process Control Software:

  • Proprietary software developed by TE to monitor production processes

Modern Metrology:

  • Consistent grid-to-cathode dimension and alignment of apertures measurements

Phosphor Screen Analysis

  • Camera Inspection Software, developed by Thomas, calculates blemish size, transmission, location

Facilities & Capabilities (Continued)

Facilities and Capabilities

Brightness & Resolution Testing/Measurement

  • State-of-the-art equipment provides accurate and repeatable brightness and resolution measurement

ESS Capability

  • Vibration/shock simulation
  • Simulated altitude testing
  • Operational thermal exposure

Failure Analysis

  • Phosphor particle size SEM analysis
  • Phosphor thickness SEM analysis

Test Equipment Designed by Thomas Electronics

Test Equiptment
Test Equiptment
Test Equiptment
Test Equiptment