Often, we consider the economizing that has sharpened our work as a breathless, exhausting, and sometimes dangerous result of our industrial and profit-based society. But one area where that fine-tuning has been of incredible benefit to the AV industry is in installation efficiency—it is much quicker to install racks and mounts today than even a few years ago.
“Speed of installation is critical, and working with solutions that save both time and money is a huge win,” said Tony Caruso, product manager at Chief.
Paul Dolynchuk, director of product management, infrastructure, Middle Atlantic Products, said that speed is key—it’s the first of three things that integrators look for when choosing racks. “They want to build racks faster and get them out the door so they can move on to the next project,” he said. “Another focus is accessibility for servicing in the field. Since the location of the rack can make it tricky to get to the equipment once it’s installed, integrators want a rack that makes the gear more easily accessible when servicing is required.”
The final consideration for integrators looking at racks is a familiar goal that’s sometimes challenging to achieve: “Future-proofing,” Dolynchuk said. “Integrators want racks with built-in flexibility so that as systems evolve or need to be moved, it’s easy to make changes.”
Caruso stresses a similar planning strategy. Chief’s approach focuses on speed—both for installation and for access after installation is complete. “When choosing a mount, the initial installation should be a consideration, but ease of post-installation access for displays and components requiring maintenance or refreshes should also be a big consideration. Choosing the correct mount will not only solve installation issues—particularly in large enterprise rollouts—but will also provide both time and cost savings, as the time saved on each installation is paramount to the larger scope and budget.”
Chief’s new Flat Panel Floor Support System was designed with these needs in mind, providing quick flat panel installation using the floor to support the weight instead of the wall. “This eliminates the need for wall inspections and remediation, which saves time and money, particularly across enterprise rollouts,” Caruso said. The two uprights that support the mount can be moved to accommodate outlets or other obstructions on site while keeping the flat panel placement precisely where the system designer intended. The system includes onboard component storage and a customizable cover for individual installation aesthetics. (The mount is sold separately.)
However, as Chad Gebhardt, senior product manager, direct view LED and LCD video wall solutions, at Peerless-AV noted, even installations that are scrupulously planned can end up hitting a speed bump. “As it is standard for project deadlines to be tight and critical, installations inevitably take longer than expected due to a tedious planning/approval process and a long lead time for the LED,” he said. “With a compressed lead time and rising labor costs, ease of installation becomes crucial for integrators. Installers also rely heavily on solutions that can overcome on-site challenges such as uneven structural walls.”
The SmartMount Flat Wall Mount for Direct View LED Displays solution from Peerless-AV helps installers be prepared for such hiccups. Offering slim, space-saving designs that can be adapted to support various display sizes and brands, the mount features integrated cable management, easy-hang hardware, and a lightweight aluminum frame. With adapters that adjust on the X, Y, and Z axes, installers can overcome uneven walls while simplifying the display and adapter alignment, ensuring the video wall remains flat.
The Customer Knows Best
Many manufacturers work extensively to understand their customers’ needs and learn how their products might serve those needs better. As Middle Atlantic’s Dolynchuk points out, the first conversation is only the starting point in a successful relationship.
“The next step is to validate our design concept with the customers to make sure we’re solving the problem the right way,” he said. “We’re not going to sign off on a product until the customer agrees it’s the best solution.”
Peerless-AV’s Gebhardt agrees. “Installer feedback is extremely important to our team at Peerless-AV, as our solutions make it possible for these projects to come to fruition,” he said, pointing to work the manufacturer has done to shorten lead time on products. Feedback also led to the creation of a depth-adjustable wall mounting bracket system and an installation training video for its dedicated solutions. Installers can also take advantage of the SEAMLESS by Peerless-AV LED video wall integration program. “Through this program, we offer custom project managers and consultation, full installation services, and expert engineering and design such as CAD drawings and concept drawings.”
At Premier Mounts, assistant communications manager Brandon Breznick said user feedback is particularly important for informing future mounting solution designs. “As displays become more technologically advanced and possess qualities outside of just high-resolution video, mounts must adapt to provide users with the best user interface possible,” he said. “Feedback is also important for us because we are now getting to hear testimonials about real-life applications that help refine our products to be the best they can possibly be.”
That ongoing relationship is key, and can only help integrators in the long run. You know your end users best, you know what they need and what you’re not finding to solve their problems, so if you can speak directly with the manufacturer, those needs have a better chance of being addressed.
One product that benefitted from manufacturer fine-tuning is Middle Atlantic’s BGR Series, which now comes standard with a rackrail. A fresh take on the traditional L-shaped rackrail, the new rackrail design features square holes and slots that provide two planes of vertical and horizontal mounting possibilities for the new Forward family of tool-less installation solutions. These include easy-to-install lighting, cable management, panels, and brackets, and a preinstalled UPS base that optimizes available rack space and adheres to AVIXA’s rack-building standard, helping to create an easier, more efficient, and reliable installation.
Ensuring that customers know what products are available, and which are the right fit for a particular project, is part of that communication and relationship-building that so many manufacturers highlight. As Premier Mounts’ Breznick points out, helping an installer find the mount that fits a project application exactly will save both time and money. “Smaller installers may be unaware of the different types of mounts to use for a project,” he said. “When an installer or project manager is unsure of what solution to use, it’s a good idea to call their manufacturer of choice and speak with someone who has in-depth knowledge of their product line. When working together, hand-in-hand, we can always identify the most budget-friendly and easiest-to-use option for a project.”
Premier Mounts’ Convergent LED Mount Series addresses many concerns the manufacturer has heard from customers: its price was reduced; it’s stocked in sufficient quantities so units can ship in about 48 hours; purchase does not require a deposit; and the company offers price per cabinet so installers can easily calculate and understand the cost of the mount. Solutions are available for all major LED display manufacturers, so installers should be able to figure out the best option for their project when they speak with a Premier Mounts rep.
Clearly, careful project planning is key to a smooth install, and a big part of that is communication and knowledge sharing. Time is money: manufacturers note that when installers invest some time in planning, the effort will return dividends. “Making the right rack choices from the outset can help installers accelerate time to revenue, minimize headaches down the road, and ensure the longevity of the systems within the rack,” Middle Atlantic’s Dolynchuk said, “all of which leads to happier end users, which is good for business.”