Keeping up appearances

For every projector and flat panel display on the market there are probably ten or so mounting options, making the art of choosing the right one a significant challenge. Chris Fitzsimmons attempts to steer you through some of the latest offerings.

When compared to the displays, projectors or loudspeakers that it supports, the humble bracket might seem somewhat unexciting. However, these brackets are also all that stands between a several-thousand-Euro piece of equipment, and a hard concrete floor. For this reason alone you should be making sure you take an interest.

Also, these days it would be wrong to see the bracket just as a necessary accessory. It’s no longer a piece of dumb iron mongery, but a vital piece of kit which, if selected properly, can save you considerable time and money when it comes to installation.

In a highly competitive space, which is almost as commoditised as that of the screens themselves, manufacturers have to come up with ways of differentiating themselves. This has led to the development of several features and products unique to each supplier, each solving one problem or another.

These features range from simple locking devices for ease of installation, or lateral / vertical shift mechanisms allowing you to correct easily mistakes in mounting. Whatever your particular bracket problem, you can guarantee that someone, somewhere has developed a clever solution to it.

Dutch-based Vogels has been a pioneer of bracket development and currently has a number of innovative features on its product range. These features range from the simple Autolock system, which gives the installer a positive clicking sound when the display is correctly secured, to the smart Auto Move solution. Auto Move detects whether there is power to a display on the mount. If the screen is switched on, the motorised mount moves to a pre-assigned position. When it is switched-off the mount returns to a “home” position.

On the ceiling mount front, Vogels offers what it calls Quick CIS, which stands for cable in-lay system. The drop-poles have rubber strips running their length that cables can be pushed through, removing the need to strip plugs or connectors from the ends during installation.

UK company Unicol has had success with it’s new Adapta-wall product. This was developed with the current trend for tiling multiple flat screen displays in mind. Robert Seward, Unicol’s Marketing Director explained how it works: “It’s an easy to install system that allows individual screens to be replaced without having to remove other screens. It comes in vertical modules of 2,3 or 4 in order that units can be built up to make different size arrays. The top and bottom screens can be moved up and down on screw jacks so that the middle fixed screen can be removed. From an installation point of view you need only to worry about the distance between vertical sets and levelling them.” The system has been successfully deployed in Nike Town and the BBC’s Media Centre in White City, London.

Compatriot Timms UK produces a range of security focused products for its projector mount solutions. Available as full enclosures to fit on wall-mount booms or ceiling drops, as well as a cradle style product the company believes they act as a significant deterrent to the casual thief. The Security Cradle is also BECTA approved for use in schools and other education sites.

Scandinavian bracketry veteran SMS, is distributed in the UK by Steljes amongst others, the company’s product manager Matt Jacks told InAVate about a new feature from SMS, which the company is rolling out across its range of projector mounts. “The X-series has a couple of new features for SMS. It features what they call an integrated uni-slide, so the projector attachment is now boxed with the ceiling mount, instead of the old two-box solution. It also features a click-on / click-off feature for the projector attachment which offers the integrator significant benefits in terms of speedy installation and ease of use.”

SMS’s quick fix features allow an alternative security measure to cage style attachments – it’s possible to very easily remove the projectors at the close of the day to store them in a more secure location!

The very latest innovation we’ve heard of in the bracket field comes from Euromet, this product has only just been announced and is named Arakno. It’s a mounting solution suitable for projectors up to 40kg in weight, making it capable of holding large auditorium projectors. The company’s sales & marketing manager Christiano Traferri claims that the product is so versatile it can be used for loudspeakers.

Arakno is a single piece mount, which is what gives it its strength. It attaches via universal arms, and can be tilted 25 degrees in any axis. Tilt adjustment is controlled via a pair of handles, which are locked in place using a standard allen key. The product will be widely available at the start of 2009.

Chief’s new Fusion universal mounting system focuses its feature set on usability and speed of installation for the installer. It is available in fixed or tilting models, and developed following extensive field research, the company says.

Fusion’s key features are lateral shift, which can be carried out tool-less and after installation. The mounts also include a new feature called ControlZone Levelling. Overall height and skew can be adjusted after the mount is installed in case of any error positioning the bracket.

The product range also includes Chief’s Click-connect and a cable stand, which holds the screen off the wall whilst cabling is installed. Tool-less connection and disconnection of the display is also possible.

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