One of the most important considerations in purchasing a visualization display video wall is the Total Cost of Ownership of the system. Typically, when a lamp-based engine is considered, light source costs are disclosed during the purchase of a video wall, however the lifetime of critical components and labor to keep the system in working condition is often overlooked. Nowadays, LED powered projection engines that last up to 120,000 hours are gaining popularity simply because they offer better total cost of ownership and lesser operational disruption caused by having to replace lamps that expires every few thousand hours.
Defining the Source of Costs in a Display Video Wall
Display wall technology has two forms of general maintenance: consumables and calibration. Once a display wall is initially implemented, certain components start to wear, such as the lamp in lamp-based light source, filters (if applicable), cooling fans, power supplies, etc. As these components wear, the system must be calibrated to ensure that the display remains clear and crisp.Typical consumables in a display wall powered by DLP® technology
- LED light source – Mitsubishi’s rear projection cube LED-based light module has an average, projected lifetime of 80,000 hours when used in economy mode, which amounts to about nine years of continuous, 24/7 operation. In select models that offers the option to run in the advanced economy mode, the LEDs will yield a lifetime of 100,000 hours for thelight module
- Filters – The sealed design of the Mitsubishi Electric’s projection engine does not use filters, thus eliminating the need to clean or replace filters at various intervals
- Cooling Fans – Air flow is carefully channeled through the projection engine using cooling fans that have a lifetime rating of 100,000 hours, providing over eleven years of carefree 24/7 operation
When investing in a state-of-the-art visualization display wall, the individual rear projection cubes should match each other to improve usability and workflow. That’s why calibration is so important to keep the system working flawlessly. There are two ways to calibrate a system: manually or automatically within the system itself.
The most ideal display wall or visualization wall equipment will offer an automatic calibration feature that adjusts the brightness and color temperature of the cubes as required. Pay special attention to this process. Some automatic calibration systems require significant technician interaction. Although the system reduces the amount of manual labor required, it may still require multiple service calls.
A quality calibration system should be incorporated within the display wall and should continuously analyze the display values. If the system utilizes preset minimum and maximum settings then it may not effectively adjust the system when components move out of those ranges. Additionally, avoid external calibration equipment unless you wish to have a technician come onsite to assist.
Not all display walls have equal reliability. For manufacturers, the costs to build a video wall are the difference between achieving reasonable production costs and providing performance and quality to the end user. Be sure to research the selection of components as well as the labor and processes put into place for assembly and management of production.
What to Look for in a Video Wall Display to Minimize Maintenance
There are certain aspects of video wall design that will minimize the cost of ownership:
A display system that uses LED based illumination modules offers longer lifetime and reduced energy costs. Mitsubishi Electric’s rear projection cube LED-based light module has an projected average lifetime of 80,000 hours when used in Economy mode, which amounts to nine years of continuous, 24/7 operation. In select models the Advanced Economy mode will yield a lifetime of 100,000 hours for the LED light module.
Every manufacturer claims that their product is reliable, but this truly depends on their selection of components and the quality control measures taken. To gauge a display wall’s reliability consider a few things.
Request Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) calculations. This MTBF value is a calculation that estimates when a component will fail. A display wall should last at least 5 years, so a MTBF should be around 40,000 to 45,000 hours.
Ask for installation references. Contact previous customers to discuss their experience with the particular product you purchasing. Be sure to inquire about the following: how many units failed completely out of the box? Have any failures occurred after the installation?
The lower the reliability of the product, the higher the potential costs become in replacement components, service parts installation, and recalibration of the displays.