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A Guide to Monitor Mounts

A Guide to Monitor Mounts

In the age of the Internet of Things (IoT), OEMs are incorporating monitors and screens into equipment to provide better user experiences more customer value. Different types of monitor mounting arms are used in a variety of applications, from self-service kiosks and mobile medical equipment, to manufacturing and packaging to provide enhances ergonomics and user convenience. Engineers with no previous experience working with monitors are now tasked with developing innovative ways to mount monitors in order to drive product and application improvements.

One important aspect of incorporating monitor design into an application is deciding how and where the monitor will be mounted. This critical step of the design process can greatly impact the ease-of-use and overall product quality that the end user experiences when operating a monitor. User needs should be carefully considered when choosing a monitor mount.

There are various types of monitor mount designs, which may create a choice paralysis situation for an engineer tasked with designing a proper monitor mounting system. Understanding how monitor mounts work, what should be considered, and other important aspects can help engineers develop a proper mounting system for their end user. But first, a basic definition of a monitor mount should be discussed.

What is a monitor mount? 

Most engineers have interacted with multiple monitor mounts, though they may be unaware of this interaction. Monitor mounts have been around since the early 2000s when the price of monitors began to hit a point where they could be integrated into more applications. Engineers found that they needed a way to easily secure a monitor to a surface in a way that the user could still adjust the monitor for their needs.

In its simplest form, a monitor mount is a method of connecting a monitor, touchscreen, or other display interface to a certain surface. The surfaces can range from everything from a bedside table to the dashboard of a construction vehicle cab. A successful monitor mount will enable the end user to easily move and adjust the monitor until it is in the desired position. End users should be easily able to adjust the monitor to the correct angle without much effort or thought. When the monitor is in the desired position, the monitor mount should also resist any unwanted movements to ensure that the monitor stays in the user’s desired position.

How does a monitor mount work? 

Monitor mounts work by controlling the torque at each rotating joint within the mount, which defines the forces that are required by the user to adjust the monitor to their desires viewing location. This also allows the monitor to resist unwanted movements, such as gravity, that ensures that the monitor stays secure in place. Users would be able to easily maneuver the monitor in order to avoid sun glare and reflections caused by overhead lighting.

Typically, there are three ways that torque is achieved in a monitor mount:

  1. Applying torque to each individual moving joint

The simplest method to allow users to control torque is by applying torque to each moving joint through a simple screw or clamp mechanism. The end user would need to adjust the joint each time that they needed to adjust the monitor. The ideal application for this product would be monitors that are moved infrequently, or if a joint in the monitor mount would need to be adjusted for resistance.

  1. Applying torque via a controlled torque device

Another option would be to use a controlled torque device, which applies the torque to the rotating joint without any adjustment to the joint itself from the end user. This method allows the user to easily move the monitor to the correct position, while still resisting unwanted movement.

  1. Applying torque via stored energy

The third option is to use stored energy through a mechanism, such as a spring or gas strut, to apply torque. The stored energy can help the user adjust the monitor without applying as much force to improve ease of use. This type of monitor mount is usually used when a larger or heavier monitor is needed for the application.

It should be noted that there are monitor mounts that are not torque controlled. This type of monitor mount has adjustable clamps in order to hold the moving parts of the mount in place. The end application of the user should be carefully considered when using this type of mount.

What should an engineer consider when choosing a monitor mount? 

When designing a product or application that incorporates a monitor mount, there are some considerations that need to be taken into account.

Force Requirements

Engineers need to ensure that the chosen monitor mount can handle all of the forces that can be expected when the user operates the mount. Weight and size of the monitor is one consideration that should be incorporated into the selection process. Vibration is another force that should be accounted for in the end application. Aircraft applications frequently deal with high levels of vibration that can easily cause even the most sturdy monitor mounts to drift.

A high safety factor may be required for some applications. It is not uncommon for certain applications to require a 6x safety factor. The surface that the mount attaches to should also be carefully considered. Engineers should ensure that the surface can handle all of the forces that will be transferred from the mount to the surface. The force from the monitor arm could easily damage the attached surface, such as drywall.

End user application

The final selection of the monitor mount should be based on the end-user application. Engineers should consider if their application is dynamic or static. The environment should be carefully considered. A monitor mount for an industrial setting will have very different requirements as compared to a dentist’s office. A monitor mount that is used multiple times per day would warrant an easily adjustable mount with premium aesthetics and user feel. If a monitor needs to be positioned only once, then a much simpler mount would suffice.

For example, a user that is operating a large agricultural machine may be also utilizing a GPS system with an attached monitor. As the user operates the vehicle, they will likely need to reposition the screen multiple times in order to avoid glare in a quick, controlled manner. This application differs greatly from a monitor that will simply be installed for optimized viewing in one location, such as to the wall in an office reception area. The monitor mount selection would vary depending on what situation the engineer is designing for.

Monitor Mount Lifespan

An important design aspect to consider when choosing a monitor mount is the expected lifespan. The actual life of a monitor mount can vary depending on a number of factors, such as positioning and the environment in which the monitor is mounted. Mounts that are designed for heavy use in fields, such as medical and industrial industries, have a lifespan of more than 20 years. At that point in the product’s lifecycle it is likely that the monitor itself will be outdated.

What is VESA? 

Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) developed a set of standards that defines the distance between mounting holes in various wall mounting systems, such as television wall mounts. The standard mount hole pattern depends on the weight and size of the screen. This allows manufacturers to ensure that their monitor mount will work with most monitor applications.

Why are VESA mounts important? 

When choosing a monitor mount for an application, engineers should always look for VESA mounting configurations and monitors. This should help simplify and hasten the design process. The VESA standard eliminates one design aspect when choosing a monitor mount. Monitor mounts can be customized outside of the VESA standards for custom applications.

Engineers should generally ensure that the product they are developing will work with VESA monitor mounts. By utilizing VESA monitor mounts, engineers can minimize risk to the end user and develop a superior product. End users generally will have an easier time installing a monitor mount that was designed according to VESA standards. For example, some monitor mounts utilize a key slot design for screen mount screws, which enables the end user to install the mount without any help.

Engineers should carefully consider all potential options when deciding which monitor mount to incorporate into their application. Looking for more information? Contact Southco to learn more about monitor mounts and how they can fit into your application.

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