Remember how a few generations ago, there was the “Children should be seen and not heard” attitude? As it pertains to rack enclosures, it’s kind of the opposite, many customers want them to be used but not seen.
Rack System Design
Keith Fulmer | Video Mount Products
What markets do VMP’s enclosed rack systems reach?
With technology and automation continuing to play an expanding roll across pretty much every industry, enclosed rack systems aren’t just for breakfast anymore. We are seeing activity in both the commercial and residential A/V markets, as well as the more traditional data markets. We have even seen some applications in the security industry with IP Video gaining acceptance in that market segment.
What are the most important design parameters that should be integrated into modern enclosed rack systems?
Racks and rack enclosures have always been some what standardized given the popular 19-inch foundation that the industry adopted years ago. Installers, contractors, and integrators are faced with a myriad of applications, so the flexibility of having different cabinet heights and capacities, give them a lot of choices. There may also be smaller installation applications where a wall cabinet may be a better fit, so those options would also be important. Thermal management capability, side access, and numbered RU positions are all design elements that users are looking for.
Can you give us some recommendations for the location, layout and access of the ideal equipment room?
Remember how a few generations ago, there was the “Children should be seen and not heard” attitude? As it pertains to rack enclosures, it’s kind of the opposite, many customers want them to be used but not seen. As much as it would be perfect to have these units invisibly tucked away in some closet or corner of a basement, you have to consider access, ventilation, temperature and moisture to get the most out of your usually substantial investment.
How important are theft deterrents when designing enclosed rack systems, and which such deterrents are most frequently added to the design?
Where rack enclosures are going to be staged will predicate what amount of theft deterrence and protection you will need. Hopefully, if the cabinet is in a residence the level will be low, but in most other installations, protection is certainly a consideration. Mid level security will require at least a key lock and most cabinets will have a front and rear door that will need to be locked. Many rack enclosures also offer removable side panels for easier access to the installed equipment and these may also require a lock to ensure security. In highly sensitive environments, the locations may be protected by access control or be placed in areas with limited access.
Is pre-assembly of larger rack systems more than just a convenience for your customers? If so, why?
Like anything else, time is money. In most cases, there are certain basic components that will be used in pretty much every application. While it is certainly a convenience to have a rack enclosure come “stuffed” with some of the basics, the cost advantages can be substantial not only as a result of bundling discounts but also as a result of eliminating valuable installer labor. Rack enclosures that come completely knocked down, while offering substantial shipping savings, often don’t compare to the solid construction and functionality of a fully welded cabinet.
With the number of components installed into modern enclosed rack systems, thermal management becomes an issue. What key features does VMP include, both standard and as an option, such as in the new ER-EN27 19-inch Equipment Rack Enclosure?
You’re right, given the increased number of devices that produce heat in these rack enclosures, removing the heat and protecting the components is very important. For active thermal management, the EREN-27 comes with a two-fan kit capable of moving 165 cu. ft. of air every minute (for this cabinet, that means that the fan kit cycles the air in the cabinet almost 10 times a minute). This enclosure is equipped with three removable bottom plates that can be used for cable entry but can also be removed to provide additional air flow from the bottom up. If the user would prefer passive thermal management, they could remove the two-fan kit and replace the front or back door (or both) with optional perforated doors. This venting arrangement would allow heat to be moved away from the components from all sides.
What is the most popular configuration in use today (i.e. sliding, rotating etc)?
Our most popular configuration is the aforementioned EREN-27 which comes complete with 5x2U vented shelves, 5x2U blanks, a two-fan kit, casters, leveling feet, removable side panels, a smoky gray tempered glass front door and a twin “center-open” steel rear door.
From top to bottom --- what is the preferred order in which to install rack components in a typical installation?
The rule of thumb is “If it’s producing heat, keep it at your feet.” Amplifiers are the biggest offenders and should be kept at the bottom of the enclosure. Other culprits include microprocessors and the continuing trend toward the miniaturization of electronics. Toward the top should be everything else or anything that is a non-amplifier.
About Video Mount Products
Born in 1994, Video Mount Products (VMP) is a leading provider of mounting solutions for the A/V, communication and security industries. VMP products consistently offer the latest designs in safety and flexibility, all at an outstanding value. VMP’s product offering continues to grow by adding mounting systems to address growing segments across many markets.
VMP has become the mounting systems company of choice for professionals and their customers everywhere. All products have been engineered for and installed with confidence in thousands of residences, businesses, hotels, restaurants, schools, hospitals, houses of worship and security applications throughout the world. VMP prides itself on providing the best products in the industry and by supporting those products with knowledgeable professionals who understand that “support” is the core of our business.
About Keith Fulmer, President Video Mount Products
Keith Fulmer, who holds a B.B.A. in Accounting from James Madison University, is 27-year industry veteran and president of Stevensville, Md.-based Video Mount Products. Father of two sons and an active leader of the Boy Scouts of America since 1997 and an active member of Christ Episcopal Church (Kent Island, Md.; oldest congregation in MD – Founded 1631), Fulmer was owner of manufacturers representative Concepts Unlimited, and executive vice president and partner for manufacturers representative Keller Associates.
The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of HomeToys
Video Mount Products (VMP)
VMP's unmatched designs, famed reliability, and long term durability have become a staple for mounting applications across a wide variety of industries.
Tony Pelura is director of marketing & business development for Video Mount Products (VMP). He is a 13-year industry veteran who started in the electronics industry as a sales rep, moving on to later become president of Maryland-based A/V distributor Centronics, Inc. Pelura received his Bachelor's Degree in Business Management/Marketing from Salisbury University in Maryland and his Masters Degree in Finance from the University of Baltimore.
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