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Customer’s needs

The growth in popularity of large flat screen Plasma TV’s has penetrated many markets not least that of the superyacht and luxury houses. Unlike many more common installations these customers tend to be looking for the large units up to 80” (2mtr) across which can weigh up to 440Lbs (180 Kgs).
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Units of these sizes tend to dominate a room if permanently fixed to a wall or floor stand so the trend is more towards having them hidden in a price of furniture, or in the case of the larger units they are often hidden in the ceiling.

The size of the unit however and the very limited space available in the ceiling often makes for interesting engineering problems without allowing for the fact that the ceiling structure is also normally load bearing.

In marine applications, when the effects of additional G forces imposed on the mechanism as a result of the ships motion through the sea are added to the problem, the design process can be quite challenging.

Having initially been asked to design a unit to be fitted in the main salon of a very large superyacht to handle what was then the largest Plasma screen on the market at 1.5mtrs and weighing over 90Kgs, Ideas2Reality has since designed and installed many such units both in marine and in land based installations.
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Ceiling for plasma lifts such as these need to incorporate a number of specific features:

They need to be shallow in depth (usually less than 160mm)

The modifications to the ceiling structure to accommodate the unit needs to be straightforward

To be capable of being installed simply by semi skilled operators

The operation of the unit should be as quiet as possible

The controls need to interface with simple switch controls as well as complex audio visual systems

To be capable of locking in the up & down positions, in marine applications

The ability to operate under variable load conditions in the case of ships

To operate precisely to avoid twisting loads on the screens

They need to incorporate safety features as they can be extremely powerful mechanisms

How the customer’s needs were met

The first unit was designed for a marine environment for a very prestigious client. At the time the cost of the plasma unit that the client wished to use was extremely high so a weighted mock up unit was constructed.

The initial design was completed using a 3D CAD package. This reduced the design time necessary as well as enabling the dynamic clearances and motion paths of the whole assembly to be checked. It also enabled the major loads and power requirements to be calculated at different stages of the motion.

From the initial designs it was possible to optimise the operation of the unit in service. Having presented the designs to the client and obtained the required approvals detailed engineering drawings were prepared from which a prototype was produced. The intention being to carry out operational trials and tests on the unit prior to producing a second final unit for installation. The concern being the accuracy of the motion with the plasma installed.

The prototype was completed and an extensive test programme carried out using a plasma mockup. The unit performed correctly in every way so the client decided not to continue with the second unit but to refurbish the prototype unit.

The prototype unit was therefore stripped and a few components changed to more production level designs. Having been completely refurbished and painted the unit was reassembled, tested and delivered to the shipyard for installation.
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