Why Are Mounts Still Stupidly Heavy?

carbon-fiber-lightweight-bike-0814Last month I installed a mount for a 46” Samsung TV I hung on the wall in my daughter’s bedroom. It was, literally, déjà vu to the last time I installed a TV — some four years ago — when I realized that having a TV light enough that one person can hang it on a wall themselves is USELESS when the mount can’t be installed by one person alone.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, the mount — a model from Chief — was designed to be hung by one person, but was so dang heavy I had to hold three things at once — (using my mouth as the third appendage).

I just couldn’t get the mount up, consistently, because of how darn heavy it was. It’s beautiful — smooth, steel, thin — but heavy. Too heavy to hold steadily in place and screw it on the wall simultaneously with just two hands. I needed help.

So, why is it with all today’s technology that not a single mount company seems to be focused on making them lighter? Sure, there are aluminum ones and so-called lighter steel, but no one is using technology like carbon fiber.

Carbon fiber (aka graphite fiber) is a composite material of miniature fibers (approximately 5–10 μm in diameter) that are basically carbon atoms. I won’t get too deep in to the technical aspects of carbon fiber, but basically in production, these carbon atoms are turned into a woven material (yes, woven like cotton to make a shirt) that is combined with a plastic resin (a super-strong glue) that makes a super-light material that’s as strong (even stronger in most applications) than steel but consisting of 1/30th the weight.

Ever watched the Tour de France? Well, those riders all ride on carbon fiber bikes that weigh like 11 pounds (sans gears) total. Some 25 years ago, they were all made of aluminum or steel and weighed two to three times as much.

Oh, helicopters, cars, boats and now airplanes use carbon fiber. So, yes, mounts can use them too.

Think out it. I called three of the big five mouth companies to find out what they would do if they had a client with a 50+ pound mount for something and it was broken, mis-shipped or bent — they all said they’d tell the customer to dispose of it and send them a new one. Wan to know why? Simple: It costs more to ship these mounts than it does to make them. So, it’s not worth it.

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For us, the integrators and users, making mounts from carbon fiber would mean that, yes, we could use one person to install them — no matter how big. It means packaging would be reduced significantly, making them instantly green (something that no mount can really currently claim) and they can be made a lot smaller to hold more weight. The size of the mount wouldn’t necessarily correlate to the size of display it can hold.

So, why hasn’t a mount company thought of this? Well, they have and I know they have as I’ve mentioned it to Peerless-AV, Chief and Premier at least once over the past three years. And, no takers. They all say, “Hey, that’s a great idea!” but, so far, nothing.

Bummer. Now, I can’t come down too hard on these companies as they’ve been busy, each in its own way – reinventing itself. Peerless-AV went from a metal-bending US-based mount manufacturer to now a wireless systems company integrating wireless video into mount systems and selling them as stand-alone products, too. Chief has become the de facto-standard for interactive mounts, automated mounts and they’re probably doing more digital signage mounting for the quick-serve and fast-food industry than anyone and Premier re-engineered its entire company focus over the past 12 months. So, they’ve all been busy.

But, if peer-pressure has any weight (no pun intended) — let’s kick this off. Let them know you’d love to see greener, easier, lighter and better mounts by incorporating carbon fiber.

Oh, did I forget to mention that Stormtrooper uniforms are made of carbon fiber too?

Image via CitizenBrooklyn.com