In a simulator, one of the key components is the projection system. Not only because it is the component that creates the actual image on the screen, but also because it is a crucial factor when it comes to ease of installation, up-time, serviceability and total cost of ownership. In this article we will cover some of the factors that impact operating costs.
All simulators will inevitably have downtime due to maintenance of one or more components in the system. Make sure that the projector is not the weak link that forces unwanted downtime that drives cost.
Important factors when considering a projector are:
- Projectors must be designed for 24/7 operation
- On-site serviceability
- A true solid state projector light source. No moving parts means less service.
- A reflective, non-organic imaging device for performance over time
- Warranty periods of at least 5+ years
24/7 operation requirement of the projector
The projectors need to be designed and built for 24/7 operation, use components that have a long lifespan and have long maintenance intervals.The most critical components are the light source, the cooling fans and any other moving parts. Ideally your projector should be a true solid-state design, not having any moving parts beside the cooling fans. Other components should be sealed to prevent dust, grease and other small particles from entering the system.
Projector serviceability is important for reduced downtime
One thing is to make sure the projector is designed for 24/7, but that does not really help if you need to service it often and off-site. To avoid this, ensure that the projector can be serviced in the field. Preferably your team should be certified to perform repairs and service on site, by the vendor.
Choose the right light source in your projector
Selecting the right light source is critical when it comes to operational cost and downtime in a projection system. A traditional projector lamp’s lifespan can be 1,000-1,500 hours vs. a solid state solution (LED or laser) that has a lifespan of 20,000 hours or more. Look for a product with true solid state illumination, without moving parts like color wheels.
Choice of imaging device and cooling fans are important
Two of the other components that heavily impact the requirements for service and downtime, are the imaging device and the cooling fans. The imaging device should ideally be sealed hermetically from other key parts of the optical design to reduce image degradation and downtime, and it is important to select the right technology. Texas Instruments DLP® Technology products provide excellent performance over time with negligible degradation of the device itself. You find projectors in the market that provide 50,000 hours of runtime before any service is required and – of course – with sealed optical design. The cooling fan is one of the parts that typically requires downtime in the simulator to replace and/or clean. It is critical that the fans inside the projector are of the best quality possible and have a long lifespan. Preferably, the fan should also be serviceable through a cartridge system for easy, onsite maintenance.
Projector Warranty programmes should be 5+ years
The final aspect when factoring costs is the manufacturer’s belief in its own product longevity and quality. This should be mirrored in the warranty programs, and while some projectors are offered with a standard 1 year warranty, the majority of projector manufacturers for the simulation market offer both 2 and 3 years on their simulation projectors as standard. Some are daring to offer an extension up to 5 years.
If you are interested in other important factors to consider when selecting a projector for your simulation system, have a look at our free Checklist: