Why you should never transport LCD screens horizontally

By Abrie du Plooy

As the product manager for ProSpectre Professional Displays at Electrosonic and during the many years prior to, working with other brands, I have witnessed on numerous occasions how LCD screens are transported horizontally and not vertically.

Even though there are big upward facing arrow markings on the packaging to indicate the correct handling, it is often ignored.

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The reason for this is that the LCD panel inside the screen can get damaged. This applies to any screen with a LCD panel such as Large Format Display, Interactive LCD screens as well as ‘LED’ TVs. Even though LED TVs are using LED backlight compared to previous Compact Florescent tubes in LCD Tvs, the front panel remains LCD.

To elaborate on this, one needs to understand the architecture of basic video display technologies, and in this case, LCD. Basic video images are created by either diffracting white light into the 3 primary colours, Red, Green and Blue (RGB) or creating these individual colours. Various technologies are used to manipulate the primary colours into the required colour of any image. They are; Transmissive Display (LCD), Emissive Display (LED, OLED and Plasma) and Reflective Display (Front Projection). Click to read more on video and display technologies

LCD screen technology is transmissive as the LCD panel does not create light and therefore a light source is required behind the LCD panel. Because of this architecture there can be no obstruction between the light source and the active display surface. Should there be an object in between, it will cast a shadow onto the LCD screen which will be visible to the viewer. This leaves a construction challenge as the LCD panel in the front of the screen needs to be supported by the screen chassis and fixed into place. The LCD panel itself is therefore only fixed to the screen housing around the perimeter and have no structural support in the center area of the panel.

LCD panels are not solid glass structures. They consist of a super thin Liquid Crystal Layer with various film lens layers attached to the Liquid Crystal layer. The protective surface in front is only a thin type of Perspex which protects the surface from puncture or damage by users. Even interactive screens have a tempered front panel to absorb the touch pressure but the panel inside is LCD.

If a LCD screen is transported horizontally, the gravitational force on the center area of the panel may cause it to flex and thus damage the panel itself and/or the electronic terminations around the perimeter of the screen. The instability during transport or handling by humans and environmental challenges may increase the impact and intensify the damage. In certain cases the damage may not be severe and may remain undetected until a later stage when a screen is relocated or moved. Disturbance of an already partially damaged screen could intensify initial affected areas and result in a defective display.

It is thus very important to always transport LCD screens in vertical orientation in order to prevent possible damage. At Electrosonic, we attempt to negate these actions or alarm users proactively. Our ProSpectre screens are dispatched with a Tilt-Watch sensor which will be triggered if a screen is tilted excessively. If you take delivery of a ProSpectre product with these indicators triggered, then please note and record the incident with the delivery institution. Remember to take photographs of the triggered sensor as well as the serial numbers of affected screens and inform your account manager at Electrosonic immediately.

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