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Racks 101: How Can I Simplify My AV Rack Process?
Posted on Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Racks 101: How Can I Simplify My AV Rack Process?
Welcome to part three of Chief’s AV Week rack series with Rob Zurn, Product Manager at Chief. He manages the Chief AV rack  systems and has more than 20 years’ experience with AV rack solutions in the AV industry. I sat down with him to get the lowdown on some basic questions when it comes to AV racks. In part one, we discussed why AV racks are necessary. In part two, we got into deciding which AV rack systems to get for your project. In part three, we chat about one of the biggest advantages of Chief AV racks.AV week logo
Joel: When AV rack designers are planning a rack, do they count on having different accessories on hand, or do they order them specifically for that job?
Rob: My guess is it’s probably half and half. What I’ve seen is that companies do the same thing over and over a lot. For good reason, they fall into a pattern of what works for them and what’s predictable. Everybody on hand knows they’ve gone through this, and they know that the installer knows what he’s doing and that they’ve got some room to tweak it for that customer. For example, they know they need six tie bars, two lacing strips and one power distribution system.
Joel: That seems to work to RackBuilder’s advantages.
Rob: My communication every time I met with AV rack designers about RackBuilder is “we’ve already got that saved for you.” So you have your template design for this customer, and this other customer only needed two components instead of three for the project. All you are doing is changing that one thing in RackBuilder, and all your other small parts that you agonize over, like how many screws are needed for this job, are already part of that order on the template.
Joel: What do Chief AV racks have that others don’t? Why would someone go with Chief?
Rob: Chief AV racks introduced some universality in terms of accessories, such as compatibility with doors between different AV racks. It’s an awesome idea, and it works because you aren’t having to stock all these goofy tops, bottoms, doors, side panels that only work for one series. That was even further benefited by RackBuilder. It’s hard to differentiate AV racks by purpose – they hold equipment. But the universal accessories are a big differentiator with Chief. The online tools are another big one.
Other companies make so many things in so many different ways that it can get confusing. You don’t want to have a bunch of inventory you can’t use because you ordered the wrong thing. This happens a lot: dealers order the wrong door because they go with what they order every single time, but then the next job they couldn’t go to a 44 because something was in the way so they had to go to a 40. The only thing that changed in their order was the AV rack, and they didn’t remember they needed to change the doors. So they have a pile of old stuff they try to keep track of, and the next time they order a 44 they don’t have to order the door. That usually doesn’t work.
So what we are trying to show with RackBuilder is how these accessories are more universal. When you design the AV rack in RackBuilder, you are already taking out that guesswork. You can’t design an AV rack that can’t be built. We make sure they fit.