Open Frame Versus Closed Frame Panels

What's the Difference Between Open Frame & Closed Frame Panels? 

What exactly comes to mind when people say panel display or monitor? Many tend to think of closed frame displays without realizing that it is just one of the possible configurations available. A closed frame display can simply be described as a monitor with a front bezel and is fully enclosed just like most consumer grade LCD monitors. Even many of the industrial grade touch monitors and panel PCs are closed frame displays. Some good examples that one can find are public kiosks, point of sales terminals, and ticketing booths, all of which utilize basic or generic enclosures. But what happens when there is a specific enclosure that one wishes to insert into the display?  Perhaps, that enclosure is designed to have specific function or is aesthetically built to be compatible with their brand. Would one then have to remove the display from its existing enclosure, discard it and then insert the display into their exclusive enclosure?

At first glance, this might not seem like such a big deal. One can simply take a regular closed frame consumer grade desktop monitor and remove the display from its casing. Sounds like an inexpensive and cost effective solution, right?  Well, let’s explore this a little bit further now. Say there is a need to build kiosks for over a thousand locations. This means we have to include the cost of installation and dismantle labor for more than a thousand monitors. But keep in mind that these consumer grade desktop monitors are not industrial grade and are not meant to function outside of their enclosure nor they are intended to be operated 24/7 like most kiosks. What happens if you have to place the kiosks outdoors? Will it still be able to display properly even when the original enclosure is removed? Can it withstand the harsh conditions and still be able to operate normally?

Industrial Panel PC Open Frame Solution

Removing a display from a consumer grade monitor is not actually the smartest idea. This is where an open frame display can be considered as a perfect solution to the problem. Open frame monitors and touch panels do not have any enclosure such as bezel or housing. Just like the consumer grade desktop monitors, open frame displays come in numerous screen sizes as well as aspect ratios, resolutions and brightness. It is simply a stripped-down version of an LCD panel with just enough support structure and protection in which its internal components are fastened within its metal chassis. Although the open frame displays are significantly more expensive than the consumer grade monitors, the industrial grade components and higher grade LCD panels are quite substantial in durability and performance.  Moreover, open frame displays provide greater flexibility by simply inserting additional components inside its chassis to support its application. Existing components can also be easily replaced if they fail and are upgradeable since all components are industrial grade. And since these components are of industrial grade, the unit is more rugged and durable compared to a typical desktop monitor. This allows incremental revisions to a unit rather than having to replace the entire display.

What cannot be overstated is the open frame’s lack of enclosure. This gives the integrator the freedom to create their custom-designed enclosure. Some obvious examples which can be seen every day are cabinets with embedded touch monitors, recessed walls, or tables used for digital signage applications including store front displays, photo booths, arcade games, and even advertising billboards.

VESA Standards for Panel PC Mount

Whether one is considering the traditional closed frame or industrial open frame display to be their optimal solution for their application; one must also take into account on how they will manage to mount their display. Most closed and open frame industrial panels provide a panel mount. However, there may be instances in which the panel display needs to be mounted from the rear. This type of mounting interface for a panel PC is usually not some arbitrary design. If that is the case, then mounting the panel display could very well be the most difficult part in designing your application. The Video Electronics Standards Association, better known as VESA, provides technical standards for panel mounts which is usually referred to as a VESA mount. This standard is defined by 7 sizes each with more than one variant. By having such standard, it allows the integrator to design their enclosure to adhere to a particular VESA mount to help simplify the process.

For many of today’s demand on digital signage applications, a closed frame industrial panel PC might just be the answer. However, it is important that the touch panel is reliable and durable even in high touch operating environments, as well as rugged enough to endure harsh conditions. For other integrators, the option of having an open frame solution can minimize workload and eliminate unnecessary disassembly, plus it can also ease the process of designing their enclosure to integrate with the panel. Furthermore, the panel mount minimizes the frustration of having to design the enclosure, knowing there is a set of VESA standard mount to take into consideration. By taking advantage of any of these 3 possibilities, you can customize an optimal design and solution for your touch panel application.