• Making Missouri’s Largest Digital billboard

    Watkins Outdoor Digital Billboard

    On Monday Insider wrote about Watkins Outdoor’s installation of a 22’5″ by 36’5″ billboard in Missouri.  Daktronics manufactured the sign.  Insider asked Daktronics project manager Doug Stearns to talk about the project.

    Give us an overview of Daktronics relationship with Watkins Outdoor

    Watkins Outdoor has been buying digital billboards from Daktronics for a number of years, they are in the neighborhood of operating 10 of our digitals now. Beyond working together to select the right products for each location, installation process and service offerings, our OOH team has also been in close contact with Greg over the years helping design custom displays, create content and sales tools, provide electrical advice and structural reviews. It really is an ongoing, long-term partnership.

    How long did it take to make this sign?

    Daktronics operates using lean principles.  Components such as modules, harnesses and control systems are built 2-3 weeks ahead of the final display assembly.  The display assembly itself takes approximately 3 days.

    Digital Billboard assembly at Daktronics Sioux Falls plant.

    Where was the sign built.

    All of our digital billboards are built from the single LED up to the finished product in our Sioux Falls, SD facility.  We loaded the sign on a semi and shipped from our factory to the job site.

    How did you handle the manufacturing and shipping.

    Digital billboards by nature are large displays.  Because we design for quick installations, we either ship in single sections or very large sections.  Although we are set up to build up to 50’ sections horizontally in one section, the height of each section is limited by shipping height limitations.   For this size of display we designed to ship and install in three sections.  Once we understand how many sections the digital billboard needs to be built in, the remaining manufacturing process uses standard building blocks.

    Daktronics digital billboards ready for shipping

    Is the sign so big you need two proof of performance cameras?

    That is correct, there are typical limitations to how far a webcam arm can protrude from a display structure.   It’s so tall that there’s not a webcam that can go out far enough to show the entire display on a single web camera arm.

    What did Daktronics do to insure a smooth installation?

    We have a number of dedicated OOH project managers at Daktronics. My role is to ensure our customers have a smooth, uneventful progression from the time the order is placed to final installation and commissioning. We can also assist with permitting by obtaining stamped drawings and assisting with any regulatory concerns that may arise. Throughout the process we work to keep communication lines open with all parties involved, review structural drawings for compatibility, advise on electrical requirements and assist in bringing the internet to the site. We coordinate the shipment to ensure the display arrives on site when it’s supposed to and schedule a Daktronics technician to be on site to help oversee the installation and commission the display.

    This is an exciting time for our customers, and we want to get their displays up and running to start generating revenue as quickly as possible. We do a lot of prep work ahead of time to make this possible.  For this sign, I was personally on site and we also had a field technician on site.  That’s standard for new installs.

    How long did the install take?

    The physical installation took about 3 hours. On a 3-section high display we have 2 power entrances, so the electricians were able to quickly hook up power, and once they finished we commissioned the display. With our universal mounting system, we use ledger brackets and beam clamps.  There’s one ledger bracket at the bottom of each I-beam to support the weight of the display.  Then we use universal beam clamps that hug the I-beams.  Our unique display cabinet attachment method doesn’t require the removal of modules or cabinet doors, further reducing installation time.

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