Motion System Design

This Used There: Chains in entertainment

Doing more with less is imperative in every industry today, and entertainment is no exception. Many theatre buildings are either being constructed or renovated to accommodate a vast array of performances, from sporting events and live theatre to music concerts and dance recitals. One way these physical spaces can quickly morph into new shapes is through the use of mechanical chains that lift, lower, push, and pull stages and seating areas into a variety of configurations.

One such company meeting these demands is Serapid Inc., Sterling Heights, Mich., a specialist in horizontal and vertical load transfer. The company's Rigid Chain — made of links that self support each other to form a rigid column — handles heavy loads over long distances because it is flexible like a chain in one direction and rigid like a steel bar in the other. Conventional lifting and linear transfer technologies for the entertainment industry, such as screw jacks and hydraulic systems, pose several challenges including deep storage pits, leakage, and drifting. Rigid chains eliminate these issues: Systems store compactly, offer precise, repetitive positioning within a millimeter, and are quiet enough for use during performances.

For lifting applications, Serapid's LinkLift acts as telescopic lifting column, comprised of block-shaped chain links, with square cross-sections that ensure the center of gravity sits in the geometric center. Vertical guides inside the drive housing support the links' alignment and locking capability, as lifting columns build in a linear upward movement. Stage and orchestra lifts are typical applications, though some LinkLifts are also used to increase stage size, create additional seating, and move production equipment on and off stage.

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