Verizon Hall Upgrades with J. R. Clancy Rigging System

by PLSN Staff • in
  • News
• Created: June 3, 2010

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PHILADELPHIA – When the 2,400-seat Verizon Hall opened in Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in 2001, its automated rigging system seemed like the right choice to move the acoustic canopies as each concert required. Before long, however, the hall's manager, David Thiele-now the Kimmel Center's vice president of facilities and operations-determined that the rigging software "was not reliable," and later, he found that the drives that controlled the action of the winches were no longer available.


 "The manufacturer said they were going to stop supporting them," Thiele said. "I couldn't get the drives fixed cost-effectively." He started looking for a new supplier – and didn't have to search very far.


"We had a J. R. Clancy system in the Perelman Theatre," he said, referring to the Kimmel Center's 650-seat proscenium theatre and recital hall. "My intent was to have a single source for everything.  The system in the other theatre was more robust, more reliable.  It made perfect sense to go with Clancy."


Larry Eschelbacher, J. R. Clancy controls engineering manager, led the team that examined the system and determined the best course of action.


"There were things in the system we could not agree to maintain," Eschelbacher said.  "The variable speed drives for the acoustic ceilings, speaker clusters-we had to tear all of those out and replace them with new drives. The banners and travelers were fixed speed with Alan Bradley remote I/O, so we could interface them with our controller.


"We didn't know how much spurious movement was noise from the drives, and how much was the software," Eschelbacher added, "so in the end, the least expensive option was to pull them out."


The old variable speed drives were replaced with vector drives specifically designed for overhead hoisting.  For their new control system, Thiele and his staff chose the SceneControl 500, J. R. Clancy's automated rigging controller. This console uses PLC technology, designed for use in electrically noisy industrial environments.  This replaced the home/office grade computer provided by the original supplier, eliminating the electrical noise issues.


The transition to the new equipment went off smoothly, Thiele said.  "The process went really well. Larry did a really great job ferreting out what had to happen," he noted. "We found that there were gaps in the information with the drawings from the as-built system.  Larry was very judicious in making sure all the bases were covered.  The installation went very smoothly, and the system works really well.


"It's important to me to know that Clancy basically adopted this system, and not only made it function reliably and accurately, but is also standing behind it," Thiele added.


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