Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Unique stage system handles even a hippo standing on one leg
The Systems & Engineering division of Bosch Rexroth, responsible for theatre stage systems business, has recently completed projects for theatres in Martin, Slovakia, and Krakow, Poland, together with an extensive implementation of a stage system for the state circus in Minsk, Belarus – all with the help of Autodesk Inventor and Autodesk Vault data management software.
As part of the Minsk project, Bosch Rexroth engineers designed and installed a system that can change arena floors automatically and within a few minutes. For example, the arena floor can be changed from a stage for animals to synthetic ice to a dancing surface with lights. This complex system is built on a “jukebox” container, where individual floors are positioned above each other and slide in and out with the help of a hydraulic engine supported by four hydraulic cylinders. The container, including 70,000 individual parts, is automatically controlled from the central panel at the touch of a button.
“Autodesk Inventor is an outstanding tool enabling us to design directly in a 3D environment,” said Petr Suchomel, stage technology designer in the Systems & Engineering division, Bosch Rexroth Czech Republic. “Visualized and animated output from Inventor software, based on the real environment of the circus building and presumed load, played a key role in enabling us to convince our customer that the proposed solution was the best possible option. Thanks to the realistically created digital prototype, we hardly had to amend anything in the model before the construction was finished. This eliminated additional costs associated with potential reworks.”
Digital Prototyping with Autodesk Inventor
Bosch Rexroth designers faced several major challenges during the design process on the Minsk project. First, they had to take into account the weight of several large animals (elephants, hippopotamuses, etc. - even the point-load when they pose standing on one leg), as well as the fact that space under the arena is limited. Next, constructors needed to achieve positional accuracy on the stage to within 1 millimetre. The system design was developed entirely in Autodesk Inventor, used mainly for calculations of the system disposition and analysis and simulation of how individual floors bend according to different loads. Lifts of the movable system were also simulated in connection with associated motions – for example, to slide in just one floor into the container, 27 individual motions of electric and hydraulic drivers, each carried out with perfect timing, were required.
Additionally, as external engineers joined the project, they were brought up to speed on design progress through Autodesk Vault. Thanks to this arrangement, the chief designer was able to inspect the construction personally on site and compare progress with a complete 3D model stored on his notebook. He was assured that he had the current design version and could enter potential amendments found on-site back to the digital model.
“This was the first project on which we intensively used Autodesk Vault, and the tool proved to be really helpful. The difference in terms of team collaboration compared to projects conducted without Vault is huge, especially during the final project phases,” said Suchomel.
With this reference, Bosch Rexroth is now focusing on delivering the system to Russia, which has long had tradition of “stone” circuses. Additionally, with the experience and knowhow gained in the Martin and Krakow theatre projects, Bosch Rexroth wants to expand to the theatre stage technology markets – having created a study for a projected new theatre in Pilsen, Czech Republic, that is to include the world’s most innovative technologies.
Autodesk Inventor and Autodesk Vault were provided and implemented in Bosch Rexroth by CAD Studio, an Autodesk channel partner for the Czech Republic.
See also Bosch Rexroth reference customer (in Czech).