Marginal Column

Photo | Bosch Rexroth AG Magnifier

Art and technology: dancers at the Warsaw National Theater, which was completely renovated in the early 1990s – Rexroth recently refurbished the stage control system.

A stunning performance

Rexroth technology plays a leading role on many stages.

 

Rexroth stage technology celebrated its premiere literally in its own backyard. In 1975 the city of Lohr needed drives and a control system for a movable podium in its renovated city auditorium. Hydraulics proved to be the ideal solution, as they are highly dynamic and above all quiet as well. This successful debut encouraged Rexroth to plunge whole-heartedly into show business. Previously a marginal segment of the Group’s portfolio, stage technology rapidly developed into an independent line of business with numerous orders from around the world. Whether Vienna, Johannesburg or Riad: Rexroth hydraulics make things move in numerous theaters both large and small – on, above and below the stage.

Users were equally impressed by the performance and the high safety standards of these systems. Because a stage is not only “all the world” but also an enormously safety-critical workplace. Actors and stagehands are the only occupational groups that are allowed to work beneath suspended loads without safety equipment – falling flats could severely injure actors and workers. Consequently, sophisticated safety measures are actuated when a fault occurs, in order to prevent a fall. But a specially developed stage control sys­tem with intelligent software, together with special sensors, monitors the action to ensure that this cannot happen in the first place. The first version – the VTB 1000 – premiered in 1988 on the main stage “Grosses Haus” of the Staat­stheater Stuttgart, and was refined over multiple generations down to today’s SYB 3.0.

For many years, Rexroth used primarily hydraulics in stage drives – but electro­mechanical solutions have increasingly been taking center stage over the past 15 years. Frequency converter technology had become so advanced that it represented a true alternative. As the technology leader in the stage sector, Rexroth rounded out its stage technology know-how in 2003 through acquisitions. The company became a single-source supplier, subsequently enabling it to win large-scale projects such as the new Oslo Opera, the National Grand Theatre in Beijing and the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. The experts decide on a case­by-case basis whether a hydraulic, electromechanical or combined solution is best for each individual application. Today, Rexroth is not only an expert for the fabrication of movable stage machinery. It also supports the overall conceptualization and project planning of state-of-the-art theaters and opera houses with its decades of experience.