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"Live Pipe" Self-Climbing Hoist

Discussion in 'Scenery, Props, and Rigging' started by AshleyB, May 19, 2016.

  1. AshleyB

    AshleyB Member

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    Has anyone worked with Hoffend and Sons "Live Pipe" self-climbing hoists? On the spec sheet, it says its the next iteration of their Prodigy line, which you can get through ETC. I'm not finding any info or reviews on Live Pipe though. Anyone know anything about it? Our contractor is suggesting it for our space.

    We are a Theatre magnet program within a public high school. Our facility is twenty years old, and we currently have no way to lower battens at all. This system has been suggested as a more affordable option over more traditional electric winches.

    Any feedback appreciated, thanks!
     
  2. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    I won't say don't, but I don't like my clients to be guinea pigs - and I don't think this is much beyond prototype. There are some field proven products - like Desisti - that I'd feel more comfortable of not being an orphan with. Also, while personally a fan of self climbing gear, a lot of very smart rigging experts I network with shy away from it because of access for service. If it stops working, hard to get to, and hard to service (like how do you test the up limits?) I'd much rather see you put fixed drum winches somewhere readily accessible and mule to loft blocks than spread motors around. I'm fairly confident in 20 years, you'd say I was right (but I'll probably not be alive to gloat so don't worry.) Keep in mind that a motorized overheads hoist will require annual service at probably $1500-2500 each time, and if they need a lift to do it, add the cost of rental of that for a day. The dirty secret of motorized rigging is the required service and shorter lifetime before replacement is necessarily compared to manual or fixed. (A catwalk will last forever without maintenance.) Don't think I'm anti-motorization - just want you to be realistic and not surprised.

    Going to dealers, I don't believe you are getting the objectivity to make the best decisions on where to invest. At this level of motorized hoists, are you sure you can't justify the initial expense of an independent consultant who doesn't have a product to push, to at least review and comment and advise on a long range plan?
     
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  3. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    FYI - Youtube of a livepipe at WFX:
     
    AshleyB likes this.
  4. porkchop

    porkchop Well-Known Member

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    I'm pretty skeptical of anyone who claims to be working on the next iteration of another company's product. ETC put a whole lot of engineering time and effort and coming from my world of off the shelf solutions from Stage Technologies (Now TAIT) the package they put together is a wonder of electrical engineering. If another company is selling a similar product for less they had to find that cost savings somewhere. Without knowing exactly what they've done to bring this in at a lower price point I would be very hesitant to recommend it.
     
    Van likes this.
  5. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    Just from the big picture view, som irony - and/or humor - that Donny Hoffend Jr. had his hands on the design of the Prodigy and Vortek - both ETC products now - as well as the LivePipe - which I presume ETC was not interested in.

    I have no clue really on how this works other than what I get from the cartoon like images - OK computer renderings - on the internet - but seems to capitalize on use of a single smallish modular component. So you build 7 smaller hoists for a seven line set versus 1 bigger one that handles 7 lines. They talk about a new brake design - an expensive part for the Prodigy. Built in Canada so good exchange rate at the moment. Self climbers should be less expensive to install. I know they have economized cable management for electrics. I suspect a yoyo drum - always cheaper to make than a grooved drum - but pure speculation. Hard to know what else.

    I'm still not interested till there are more installed - maybe 100 or so - and I have a chance to see one operating. Perhaps if at WFX a while ago they will be at LDI.
     
  6. porkchop

    porkchop Well-Known Member

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    That's what I was thinking as well. With the motor being static and the cable coming off in what appears to be a zero fleet angle configuration it sure seems like it would have to be a yoyo drum. This would make repeatability of positioning something that I would look very closely at. With small diameter cable it's certainly possible that the variance wouldn't be enough to effect the lighting plot, but the idea doesn't sit well with me rigging wise.
     
  7. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    Well, I agree it strikes me as too near minimal, but a whole lot better than chain motors and truss imho.

    And live pipe is probably 1/4 the cost of big tow.
     
  8. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    The only real advantage to a self-climber setup is the space savings. If you have the space for a traditional winch setup, you likely will get more longevity and better serviceability.
    I see no reason why you couldn't get repeat ability from a yo-yo drum winch provided that your controller is capable of running the encoder feedback through a spiral calculation. I would think you would want to do that anyway as otherwise your velocity would change over the course of travel.
     
  9. soundman

    soundman Well-Known Member

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    That concept works well for flat ribbon, possible with 10 electrical conductors woven into it ;) , round aircraft cable maybe not so much. It is less likely to stack nice and neat ontop of it self. Really the only winches that I have seen that are pile on are for kabuki sniffers and austrian curtains. things where close enough is good enough.
     
  10. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    Round wire rope flattens some when wound and the greater the load, the more it flattens. Minor loss of repeatability it load varies a lot.

    Besides space savings, install is a little easier and quicker, and easier to deal with unfriendly and irregular structural framing arrangements.

    Not a fan or proponent, just laying out issues.
     
  11. porkchop

    porkchop Well-Known Member

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    Basically exactly what @soundman said. Will it be a problem every time, almost certainly not. Probably not even very often, but it only takes once. If the encoder was measuring travel along the vertical cable then it isn't really an issue, but I doubt that configuration would be cheap and more parts always bring reliability into question. Especially when the motor is attached to the flying piece hanging in mid air.
     
  12. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    In my scenery / automation shop days, we had quite a number of yo-yo drums flying window frames in the musical 'Tommy' in both Offenbach / Frankfurt Germany and again the following year with a second rig in London, England. They were all driven by Emerson AC servo's with resolver feed-back and none gave us any accuracy / repeatability problems. The 6 floor tracks plus the flown video monitor bridge (that they danced on) along with the phone booth that rose out of the floor were all driven via grooved drums but all of the flown window frames, five per production come to mind, were flown via yo-yo drums with zero problems over either / both runs. In some instances, yo-yo's have somewhat of an advantage when flying as they're automatically reducing their decent rate as they near their 'in' trim.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard.
     
  13. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Eight actually... (and I spent the better part of last year on that project BTW) But we have done it with wire-rope as well. It is just a matter of making the drum so that the rope stacks nicely.
     
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  14. Instalboy94

    Instalboy94 New Member

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    As someone who has installed over 50 of these hoists and built over half I know almost every problem that they encounter and most every fix. And would love to answer any questions anyone has on the system.
     
  15. Instalboy94

    Instalboy94 New Member

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    Not sure if my company has a non disclosure with hoffend but I will check. I can say I hate this product and sure it’s easy to install. But it’s designed to work in a perfect world and ours is anything but
     
  16. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    Since Hoffend no longer has an interest in live pipe - as in sold the imtellectual property - you probably dont need to worry. It will be interesting to se if it is developed by the new owner.
     
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  17. Instalboy94

    Instalboy94 New Member

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  18. Instalboy94

    Instalboy94 New Member

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    You’re right. I believe etc now owns livepipe. And had for a little. Any questions on its build or functionality. I honestly hate this system and want to see it better developed even if it puts money into the pockets of the hoffends. And personally have never dealt with hoffend senior just his son. Anyways I’ve seen talk of encoders and yo-yos and I would love to say that’s what happens but it’s honestly closer to driveshaft rigging
     

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