Protech Unveils CounterMate, a simple K-12 rigging automation solution

Protech

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Aug 24, 2015
Location
Las Vegas, NV
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 8, 2021

Protech unveils CounterMate, an affordable and easy to use automated rigging system for K-12 theaters.

CounterMate is a next generation counterweight assist winch. It uses sealed arbors, eliminating the need to adjust counterweight. The machine plugs into typical 120V single phase power circuit (other options are available) and it is operated from a touch screen HMI. It comes standard with an absolute encoder for accurate and repeatable positioning, and all units are variable speed. Users can save and recall "spike" positions, or operate the machine manually from up and down pushbuttons. CounterMate was designed for installation on 8" centers, making it ideal for both renovation and new construction projects.

Because of its intended use in K-12 theater, Protech has taken special considerations to exceed all relevant ESTA codes for safety and loading. Redundant braking is standard, as well as Safe-Torque Off ("STO"), redundant limit switches (software based and hard-struck ultimate limits). Because many school districts do not have access to automation technicians for troubleshooting or repair, each component of CounterMate is modular. In the unlikely event of a control problem, simply swap in a spare.

Capacities and speeds vary by machine, but they range from 1250lb electrics at 20fpm to special effect winches at more than 200 fpm. All capacities are listed in terms of safe working load. Unlike other machines and listed counterweight system capacities, the weight of the batten (typical, 60'), wire rope, etc is included in this value.

Protech has already tested launched and installed more than 100 axis, which followed more than one year of development and cycle/destruction testing.

MSRP: $6995 which includes a CounterMate Power Drive Unit ("PDU"), Motor Control Cabinet ("MCC"), Controller, sealed CounterMate arbor, and drive media. Delivery and installation not included.

Available for purchase Q3 2021.

For more information, visit www.countermaterigging.com or visit us at USITT 2021, Virtually Anywhere

Multiple patents pending.
Wide Pan.jpg
 

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 8, 2021

Protech unveils CounterMate, an affordable and easy to use automated rigging system for K-12 theaters.

CounterMate is a next generation counterweight assist winch. It uses sealed arbors, eliminating the need to adjust counterweight. The machine plugs into typical 120V single phase power circuit (other options are available) and it is operated from a touch screen HMI. It comes standard with an absolute encoder for accurate and repeatable positioning, and all units are variable speed. Users can save and recall "spike" positions, or operate the machine manually from up and down pushbuttons. CounterMate was designed for installation on 8" centers, making it ideal for both renovation and new construction projects.

Because of its intended use in K-12 theater, Protech has taken special considerations to exceed all relevant ESTA codes for safety and loading. Redundant braking is standard, as well as Safe-Torque Off ("STO"), redundant limit switches (software based and hard-struck ultimate limits). Because many school districts do not have access to automation technicians for troubleshooting or repair, each component of CounterMate is modular. In the unlikely event of a control problem, simply swap in a spare.

Capacities and speeds vary by machine, but they range from 1250lb electrics at 20fpm to special effect winches at more than 200 fpm. All capacities are listed in terms of safe working load. Unlike other machines and listed counterweight system capacities, the weight of the batten (typical, 60'), wire rope, etc is included in this value.

Protech has already tested launched and installed more than 100 axis, which followed more than one year of development and cycle/destruction testing.

MSRP: $6995 which includes a CounterMate Power Drive Unit ("PDU"), Motor Control Cabinet ("MCC"), Controller, sealed CounterMate arbor, and drive media. Delivery and installation not included.

Available for purchase Q3 2021.

For more information, visit www.countermaterigging.com or visit us at USITT 2021, Virtually Anywhere

Multiple patents pending.
View attachment 21657
Queries:
1; When you say "Enclosed Arbor", is the arbor weighted at time of installation by the installer?
2; Can an end user change what's being supported by / flown on a given pipe or are pipes drapes, et al, installed by the installer during installation and left in place indefinitely??
3; The weight of a heavy, lined, velour curtain changes appreciably due to varying moisture content between dry and humid days / seasons; is this taken into account???
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 

Protech

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Aug 24, 2015
Location
Las Vegas, NV
Hi Ron,

Thanks for your questions! We're live in the USITT booth if you are attending.

1) The arbor is weighted when the system is first installed, and then it is sealed.

2) The rigging system operates just as any other. Users are free to rig their own effects/soft goods/etc. Of course, capacity limits need to be observed. The motor handles the imbalance.

3) As long as the mass of the drape does not exceed the designed capacity of the set, no problem!

Our capacities are listed in terms of SWL of what can be hung below the batten. For that reason, a GP-750 is roughly comparable to a 1000lb counterweight set.
 
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RonHebbard

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Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
Hi Ron,

Thanks for your questions! We're live in the USITT booth if you are attending.

1) The arbor is weighted when the system is first installed, and then it is sealed.

2) The rigging system operates just as any other. Users are free to rig their own effects/soft goods/etc. Of course, capacity limits need to be observed. The motor handles the imbalance.

3) As long as the mass of the drape does not exceed the designed capacity of the set, no problem!

Our capacities are listed in terms of SWL of what can be hung below the batten. For that reason, a GP-750 is roughly comparable to a 1000lb counterweight set.
Is there a finite number of intermediate trims?
For example: Can a mid stage black have a fully out trim, two or three intermediate trims for use as a border depending upon what it's masking, a trim 1/4" above finished floor and a trim with it piled an inch onto the deck??

Are acc's and decc's fixed speeds over fixed travel distances, variable speeds and lengths of travel dependent up the load, cue speed, and distance travelled???

Are the motors AC or DC????
Do the motors whine objectionably as they slow, and crawl, to a stop?????
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 

RonHebbard

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Premium Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
Is there a finite number of intermediate trims?
For example: Can a mid stage black have a fully out trim, two or three intermediate trims for use as a border depending upon what it's masking, a trim 1/4" above finished floor and a trim with it piled an inch onto the deck??

Are acc's and decc's fixed speeds over fixed travel distances, variable speeds and lengths of travel dependent upon the load, cue speed, and distance travelled???

Are the motors AC or DC????
Do the motors whine objectionably as they slow, and crawl, to a stop?????
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
@teqniqal Care to comment??
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 
Last edited:

Protech

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Aug 24, 2015
Location
Las Vegas, NV
Is there a finite number of intermediate trims?
For example: Can a mid stage black have a fully out trim, two or three intermediate trims for use as a border depending upon what it's masking, a trim 1/4" above finished floor and a trim with it piled an inch onto the deck??

Are acc's and decc's fixed speeds over fixed travel distances, variable speeds and lengths of travel dependent up the load, cue speed, and distance travelled???

Are the motors AC or DC????
Do the motors whine objectionably as they slow, and crawl, to a stop?????
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
Hi Ron,

You are limited to 3 "spikes" in addition to the normal up/down and over travel limits. In your scenario you could have a full out, 1/4" AFF, buried 1", and then one additional trim. This isn't a hardware or software limitation, we just wanted to keep things manageable. The operator console was designed with ease of use as its primary goal. If there is demand for more, well that is an easy thing to add!

Acceleration and deceleration (as well as jerk) are pre-set at a default rate in "simple control" mode. "Advanced control" mode allows for move profiling including accel, decel, velocity, and jerk. In simple mode, only velocity is adjustable. You can run a great show in simple control mode, but there are extras to tweak for operators who would like to do so.

The motors are AC. We are using a VFD. The default slowest speed is very slow, but we wanted to keep the carrier frequency in line with our acoustic requirements for exactly that reason. When you start getting crazy, motors and drives start getting noisy (and hot, among other issues). The drive is capable of producing full torque at zero speed and has a number of built in safety features, including safe-torque off ("STO").

We have a Q&A on the website, and of course you can call us at any time. I'll try to check on here more often than I have in the past!
 
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teqniqal

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Apr 26, 2009
Location
Dallas / Fort Worth, Texas
I like that the control panel can be mounted separately from the hoist unit. My preferred location for a hoist control panel is on the pin rail so the operator is looking down across the stage in-line with the hoisted set.

Control panels that are located downstage near the Stage Manager's workstation are an accident waiting to happen.
 
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Protech

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Location
Las Vegas, NV
Hi Erich, I hope you are well!

One of my favorite setups were the old Gala controllers which were mounted on the pin rail, facing on stage. The variable speed units had analog joysticks and a LCD position readout. We had these at a venue I worked at in college and despite being 20+ years old, they worked great and they were very intuitive. CounterMate could certainly be used that way, as well.
 
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macsound

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Jun 15, 2018
Location
San Francisco, CA
Couple of questions, I don't have a venue in mind, just getting familiar with the new stuff if such a need arises.

Are the two hardware buttons, green and blue, programmable to run your lineset to the set in and out point or are they bump buttons?
Can you lockout the touchscreen and during a normal show, assuming each lineset only has a single in and out point, would you ever need to use the touchscreen?

Thanks for sharing!
 

Protech

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Aug 24, 2015
Location
Las Vegas, NV
Hi @macsound, thank you for your interest and your question.

The Up and Down buttons are used for making manual moves, and require the user to "hold to run" while moving the lineset.

The touch screen is used for executing pre-programmed spikes (or saving new ones). It automatically dims when not in use, and each machine can be locked out by turning off the keyswitch on the front of the machine.

Please let me know if that answers your question!
 

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