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Rigging does wear out

Discussion in 'Scenery, Props, and Rigging' started by BillConnerFASTC, May 22, 2017.

  1. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I have a little project where they knew something was amiss with the rigging - 30 or so linesets from the 1960's I'd estimate, wire guided arbors, from a manufacturer long out of business, and from an era where most parts were cast iron from scrap, basically ignoring a lot of metallurgy good practices. Looks like it was installed just a day after they stopped using clove hitches to attach the 6x7 wire rope to the battens. They said they wanted to do it right but I don't think they knew it was more than some adjustments, lubrication, and maybe wire rope. Facilities people get cold or hot, and understand the boiler or ac has to be replaced. Black water down the hall, and plumbing has to be replaced. But try to tell them rigging has to be replaced and you'd think you were asking them to replace the dirt under the footings, which they would do if there was a pollution issue. So I present three options from fully motorized to all dead hung, in the $100K to 500K range, and only then do they say they are thinking $20K.

    So, just a reminder that rigging does wear out. I tell my clients today that without motors but with basic maintenance, 50 years except 10-20 yrs on curtains, probably 25 on track. I don't want to talk about motorized rigging life because almost no one would install it.

    My point is don't get mislead into believing non-motorized rigging lasts forever.
     
  2. barry.a.nelson

    barry.a.nelson Member

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    This is Deja Vu. I come across this all the time. Recently I have been pushing Rigging inspections so that the proper authority within a organization knows where their system stands and can plan for updates or maintenance.
     
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  3. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    A huge, and growing, part of our business is rigging inspection. The pictures and horror stories that come back from the field are often jaw dropping. Then, so often, as Bill said, they freak out at what it's going to cost replace. You do run across the occasionally, well-maintained system where someone actually "Get's it".
     
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  4. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    We did our entire system 2 years ago after 37 years online and it was pretty worn. One of my biggest issues with motorized rigging is the lifespan. Our pit system is controlled by 3 huge relay cabinets and a ton of limit switches... we can't hardly get anyone to work on it because no one knows how to troubleshoot it. As encoders age, limits wear out... and PLC's simply stop getting supported these large automation installs are going to have some major issues. Unless we become like the elevator industry that bascially swaps out all the electronics at regular intervals we are going to be in a world of hurt in 20 years. One of the reasons we didn't install any automation in that rigging project was I knew the powers that be wouldn't want to support it.
     
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  5. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @Footer Are your pit lifts hydraulic, screw jacks, scissors or, if you're lucky, Spira-lifts?
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2017
  6. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Screw jack
     
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  7. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Thank you @Footer. I understand and you have my sympathies.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard.
     
  8. Amiers

    Amiers I wear 6 headphones. I'm that Good!!

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    I would say it's not the "us" that don't get it yet the people above us. They see it working thus doesn't need to be replaced.

    Harping that it needs to be fixed or upgrade falls on deaf ears. Until it is to late which needless to says sucks.
     
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  9. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Yes, but users are sometimes their own worst enemies in my experience. Many times when faced with budget challenges in the planning and design stage of a project, it's the users who volunteer to accept less - fewer, lower quality, smaller, whatever - than I have recommended. In the case or replacement and maintenance, the users continuing to use the systems simply enable the "people above us" to not accept the need to replace it. I know it's tough as an employee to have to make waves, but the potential consequences of not are also significant.

    Be smart, act calm, express dire concern for safety, use the "its for the children" line conservatively, and convince the powers that be to hire a consultant that won't cave. Keep in mind a sales rep is only going to seem to be self serving in recommending large expenditures, and too often offer to scale back what should be done in order to sell something.
     
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  10. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I just oversaw the replacement of controls on a 20 year old Gala spira-lift, a project that I had been the consultant on originally. (God, this is the second one of these - a lighting system replacement and now a major lift renovation.) After a lot of study and research, came to the conclusion to replace the controls - every electrical/electronic piece from feeder to motor, not the motor. The Gala device is conservatively rated for like 25,000 operations which in all but a pro-show in Vegas is a long time (say 5 cycles a week which is a lot when it sits unused for a month or two, 250 year, 100 years ....) so just had it inspected and minimal service. Otherwise, works like new with touch screen controller, presets, a much more precise controller, and more interchangeable parts.

    I have more reservations about a screw jack and especially the caissons (but something makes me think yours are above grade???) than I do a Gala but the wear is measurable., and screw jacks in industrial applications go hundred of thousands operations, far more taxing than a pit lift. It is hard to find the right people. Darn few pit lift technicians.
     
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  11. AudJ

    AudJ Active Member

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    Hmm- the system you describe in the original post is exactly what exists in my building installed in '55 - clove hitches and all. They get it inspected every few years by the same person, who says "if it ain't broke..."

    2 pipes don't have enough arbor to support the weight of the architect-designed lighting system, so half the fixtures have to be moved elsewhere (Altman fresnels - nothing heavy). Lost a grant because the pipes we wanted to use to support equipment didn't have enough capacity.

    Drives me nuts when I tell administration what needs to happen, and the "expert" disregards.
     
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  12. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Well, the system I saw was definitely broke, bent lock rail (where hit by runaways) and all. Many battens were bent, some loft blocks hanging by chain, curtains in tatters, and a fire safety curtain that would definitely not close. I think for you it's time to get a new inspector. You know, its theatre, and we kill the messenger.
     
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  13. AudJ

    AudJ Active Member

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    Low bid. Government facility.
     
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  14. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    And they like him/her because they don't cost them any money.
     
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  15. egilson1

    egilson1 Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Did an inspection today and all the rope locks were very loose. When tightened to get appropriate holding pressure it added to much drag to the system when you tried to operate it. Turns out the handle
    and the corresponding surface on the lock cam were worn down from years of use, preventing the lock from applying enough pressure on the hand line.

    Moral of the story is even hard metal wears down with friction and time.
     
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  16. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    All the machinery for both my pits is built very well... most are Ford truck parts. Its the electronics we have issues with. The umbilicals for our seating wagons always have issues. Limit switches slip or don't make contact. Trying to get the powers that be to start looking at installing a PLC and going that direction. Over the years I have kicked out the company that used to maintain it and just started doing it myself. Every time they came in things would get worse. And yes... it is nearly impossible to find someone out there who can actually work on this. All the theatrical contractors in the area look at it and run...

    Phone 2013-1420.jpg
     
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  17. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Is the center post a hydraulic dampener?
     
  18. JohnD

    JohnD Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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  19. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Its actually just a guide. From what I'm told there is no fluid it it... it just there to keep the whole thing square. I have two pits there and they both have very tight tolerances for a 1960's design.
     
  20. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @Footer Are you saying you have two pits, one in each of two venues or do you have two lifts in your larger space and none in your second space?
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard.
     

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