Movecat supplies kinetic solutions for the ESC 2011

Movecat's kinetic solutions for the events and entertainment industry comprise electric chain hoists, controllers and accessorie

The final of the 56th Eurovision Song Contest, which was broadcast live from the Esprit Arena in Düsseldorf on the 14th May, succeeded in living up to very high expectations; that's one point upon which everyone involved is agreed. The NDR, the City of Düsseldorf and DüsseldorfCongress, which operates the Esprit Arena, all drew extremely positive conclusions from the event: "The challenge of turning a football stadium into a gigantic television studio with an audience numbering tens of thousands was met, and the level of interest within Germany was overwhelming – as the outstanding figures make abundantly clear," reports NDR Director-General Lutz Marmor. Thirty-five thousand people attended the final live in the Esprit Arena, while a further 13.83 million viewers within Germany and 120 million worldwide followed the Eurovision Song Contest on TV.

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One of the winners of the Eurovision Song Contest was undoubtedly the Cologne-based events technology enterprise Cape Cross. A professional outfit, specializing in equipment and production services, Cape Cross was responsible for the rigging, lighting and media equipment for the Eurovision Song Contest 2011 – making the company the principle technical service provider involved the production. It was Cape Cross that transformed a football stadium in Düsseldorf into the largest television studio in Europe.

To satisfy the very stringent safety guidelines governing this type of event, Movecat equipment from partner Stage Kinetik of Castrop-Rauxel was employed – a tribute to the exceptionally mature functionality and BGV C1 and SIL 3 safety features of the kinetic equipment from Movecat. For the Eurovision Song Contest in the Esprit Arena, Stage Kinetik deployed inter alia ninety-two VMK-S 500-24 chain hoists and V-Motion Power Packs compliant with SIL 3, four Expert-T II system controllers, as well as a various network distributors and boosters – all  from Movecat.

The equipment was needed for the lavish scenic transformations of the set. In all, ninety active Movecat VMK-S 500-24 devices were used with a further two held in reserve, these being position-controlled Vario hoists each designed for safe working loads of 500 kg, with speeds continuously adjustable between 0 and 400 mm/sec (0 to 24 m/min), two maintenance-free brakes with contact-free function supervision, independent high-resolution incremental and absolute encoders, a dynamic real load measurement system with function supervision, a four-way geared limit switch and temperature supervision.

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The implementation of a production on this scale and of this complexity even involved new technical considerations, since applications in which controllers and drives are separated by over 350 metres are by no means commonplace. To resolve the problem, one of many such, Movecat developed, manufactured and commissioned within the space of only three weeks a redundant fibre-optic transmission system between the control consoles and the first network distributors as well as high-performance network masters.

The hoists were tested and approved in the factory and then again at the arena by a qualified expert in accordance with BGG-912. Aside from the technical imperatives of safety, the production called for a complete system that had been tested in practice with a modular, service-friendly structure, redundant implementation of significant components, group and collision supervision, show-optimized programming of way- and time-synchronous group and object runs, show-optimized recall by means of cue buttons, and network functionality over extreme distances.

For the Eurovision Song Contest, the Esprit Arena was renamed the Düsseldorf Arena. The construction of the stage and the installation of the events equipment took three weeks, with a further three weeks given over to a marathon series of rehearsals for the 43 nations competing, who had to complete several prior and dress rehearsals ahead of the first show. From the 1st May onwards, the show programming for the performances of the individual acts was completed and tested in alternating shifts. In all, the production involved the hoisting of over 40 tons of equipment, more than 6,000 movements, over 60 presets and separate show parts for each of the 43 nations competing – the implementation being the work of programmers Jan Kleinenbrands, Guido Wydra, Niko Rösch and Jens Gerhardt.

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The two semi-finals were disputed by 19 nations each, each hoping for a place in the final. The first semi-final took place on the 10th and the second on the 12th May. The final of this year's Eurovision Song Contest was on the 14th May.

Movecat's kinetic solutions for the events and entertainment industry comprise electric chain hoists, controllers and accessories "made in Germany" and adhering strictly to the latest standards and guidelines. These kinetic solutions are particularly valued wherever loads weighting tons have to be moved frequently over people's heads.

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