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How igus zigzag e-chains take centre stage

11 February 2019

Since its opening in 2011, the Kauffman Center for the performing arts in Kansas City, Missouri has hosted over 2.5 million guests and many notable performers. In the canopy, which sits above the centre stage, cable reels were originally used to manage the cables for the speaker and lighting trusses.

It wasn’t long before they began to have issues with conductor breakage, signal loss and failure of the reels to retract fully the heavy cables. Once the reels began to fail, maintenance personnel were forced to improvise a temporary solution. This entailed using extension cords and sending maintenance personnel into the canopy to manually retract the cables each time the trussed needed to be raised or lowered.

As a traditional cable reel only manages one cable per reel, there were 16 reels in the canopy – igus replaced and updated these reels with just four zigzag cable management systems. At the front of the stage two igus zigzag systems were installed on the main lighting truss, and two on the stage left and stage right lighting trusses.

The zigzag system works by using a standard igus e-chain that is assembled in a unique way to match the customer application. Specific sections of the e-chain are reversed, which allows the energy chain to collapse neatly and repeatedly into the collection basket, which is installed on the lighting truss. As a standard igus energy chain is used, standard chainflex cables are used – this enables any of the cables to be changed, upgraded or replaced as needed, with minimal to no changes required for the cable management system. This is not typically possible with a traditional cable reel system.

igus offers the stage and theatre industry standard off-the-shelf and fully customised cable management systems. For the Kauffman Center, igus developed and supplied a fully engineered solution as well as provided installation services. To watch the video, please follow this link:

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