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How organised is your stage cable management?

In the UK, the stage and theatre industry is huge and having an organised stage cable management system is crucial. Not only from an aesthetics point of view but also from a safety one. So, having an organised system ticks so many boxes.

Why do you need to organise your stage cables?

Most of the chaos tends to be behind the scenes at theatres and finding loose cables lying around is not unheard of, but these can be the source of some major issues. With most productions, performers will come off and on stage regularly, using the wings of the staging area. If cables are strewn on the floor, this can be a disaster and could end up with someone getting seriously injured.  Luckily, companies such as igus® have vowed to create solutions that help prevent such disasters. With ever increasing digitisation and automation, this will only become more of a potential problem.

What products can help in stage cable management?

Space constraints behind the scenes can cause problems for designers and engineers in the stage and theatre industry, so products such as the igus® e-spool® and zig zag chains are ideal for such applications which require stage cable management.

The e-spool® is a cable reel system but works without a slip ring. This drum allows different cable types to be safely guided together.  Since most reels can only carry one cable this can drastically reduce the number of units (and therefore space and cost) required.  These can operate across different travel lengths and can be used in all directions, horizontally, vertically and diagonally, allowing flexible movement in restricted spaces.

The zigzag system is an alternative, using the modular nature of energy chains that allow a large number of different cables to be moved up to heights and then stowed into a custom-made basket. As the platform rises, the chain unfolds and allows the energy supply to reach the highest points of the theatre uninterrupted and safely. These are normally commonly employed on lighting trusses, being mounted on top of the truss itself.

What about the cables themselves?

Standard static run cables are less suited to such moving applications because of the constant bending/flexing/coiling.  The great news is that igus® provides a full range of dynamic cables which suit these management systems whilst covering all major electrical types (multicore power, data, CAT5/6/6A/7, and even fibre optic cables).  For ease of installation, the chosen management system will be provided with all necessary cables fully fitted, with the   tail-lengths requested and even connectors where required too.  This means a one-stop shop for the complete application.

How do you know which is the best system to use?

There are many variations of the e-spool® system that we can offer for stage cable management, as well as many standardised zigzag chain systems and the new e-spool® microphone motor reeler!

All of these systems are ideal for the confined spaces of stage engineering, ensuring all energy sources are manoeuvred within the space safely and are all energy saving.  Every stage and theatre is different, different layouts, different movement requirements but fundamentally, the goals are the same, the need for efficiency, technicality and durability.

Raising a platform, the zigzag system is perfect for this. Below the stage, equipment needs to be guided through the installation spaces within the stage floor. The e-spool is the system for this job!

For more information on How organised is your stage cable management? talk to igus UK

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