Load Cells and Braceworks Boost Safety and Efficiency

Load Cells and Braceworks Boost Safety and Efficiency

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Organizations that want to stage powerful conferences, trade shows and similar gatherings for their staff, clients, vendors and other stakeholders will partner with industry leaders like Alford Media to make those plans a reality. However, the technology that makes these events a reality constantly develops and changes, meaning we need to learn about, implement and effectively use these new tools to create great results for our clients. Two related technologies, load cells, and Vectorworks’ Braceworks help our staff improve overhead safety for hanging lighting, speakers and screens while gaining more visibility into the planning process and reducing the time spent physically setting up a venue.

Load Cells Provide Vital Information Throughout an Event

Load cells have a variety of applications inside and out of the events industry, and we’re happy to have them in place – specifically, the Ron StageMaster 6000 G4 – for use at our shows. These devices provide critical feedback during set up and throughout the conference by electronically measuring the weight of the various components hung from rigging on venue ceilings. The precise nature of the devices is to provide real-time load information to a computer or mobile device through a graphical interface. The result is an interconnected picture of both individual weights and the total amount tied to each point and the rigging as a whole.

With such a strong focus on safety at every event, the value of load cells can’t be overstated. The same is true for accuracy in measuring weights and ensuring all elements of an event are successfully accounted for in both pre-planning and during the event. Load cells bring major advances in both categories, which ultimately mean better all-around experiences for our partners and clients.

The ultimate goal of load cells is to find and eliminate failures before they happen. With heavier items becoming more common during our load-ins, using multiple motors to bring assets like video walls into place is an increasingly frequent task. Load cell monitoring helps achieve the most effective balance, avoiding excess stress on individual motors as well as ensuring crews stay under maximum load limits for all of the fixed structural points inside venues. They also facilitate safe on-the-fly adjustments to make the most of the unique setup of any facility.

The load cells we use have a 5,000-hour battery life, which means they stay constantly active, from initially raising lights, speakers, and screens to making sure they’re stable during the event itself and the load-out process. With a transmission range of about two-thirds of a mile and a 200-cell upper limit per monitoring station, the information can be shared with employees physically raising the components, project managers, and other supervisory staff in other parts of the building with equal ease, all on one device.

Braceworks Offers Total Visibility into Weights, Loads and Stress

As a plugin into the computer-aided design and drafting program, Vectorworks, Braceworks offers a digital environment for determining everything from individual weights of motors, lights, screens, and other assets to the final weight of a fully designed show. This approach provides real-time feedback during the creative process, allowing project managers to remain aware of the all the weights involved and avoid potential issues with overloading specific points of the temporary structures erected for events.

The ability to instantly check loads, produce related calculations and create certified documents with that information to share with venues and our partners is a major advantage in terms of safety and information sharing. Braceworks helps everyone involved in an event stay on the same page in terms of weights and loads, avoiding unpleasant surprises and last-minute changes to carefully made plans.

Another major advantage delivered by Braceworks is the software’s ability to save time for project managers while simultaneously improving the design process. Instead of using spreadsheets, calculators and pen and paper – processes that can easily fall victim to human error – the Braceworks plugin ensures the math is correct and automatically warns project managers about overloaded points and other potential issues.

Versatility is also a key factor in our adoption of Braceworks. The system can analyze a broad array of equipment and situations, from straight and curved trusses to straight and distributed load types. The ability to accurately plan the positioning and load of equipment in any venue is an advantage that can’t be overlooked either.

The potential for increased regulation of facilities is another factor that influenced the purchase. Although no sweeping legislation is imminent, the possibility of more stringent regulations for documenting safe weights and loads with respect to an individual venue’s limits is a definite possibility. Having Braceworks in place will help us adjust to any such changes.

New technologies are always exciting, and we’re especially pleased to have two new tools that make shows safer and more efficient in our arsenal.




Alford Media