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The heart of the show

Stage technology control systems for luxury cruise ships, theatres, and TV studios are what customers come to SKS Mechatronics for. Deliveries cover design, components, installation, post commission services, and training. Shows on many of the world’s largest cruise ships today come alive thanks to SKS Mechatronics’ systems.
SKS Mechatronics Oy

Stage rigging control systems and turnkey professional stages lie at the heart of SKS Mechatronics’ offering, and over 90% of deliveries go to international customers. More than 50 cruise ships and theatres feature the company’s technology.

With roots that go back to the scenery department of one of Finland’s most iconic film companies, today’s SKS Mechatronics has become a pioneer in integrating advanced 3D software into show design. Using this approach, a show can be designed, run, and rehearsed on a computer screen before the first piece of scenery is even built or an hour of stage time is reserved.

The advantages are obvious, not least in terms of visualising a performance’s routines, the scenery positions and machinery motions that will be called for, and any possible problems that might arise on stage.

New-generation control

The latest generation of system to be released by SKS Mechatronics is its Stage Manager G6. Based on the proven technology of previous generations – and their ease of use, safety, and industry-leading online availability – the new system takes advantage of faster processors and Ethernet networks, and offers in-built readiness for wireless operations as well.

The system’s show programming and user interfaces have been designed for the needs of professional show stages from the ground up, and users only need a few minutes to learn the basic operation of their system’s stage machinery. Operators, stage managers, and directors can quickly test planned effects and stage settings, even including flying scenery, thanks to 3D visualisation.

This can also be done away from the actual location by using Visual Stage Offline management software – which can be very useful when mapping out the available space and scenery movements in advance before an operator has seen the actual stage, and for training new users.

High safety is always a priority, and Stage Manager G6 uses hardware designed for industrial automation and other applications that call for extreme precision. System status, stage equipment, and scenery are monitored in real time and everything is returned to a safe state very rapidly should a problem develop.

Stage Manager G6 features two real-time computers, and operators can switch over in seconds. Virtually any laptop can also be used as a spare control desk computer, if needed, for added flexibility.

Different versions of Stage Manager G6 have been developed for large and small theatre stages, concert halls and multipurpose halls, and road shows.

Many of SKS Mechatronics’ systems have been installed aboard cruise ships. These are particularly demanding projects, not only because of the need to adapt to on-board systems, but also because everything must be ready when a ship leaves on its maiden voyage.
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(Published in HighTech Finland 2009)