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Pressure sensing for stage automation

Arecent stage automation project required a sweeping staircase to retract once the actor had moved on to the next step giving the illusion that he was walking in mid-air. The solution was developed by Delstar Engineering, which specialises in the design, manufacture and installation of stage engineering. With over 30 years experience in this field, Delstar's merger with Stage Technologies in 2008 has seen it become a leading provider of stage engineering and automation in the global live performance market, including many top west end productions.

In the retracting stair application, an array of pressure-sensitive switching mats were designed to the customer's individual requirements and were installed to the treads of the staircase producing a spectacular and moving scene for the star studded musical extravaganza.

The pressure switching mats were supplied by Tapeswitch, and were manufactured using a new advanced technology which the company reckons will open up new and exciting markets. While Tapeswitch has traditionally focused on safety applications, the new technology introduces a more reliable and durable sensor for signalling and control applications outside of the safety market. The mats can be manufactured in custom shapes, are very thin and are capable of being discreetly fitted under most flooring surfaces without causing a trip hazard. The perfect application for this type of sensor is in situations where the thickness of the sensor is critical.

Tapeswitch products use the company's patented 'press-at-any-point' ribbon-switch technology and other switching principles and techniques to provide innovative solutions to a multitude of applications in many market sectors. Marketing manager Karen Keighley comments: "Working with Delstar Engineering has given us some very challenging and exciting problems to solve with spectacular results. We have produced totally bespoke solutions to meet the requirements of the application, helping to deliver the creatives' vision."
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