Motor Stage Automation designs bespoke flying runway for Suspekt

Photo: Bo Flemming

Christian Vigsø and his team at Motor Stage Automation (MSA) were delighted to be asked to design a bespoke flying runway solution for a recent massive show by Danish hip-hop phenom, Suspekt. 

Vigsø was initially approached by Suspekt’s lighting designer and set designer Johnny Thinggaard and their production manager and show director Jonas Friis, who wanted a flying 45-metre walkway to enable the band to traverse between the Main and B stages throughout the carefully choreographed performance.

With VIGSØ Dryhire already confirmed as the event’s lighting supplier via project and crew management specialist 4K Projects, MSA also presented the solution for the show’s required automation engineering.

The company has dealt with flying catwalks many times before, explained MSA project manager Jimmy Jonhson, however up to this point, there has not been a safe, easily deployable, off-the-shelf, manufactured product available to achieve the goal.

Collaborating with German partners HOF Alutec, M:CAT was born. Dennis Klostermann, co-CEO of HOF, noted: “As always, it was very exciting to be working with Christian again. He often comes to us with offbeat and interesting projects which are out of ‘normality’ and these usually require quick-thinking solutions and rapid development!”

He continued, that with the basic idea from Christian already very clear, the task presented no “major challenges,” however the connection system between the different catwalk elements was a “small” brain teaser. Normally, trusses have a maximum of 4 connection points, and some manufacturers still struggle to make this a perfect fit, but M:CAT has 8 connection points which must fit simultaneously, so HOF had to produce low tolerance parts.

M:CAT comprised three-metre-long, two-metre-wide sections of modular catwalk for flexibility. A load capacity of 250kg per square metre with a free hanging span of 6 metres between the hanging points has been calculated with dynamic forces considered.

For the load in at Parken, all the hoists were mounted in HOF MLT2 trusses which were rolled into the venue simultaneously for positioning and to get the structure into the air efficiently.

Custom lifting brackets were fabricated to align with MSA’s automation system, in this case powered by 22 by 500kg Kinesys Apex vari-speed hoists which can run at speeds up to 30 metres a minute, connected to a Kinesys Mentor4 safety controller, lifting a total weight of 3.5 tonnes to millimetre precision.

The automation system was rigged on a ‘Mothergrid’ installed into Parken’s roof for the gig constructed from HOF MLT Two truss. It was flown using two tonne Chainmaster D8+ hoists, and the catwalk was trimmed at 23 metres.

Attached to its underside were 60 DVT-Light PJ-5 LED wash luminaires, this enabled some visual trickery for the Suspekt show. Thinggaard wove the runway’s movement into the show narrative. It was used as one linear track for the Suspekt show, but Jonhson noted the potential for creating shapes with M:CAT. The 45m system used for the Suspekt show fitted expediently into one 40ft artic.