Rammstein is known for their spectacular pyro and fire-fuelled shows, full-force industrial metal sounds, uncompromising and sometimes controversial lyrics, their thrilling, hair-raising hi-energy live performances and adversarial commercial success.
Entertainment engineering specialist WIcreations is working with the band and their talented production team on the current three-month stadium and festival tour around the UK and Europe including Russia and Latvia.
WIcreations seized the opportunity of working with one of the highest-profile live bands on the planet to launch its new integrated WImotion system. A system which gives precise control and synchronisation of individual and group moving chain hoists utilising SIL3 group position monitoring.
WI Creations, well known for their own industrial-strength automation and engineering solutions, was asked to supply several custom staging and automation elements for the tour. All this is being co-ordinated for WI Creations by Koen Peeters and Hans Willems, who were asked onboard by the tour’s technical consultant Jeremy Lloyd of UK based Wonder Works.
They have worked closely with Rammstein’s own creative team, a collaboration between lighting designer Patrick Woodroffe from Woodroffe Basset Design (WBD), Production Designers Wieder Design Studio and Wonder Works.
The band themselves are also very involved in their stage presentations. WI Creations has designed and built six back-wall structures which are part of the set and contain integrated lighting elements. These form a grid-like structure of five wide by seven high sections, each measuring 6m wide by 11m high. With 104 Vari*Lite 6000’s moving lights, 210 Solaris Flare Q+ LED strobe/washes and six ColorForce 72 inch LED battens are integrated into these.
All the lights are rigged on integrated mounts that slide over the grid structure and into place. WI Creations’ design means they remain on the structural beams during transportation, making it extremely fast to install these six major structural pieces.
WI Creations has also created a set of ‘Tron Fascias’ as they are called, eight in total, six of which are in between the back walls, with two rigged on the main left and right pod towers, and two more on the upstage pod towers.
All the Trons have integrated RGBW led strips and ColorForce LED battens in bespoke waterproof housings. The fascia’s vertical splits were dictated by the dimensions of the LED battens, with 42 units of the 72-inch version and ten of the 48-inch version, all integrated.
All the Trons and the fascia structures have digitally printed scenic panels to guarantee a consistent look and to add durability. Manual handling is minimized because all the Wi-elements travel in dedicated custom touring dollies, allowing them to be loaded in and out from these by their own overhead-rigged chain hoists whilst being guided in vertical tracks.
The 400 square metre central tower – which has 23 fascia panels in two stacks of 11 and one stack of 10 on the front – is also a WI construction. This is made up from four vertical rails, each loaded with 11 Robe BMFL moving lights and 10 Solaris Flare strobes.
These lighting fixtures all feature individual weather protection. Each of the main sound towers is outfitted with another 10 Claypaky Scenius moving lights on the onstage side, and five Ayrton K25s on the upstage side. Again, these individually weatherproofed moving lights travel up and down guiding rails on bespoke carriages, making installation extremely neat.
WI was also asked to create an easy-to-rig system for 10 kabuki drops. Six of these are deployed in the back wall area, with four more on the freestanding field towers. The kabuki frames each have four integrated kabuki brakes. They can be loaded with the drapes and rigged from ground level and are transported in their own custom built touring dollies.
As an addition to the StageCo-built band roof, production commissioned WI to create an easy to rig yet neatly integrated pyro trough along the downstage edge (of the roof), which holds a variety of pyro and flame devices complete with related wireless control electronics.
The centrepiece of the main tower is formed by a 5m wide by 9m high HD video screen that moves 27 meters up and down the tower. The screen is wind-braced and guided along a set of vertical rails to allow an in-use wind loading of 15 metres-per-second.
To top off this demanding but hugely exhilarating project, WI created a scenic lift platform that raises the six Rammstein band members 26 meters above the main stage. A total of ten 1250kg SIL3 WImotion hoists are used to move the video screen and band platform. Both can travel at speeds of up to 0.4m per second.
The WI-hoists are controlled by the WI-VSD-SIL3+ controllers. These multi-purpose WImotion controllers guarantee a SIL3 safety level. At the heart of this machinery system is the WImotion controller which deals with the individual and group synchronisation of all the moving chain hoists using SIL3 group position monitoring.
Using the all-new WI-Desk with a touch-screen enabled user interface and running WI’s proprietary MCA control software, the operator can ‘joystick’ the hoists into position. MCA allows for the easy setup of group halt options, enabling a ‘position lock’ for all motors in a group and to set the maximum group and individual channel loads.
The MCA user interface is complemented with a WI-ES-Commander unit and a SIL3 group-position monitoring system providing protection against loss of the group synchronisation. The ES-Commander also acts as Emergency Stop and a Hold-to-run hub for all devices; it monitors each group’s SIL3 upper and lower data-limits for all dual-encoder WI-hoists and it safely halts the movement in case of positional discrepancies.
This innovative safety system concept allows hassle-free plug-and-play configuration of daisy-chained drives and a variety of safety signal distribution modules for the most flexible setups.
MD of WIcreations, Hans Willems said: “Delivering this SIL3 machine in time wasn’t actually too difficult, because our NEW WImotion system was already ready! Everything aligned for this to be the perfect time to launch it!”
WIcreations commissioned Blumano to co-ordinate the risk assessments and SIL3 documentation. The WI moving video and band platform systems are being managed on the road by two dedicated WI crew, while the scenic equipment is being managed by the production crews.