A piano that operates in and out of water is making waves in “O” by Cirque du Soleil at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nevada. “The show’s technical team needed a robust, motorized, battery-powered, submersible motion control system for the piano to give precise, reliable operation show after show, year after year,” said Richard Halstead, President, Empire Magnetics, a leading supplier of specialty motor products, motion control systems, and support services. “Additionally, because the piano must operate in water with performers, safety precautions demanded that the motor operate at less than 24 V and still generate enough power to move the piano around the stage,” he said.
After three weeks of work – from design and fabrication, to testing and operation – Empire’s team designed a Hall effect commutated three-phase brushless motor, integrated with a cycloidal gearbox. An oil-filled, pressure-compensated, stainless steel unit houses the assembly. The gearbox assembly operates during the highlight of the show. A tank-style control system spins the motors in opposite directions, and the piano turns in seconds. The performer controls the motors with a joystick attached to a foot pedal. What’s more, the company built the original assembly in June of 1999, and, as Halstead said, “We’re just now having to do some maintenance work on the original units; I fully expect the rebuilt units to outlast the show.”
Empire Magnetics, Inc.
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Filed Under: Gears • gearheads • speed reducers, Motion control • motor controls