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SimpleMotion Control Hardware

SimpleMotion offers a wide variety of turnkey solutions for automation, robotics, high-speed winches and lighting projects. Our flexible and scalable range of controllers and output racks are the ideal solution for theatres, schools, sports centres, event venues, arenas, conference centres, TV studios or concert tours and are in use worldwide.

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CONTROLLER 24

The SimpleMotion Controller is the heart of the automation network. This rackmount CPU is at the heart of the system and allows for the processing of up to 48 axes of automation, whether they be a simple motor without encoders, a fully closed loop variable speed drive running a servo motor to position with high precision or anything in between. One of the key features of the control system is its scalability.

 

Also in the range is the Controller-10 for smaller applications, or the larger Controller-48 to allow control of a larger system axis count, so the system can grow as your requirements grow. 

 

Two SimpleMotion Controllers can be configured in a Main/Backup situation for redundancy for critical show axes. Additionally, any combination of any type of axis can be controlled by the same controller. SimpleMotion controllers include a Beckhoff PLC and Safe PLC pre-programmed for automation. Additionally, any combination of any type of axis can be controlled by the same controller. You could have, say, 4 offstage scenery storage chain motors,  4 hydraulic scissor lifts, and 4 high speed performer flying winches all running from the same Controller-24, and you’ve only used half of your axis count! 

 

Safety is fully integrated into the Controller-24 systems having been designed in from day one.

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Drive Cabinet

SimpleMotion Drive Cabinets are the motor control centers of the automation network. The Variable Speed Drives (VSDs) are finely tuned to their corresponding motors to provide precision control to each automation axis. Simply plug in your power, plug your motor cables in, connect your cabinet to the automation network and you’re ready to move! 

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Distro

With large systems come the need for power. To connect multiple drive cabinets a distribution rack is required. The SimpleMotion Distro allows for multiple three-phase connections using CEE-form leads, as well as up-stream circuit breakers to provide electrical isolation. The Distro is connected over Ethercat to provide power monitoring information back to the Controller. 

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Remote Rack Unit

The SimpleMotion Remote rack unit facilitates global connectivity to the SimpleMotion VPN. This will allow our talented technicians, engineers and developers to remotely access your entire SimpleMotion automation system and debug any problems in Realtime from anywhere in the world. The rack mounted unit caters for hard-wired internet or can use its 4G sim-card to connect. 

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SIMPLE PENDANT

SimpleMotion offers a range of Control Surfaces and implementations of the SIMPLICITY software to suit your needs. We will also tailor a packaging solution consistent with your environment. Whether that’s a permanent installation in equipment racks, a suitcase style rolling rack for moving between internal locations, or shockmount roadcases for concert and theatrical touring.

SIMPLEPENDANT is a hand held mobile control surface based on the Keba KeTop T200 hardware platform. The portability of the control pendant offers a flexible working environment for the operator and programmer.

For instance; take the Pendant controller down to stage level, plug it to the control port there, and walk out on stage to operate and set up your stage machinery. Once everything is rigged and programmed, unplug the Pendant at stage level, take it up to your Control Room and plug into the control port in that location and playback the show you just set up and recorded.

Again, safety is designed into the unit, with multi-stage DMB buttons, E-Stops, and other multifunction physical buttons on the Pendant, working in conjunction with the touchscreen running the Simplicity Control System.

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I/O Box

The SimpleMotion I/O Box is required for connecting Motor I/O to the automation network. For safety rated axes, auxiliary I/O is often required, such as:  

  • Proximity sensors 

  • Secondary encoders 

  • Rotary limits 

  • Slackwire bars 

  • Bump strips 

  • Zero Fleet Sensors 

  • Brake Feedback 

 

The I/O box provides the operator with local feedback through indicators on the box. 

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Surface

The SimpleMotion Surface is the user interface of the Simplicity System. Operators interface with realtime buttons to playback cues and actions, with two Dead Man Buttons, an E-Stop and analog paddles for jogging. 

 

The SimpleMotion Surface contains a processor running the Simplicity UI. Simply connect your monitor, mouse and keyboard and all your axis automation programming capabilities are at your fingertips. 

SimpleMotion Mechanical Hardware

SimpleMotion offers a wide variety of automated, robotic mechanical systems that range in all sizes, speed and accuracy.

Our main speciality are hoists, winches and revolves - however we are capable of creating bespoke automation systems to fit almost any application.

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Safety Rated Hoists

SimpleMotion has designed a range of safety rated hoists for various theatre applications including flown set pieces, performer flying, bridals and more. 

 

Safety rated come with built-in safety including slackwire sensors, safety rated rotary operational and end-of-travel limits, zero fleet sensors, secondary and tertiary safety encoders and more. Additional I/O such as load cells are available also. 

 

The hoist weight and form factor is dependent on the motor size, which can vary depending on the weight of the load. There is also the option of setting up motors with a counterweight fly system as “Counterweight Assists”, where the majority of the setpiece load is offset by the counterweight cradles. 

 

Our expert riggers are experience in setting up diversions and safely connecting steel wire rope to the hoisted load if required. 

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Pendant 

If an entire show capable User Interface is not required, a SimpleMotion Pendant may be what you need for your automation capabilities. While it does not contain the User Interface, realtime buttons will allow you to move an axis at set speed with incorporated safety in the form of an Estop and a dead man button. 

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Floor Tracks

SimpleMotion floor tracks are suitable for any quick, automated set changes. Simply secure the set piece onto the ‘rabbit’ (a mechanical wheeled assembly for traversing along the track) using a “knife” and the wheeled set piece will move on and off stage controlled by Simplicity. 

The tracks are modular and light, made of aluminium and can be added or removed as required for different track sizes. 

 

The motors can be reeved with Dyneema® or Steel Wire Rope depending on the weight of the traversed load. 

 

The floor track assembly can include proximity sensors that are connected through external floor I/O boxes. 

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Revolve

The quintessential theatre automation- the revolve. SimpleMotion has your needs in mind. With a friction drive assembly and 3 separate motors to share the load, SimpleMotion can either automate your existing revolve assembly or manufacture the revolve to your needs. 

 

An separate encoder assembly is used to provide smooth rotation and precise positioning regardless of any potential slip. 

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Remote Controlled Vehicle

The remote autonomous vehicle provides a method for wirelessly controlling a vehicle with a RF controller. This includes a battery-powered system with charging and a fully integrated on-board motion controller. 

SimpleMotion Software

Simplicity is the flexible, scalable suite of software SimpleMotion has developed for automation. After several iterations currently the version of Simplicity sits at V3.1.  

 

The Beckhoff PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) is the low-level controller for real-time automation. The PLC component of Simplicity controls all the drives and I/O and provides a real-time interface for the UI to execute commands. 

 

In between the PLC and the UI sits the Simplicity Server. The server receives real-time data from the PLC and has a restful API that the UI interacts with to display Axis data, program shows and execute commands on the PLC. 

Finally, the Simplicity User Interface (UI) is what the operator experiences. Developed through many iterations and conversations with automation operators, it is highly configurable and implements a vast array of features depending on the need of your show. 

 

Software Anchor

Simplicity Features 

Simplicity allows for simple abstractions of motor movement to easily program a show.  

Cues

A cue in Simplicity is a collection of motor moves that begin execution at the same time. This could be a single axis, multiple axes, and/or repeated moves for a same axis depending on certain conditions. 

Commands 

Commands are the individual motor movements listed in a cue. There are many different command types to reflect the many different types of moves that may wish to be programmed. Each command is associated with one axis of automation, although this axis could also be multiple motors grouped together. 

Conditions 
Playback 
Jogging  
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Cues, Commands, Conditions 

Conditions are additions to commands that allow the execution of the command only if the condition is met. This includes monitoring the position of an axis or monitoring completion or the start of a different command or monitoring of an interlock. 

An interactive playback screen can be configured to show the execution of cues within a show. The next cue in a show will automatically load once the “Go” button is pressed and the playback system will allow you to track each cue as it executes, including all the commands associated to the cue, any notes attached and any conditions that are met. A playback speed control exists to allow the playback speed of any cue to be reduced from 100% to whatever speed is required. 

The jogging screen allows for manual movement of each axis. When jogging the user can configure the maximum jogging speed, which paddle to use, and whether to move multiple axes at once. Additionally, a temporary position can be selected to jog to, and the system will not allow the axis to exceed this position until it is reached. 

Soft limits can also be configured to prevent the axis exceeding certain positions. 

Ready to take the next step?

From your initial ideas, we can generate concepts into practical, deliverable designs, meeting the project’s budget and schedule without compromising creativity.

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