Motion controls inside Cirque du Soleil’s KÀ

Application Update: Motion control with instantaneous redundancy backup propels the Cirque du Soleil production of KÀ, at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas. The production includes a 140-ton stage that rises from below ground level, tilts 180 degrees, and rotates 360, while acrobatic actors fly, flip, dance, climb, fight, fall, and operate puppets while the stage is in various positions from horizontal to vertical.

06/22/2015


Ian Hall, product and application consulting director, Siemens Industry Inc., Digital Factory Division, worked on the retrofit motion control project to create instantaneous redundancy backups for the Cirque du Soleil production of KÀ, at the MGM Grand HoThe Cirque du Soleil production of KÀ at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, has motion controls with instantaneous redundancy backup to propel the a 140-ton stage that rises from below ground level, tilts 180-deg and rotates 360 while acrobatic actors fly, flip, dance, climb, fight, fall, and clown over and around it, still and in motion from horizontal to vertical. The stage has about 30 moves per show and has performed reliably since a 2007 motion control retrofit. See related article, "Poetry in Motion," linked at bottom.

Ian Hall, product and application consulting director, Siemens Industry Inc., Digital Factory Division, explained that Siemens consulted with MGM after the show missed several performances because of lack of system redundancies. Also, brake maintenance was high, with the first system, which also didn't include speed control. 

Production, retrofit details

Hall offered the following details about the production and motion control retrofit.

- Cast is more than 300; 80 artists appear on stage; about 80 more work behind the scenes.

A dragon greets guests at the entrance of the Cirque du Soleil production of KÀ, at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas. Siemens served as the primary contractor on the retrofit, and Hall served as lead engineer. Siemens equipment used includes Simati- With the stage near vertical, 80 pegs emerge in various locations, using proximity sensors to avoid human contact while emerging or disappearing, synchronized to provide the allusion of warriors fighting on a cliff.

- A projection screen makes the surface a touch sensor for some scenes, reacting with ripples of light to actors' feet and simulating arrow strikes.

- McLaren Engineering did the original design, including hydraulics with 4,000 gallons of vegetable oil (now mineral oil is used).

- The platform moves 70 ft at 2 ft/sec, using 4 hydraulic cylinders with a 70-ft stroke. Downward speed is limited to 1 ft/sec for safety. Five 250 hp pumps feed the piston accumulators that produce 6,000 hp. The pumps, running at 1,500 psi, and accumulators are about 1000 m away from the stage, feeding the hydraulic cylinders via pipes at 770 psi pressure.

- The original design had perhaps 30 single points of failure, including encoders and controllers. Brake maintenance was high, since brakes were used at every stop, about 30 per show, two shows per day. Move commands required 16 seconds of lead time because brakes had to disengage and pumps had to increase pressure. Left to right balance wasn't always stable. Several shows were lost from system failure using the first design. More redundancy was needed.

Cirque du Soleil production of KÀ, at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, includes a 140-ton stage that rises from below ground level, tilts 180 degrees, and rotates 360, while acrobatic actors fly, flip, dance, climb, fight, fall, and operate puppet- The automation vendor provided project management and engineering support for the retrofit and motion system upgrade, over a year and a half, with most work during schedule shutdowns. Study began in 2005. In 2007 the solution was implemented and the production had two control systems until the new one was ready, tested, and approved.

- New system has only one or two single points of failure (including hydraulic servo control valves).

- The motion controller voting system uses a plausibility test for each move to ensure controllers agree that a move should be made.

- In the new design, brakes are only engaged once. Hydraulic pressure control maintains position control, keeping the stage in position design actors' weight and action.

- Instead of a 16-second cycle, closed-loop position control provides a response rate measured in milliseconds.

- A Profibus network is used for motion control; an Ethernet network mirrors communications and serves as a backup. Profibus is represented by PI North America. 

- Smoothness of ride was notable after national frequency of the stage and non-linear nature of the application were taken into account by applying filtering and tuning optimization. (Taller column of fluid created more bounce.)

- Programmed speed override is possible if a timing adjustment is needed. Full reset takes 20 seconds and left to right balance is within one-half inch.

- Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering, mhoske@cfemedia.com

Key concepts

  • A retrofit motion control project to create instantaneous redundancy backups for the Cirque du Soleil production of KÀ, at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, has performed reliably since its 2007 installation.
  • The production includes a 140-ton stage that rises from below ground level, tilts 180 degrees, and rotates 360 degrees.
  • The automation vendor served as the primary contractor on the retrofit project.

Consider this

How could a motion control retrofit provide greater reliability through redundancy, smoother movements, and precise position control to an existing application? 

ONLINE extra

Siemens' 2015 Automation Summit — A User Conference in Las Vegas starts Monday night. Learn more about the event.

www.usa.siemens.com/drivetechnologies 

www.us.profinet.com (PI North America)

www.mgmgrand.com/ka 

Siemens has a PDF about the motion control retrofit for MGM Grand's Cirque du Soleil production of KÀ

For more details about Cirque du Soleil production of KÀ and motion control used at MGM Grand, see the 2007 Control Engineering article, "Poetry in Motion," linked below. 



Top Plant
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2017 Top Plant.
Product of the Year
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
February 2018
2017 Product of the Year winners, retrofitting a press, IMTS and Hannover Messe preview, natural refrigerants, testing steam traps
March 2018
SCCR, 2018 Maintenance study, and VFDs in a washdown environment.
Jan/Feb 2018
Welding ergonomics, 2017 Salary Survey, and surge protection
April 2018
ROVs, rigs, and the real time; wellsite valve manifolds; AI on a chip; analytics use for pipelines
February 2018
Focus on power systems, process safety, electrical and power systems, edge computing in the oil & gas industry
December 2017
Product of the Year winners, Pattern recognition, Engineering analytics, Revitalize older pump installations
April 2018
Implementing a DCS, stepper motors, intelligent motion control, remote monitoring of irrigation systems
February 2018
Setting internal automation standards
December 2017
PID controllers, Solar-powered SCADA, Using 80 GHz radar sensors

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

The Maintenance and Reliability Coach's blog
Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
One Voice for Manufacturing
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Maintenance and Reliability Professionals Blog
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Machine Safety
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
Research Analyst Blog
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Marshall on Maintenance
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
Lachance on CMMS
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
Maintenance & Safety
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
Industrial Analytics
This digital report explains how plant engineers and subject matter experts (SME) need support for time series data and its many challenges.
IIoT: Operations & IT
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Randy Steele
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Matthew J. Woo, PE, RCDD, LEED AP BD+C
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Randy Oliver
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me