Many hands make light work.
Sure, but it’s better if you can do it with fewer hands….as well as in less time…and still get it right first time.
Clarke Cable’s solution delivered no fewer than four improvements for this customer….

PRG approached Clarke Cables looking for a solution to a very specific problem: when setting up lighting for stages shows they needed a reliable system that could quickly and safely raise a lighting gantry, whilst doing so accurately and evenly, without damaging any of the equipment.

We produced a product with the specified number of 16A, 3-phase breakouts built-in, to control each motor in synchronicity with each of the other motors.  The red 110V plugs supply the power and the yellow 4-pin plugs provide the up/down control.

Because the motors all work as a team …….just like the people at Clarke Cables ……. this means that each light is raised at exactly the same time and exactly the same speed as all the other lights.

As a result there is minimal risk of damage to the lighting during the lifting procedure.

Part 2 of our solution was to prevent damage to the connectors if they fell.  We came up with a lighter yet more robust product to replace the hard and heavy die-cast aluminium glands that PRG were using beforehand.

Instead, using a high-impact thermoplastic nylon we designed a reusable, multi-purpose, modular, lightweight, shock-resistant gland.  This has six benefits:

  • It is lighter so it is far less likely to fall
  • Lower weight reduces impact, thereby protecting the connectors inside
  • Lighter also means safer
  • Dent-resistant because the thermoplastic bounces, prolonging the life of the gland itself
  • Easy to replace the gland itself on the rare occasions that this might be necessary
  • Lower cost of replacement glands

The 3rd innovation from Clarke Cables was to use a flexible rubber cold-compression material to replace the hard heat-shrink that was previously used to protect the insulation of the cable as it exits the gland.

The old heatshrink version had an overly large minimum bend radius, and the hard edge also increased the risk of rupturing the PVC. With the improved rubber surround the cable has greater flexibility and significantly reduced risk of fracture.

Fourthly, using proprietary connectors gives the option to use a variety of sizes of bell-mouth cable entries, depending on specification requirements for each lighting show.

We designed grommets for the cable entry on each of the motor breakouts. The grommets were also neatly moulded with the customer’s name for branding and owner identification.

Together with the lower minimum bend radius for each breakout, this means that the systems are flexible in terms of:

  • range of applications
  • cable bend radius

No stress
When put through a stress test, the old product failed a test of 3,000 flexes.  The Clarkes LFT product was still flying high after 35,000 flexes.