Bespoke Brake Design Delivers Optimized Solution for World Leader on Hoists for Stage and Theater

June 10, 2009
Stage Hoists

Warner Electric’s ability to provide a bespoke solution to a brake problem on hoists for stage and theater applications has enabled Prolyte in the Netherlands, world leading manufacturer of staging, rigging and trussing products, to cut the time for assembling the brakes onto its hoists, and to reduce the complexity of its sourcing network for brakes to a single supplier.

Prior to the involvement of Warner Electric Europe, Prolyte was using standard brakes from a competitor. However, the brake design was not a good fit, forcing Prolyte to source a special hub and flange locally in order to make the design suitable. This was a time consuming task for the company in an industry where equipment needs to be as modular and as flexible as possible to enable demanding deadlines to be met.

Stage Hoists

In an effort to solve the problem, Warner Electric Europe was called in. Here, Mourade Vaneeckhoutte, Warner Electric’s local sales engineer takes up the story. “During our first meeting, Prolyte’s technical director outlined the problems of integrating flanges from one Dutch supplier and hubs from another. What he required was a more integrated package, which would enable Prolyte to reduce the complexity and the time for assembly of the brake and hoist. All the technical details and requirements of a possible solution were discussed with Prolyte’s technical director and then subsequently forwarded to the engineering department of Warner Electric Europe.”

“What a lot of users of brakes and clutches don’t realize is that more than 60% of Warner Electric’s current production is customized to meet specific client demands,” continued Mourade. “If we cannot fulfill customer requirements with our standard range, in terms of bore size, improved IP ratings, quieter operation, mounting configurations and improved torque, then we will provide a bespoke solution.”

After a period of just a few weeks, Warner Electric’s engineering department proposed a silent brake assembly – very important for theater applications – which included a special flange, special hub and micro-switches. The design provided the customer with an effective “plug-and play” system which eliminated all the previous complexity. Prolyte was very pleased with the design and decided to order prototypes. After intensive field testing and a few technical reviews the customer decided to go ahead into full production of the new design, placing a tooling order (for the special hub) and a first contract order with Warner Electric Europe.

“What this application demonstrates is our ability to provide specific solutions to customer brake problems, quickly and effectively,” said Mourade Vaneeckhoutte. “I know of no other company that could have reacted in the way that we did; to first of all understand the problem, devise a possible solution, then design it and manufacture it – in just a few short weeks – so that it was right first time for the customer.”