OPC Solutions Ensure that "The Show Must Go On"

Aug. 4, 2010
Entertainment production company, Hudson, uses OPC solutions from Kepware on its motion control platform to deliver robust reliability and seamless integration in entertainment projects ranging from Broadway to casinos and amusement parks.

Hudson is one of the largest full service production and scenic fabrication companies serving the professional entertainment community since 1980. Hudson has provided precision automation systems that lower the Times Square New Year's Eve ball, bring the Lady of the Lake up from the depths in Monty Pythons' Spamalot, and allowed Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to swoop over audiences’ heads. Hudson has the technical expertise that brings the biggest shows to Broadway and takes them on tour, and the award-winning scenic fabrication, automation, and lighting that transform themed casinos, restaurants, and amusement parks into world-class destinations.

As the technical complexity of productions continues to grow, Hudson engineers continually find a need for increased flexibility in the solutions they can offer.

The challenge is in incorporating these new solutions seamlessly into the existing Hudson HMC Motion Control platform. Additionally, the need for "the show must go on" reliability from the system demands a robust and well-developed control solution.

To answer these different demands, Hudson engineers choose the KEPServerEX OPC platform from Kepware as the solution. By incorporating OPC client functionality into the HMC Motion Control platform, and using KEPServerEX EX as the OPC server, Hudson engineers are free to choose any control hardware solution appropriate to the production, given the incredible range of available drivers. Additionally, the Ethernet encapsulation function in many of the KEPServerEX drivers has allowed for older hardware to be seamlessly integrated into the heavily networked systems that are common in large-scale entertainment productions.

Finally, the addition of Kepware's LinkMaster software acting as both client and server, has allowed the mixing of different vendors OPC solutions. In turn, this has greatly reduced the need for further custom development of the HMC Motion Control platform, since with LinkMaster in place; the system needs to only make a single client connection to Kepware, while LinkMaster organizes all of the disparate devices to appear as a single source.

With systems in place on dozens of productions, the reliability of the Kepware product cannot go unmentioned. Despite many effects being purpose built for a production, and so in essence prototypes, "zero-downtime" is expected. With the Kepware products, Hudson has had no problems maintaining reliable data between control hardware and front-end systems, even over multiple wireless links.

For more information on Kepware solutions, visit www.kepware.com.

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