Opened in 1993 and seating 11,000, the indoor arena hosts a variety of events from concerts and productions to all types of sporting competitions
Italy. - Unipol Arena in Casalecchio di Reno near Bologna is one of the most important entertainment venues in northern Italy. Opened in 1993 and seating 11,000, the indoor arena hosts a variety of events from concerts and productions to all types of sporting competitions.

Eilon Engineering's Italian distributor Molpass Stage Engineering & Multimedia Systems, based in Bologna, has installed an Eilon Ron StageMaster (RSM) load monitoring system in the arena to monitor overhead loads and reduce the risk of rigging accidents due to overloads caused by unequal load distribution. Molpass, which has been an Eilon distributor since 2008, has designed and distributed high-tech multimedia systems, stagecraft equipment and safety solutions for all types of installations and events since 1995.

Molpass CEO and engineer Giorgio Molinari has taken upon himself the task of improving safety when suspending loads with the goal of eliminating accidents or structure collapse during installation, setup and execution of events. "Because Unipol Arena often rigs a considerable amount of equipment above artists, technicians and the public - weights of more than 50 tons of lighting, audio, video and stage engineering equipment - they were looking for a reliable yet easy-to-use system to weigh suspended loads," he explains. "They found it in the Eilon Ron StageMaster."

Unipol Arena is different in that it has a large trussed ring between the stage and roof that allows incoming shows to easily attach to the ceiling. The structure not only reduces setup time but also makes for easier and more accurate verification and testing of suspended loads. Additionally, the law in Italy requires that loads be weighed according to Ministry Code VV.F. No1689 of 2011, which requires analytical documentation signed by a professional engineer, certifying to the safety of the suspended loads and the safeguard of the people below it.

"Although the venue's structure and the Ministry Code make for a safer environment in which to rig heavy loads, Unipol Arena wanted an extra layer of safety," Giorgio states. "We offered an answer to the question of how to ensure the safety of a large rig during a show by providing a system that monitors the load in real-time using a permanent installation of 32 Eilon Engineering Ron StageMaster 6000 G4 wireless load cells." The load cells are included in the main nodes of the arena structure, hanging from the roof of the building where equipment is mounted.

Prior to installation of the RSM load monitoring system at Unipol Arena, the load verification procedure there was marked by a dubious system of weight retrieval often transmitted by word of mouth with no real confirmation, or calculations were muddled by human error. Now any event hosted at Unipol Arena can be controlled and monitored accurately in all its phases, from installation through execution of the event, even in the case of dynamic movement of sets or artists during performances.

The importance of such a load monitoring system and its consequences cannot be overstated. Giorgio was quite candid, stating, "If use of a load monitoring system like the Eilon RSM system had been applied in Italy from the beginning, beyond the necessary Ministry Code for safety, we would definitely have saved a few lives."

(Jim Evans)

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