The demonstrations attracted more than 50 Swedish theatre technical directors, technicians and consultants
Sweden - XM Automation started the new year on a high by successfully demonstrating its XMove software controlling a number of automated bars in an existing theatre system. The XM team were able to show how easy it could be to upgrade the control front-end without requiring costly upgrades to the existing hardware or electrical installation.
The demonstrations attracted more than 50 Swedish theatre technical directors, technicians and consultants, all keen to see how XMove, the new front-end software could be used to run an existing system with minimal changes to the back-end. According to one attendee,“This event is too interesting to miss.”
The ease of use and intuitive, familiar feel of the software also surprised many attendees, who were able to try programming and running even quite complex moves for themselves after just a short introductory tutorial.
As XM Automation’s founder and director, whose previous experience includes setting up and running the theatre automation company Stage Technologies, Mark Ager explains, “My aim was always to bring automation to a wider market with fewer barriers to entry for smaller and mid-sized venues. Over the last decade automation seems to have become more complex and prohibitively expensive. XM Automation aims to redress that balance by offering a genuinely cost-effective, intuitive, user-friendly alternative.”
This is important because there is a mismatch between the lifetime of the software compared to the hardware of a system. The expected lifetime for the electrical and mechanical equipment of an automation installation should be at least 20 years but the control user interface is something that changes every few years, with new features being developed continuously as needs evolve, requiring frequent upgrades and support. XM Automation aims to provide more choice in this market.
Working together with local electrical support providers, XMove is sold on an affordable per-axis yearly licence model, offering users free upgrades available to download online and complete remote support, cutting out the need for expensive international site visits.
For those interested in the technical aspects of this project, the team integrated a Beckhoff PLC into an existing Siemens Sinamics drive system, replacing one Sinamics CU320 control module in order to take control of six of the in-house fly bars, or axes of movement for the demonstrations and then seamlessly revert these back to being controlled from the original Simotion controller.

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