Photo: Rigging operator Andy Jupp with the Ibex rack, at Robbie Williams' production rehearsals
Out Board Electronics’ new Ibex programmable hoist controller has made an auspicious debut on two frontline tours with Vari-Lite Europe Ltd. Both the Roxy Music and Robbie Williams shows - currently out on tour - have had their lighting designed by Liz Berry, who has given the new hoist controller the thumbs up. The purchase of a single unit (and rental of a second) had been authorised by VLPS’ Matt Croft, who admitted that he had not heard of the Ibex until he started to prep both tours. "I looked at both jobs and each show had moving truss systems. In the past we would have used hoist commanders - but they involve a lot of hardware and personnel, so we were starting to look around. At the same time Out Board’s Lawrence Heron had contacted our rigging department independently to see if they were interested."

An advantage of the Ibex system, says Matt, is that it is economical - just a rack-mountable 4" deep black box. "You used to have three and a half racks, costing tens of thousands of pounds, but this is just a simple box, with a control cable in and control cable out, which plugs into the back of a motor control. This simplification cuts out a lot of the paraphernalia. It’s small, cheap, light, simple and self-contained - you hit the button, cues move and it works. Furthermore, as all our motor distro is from Out Board, we knew it was compatible."

He says that once Vari-Lite were happy about the safety aspects they asked Out Board about renting one. "But Liz Berry got interested in it and so we purchased one for Roxy and rented the second for Robbie Williams."

Offering maximum power and versatility Ibex is remarkably simple to operate, with no complex programming techniques to learn. Ibex also boasts easy channel set-up (with motor libraries) and full screen status display using the built-in RS232 port and a PC. The encoder computer positioning allows accurate positioning and monitoring using single or dual phase encoders - however, timed computer positioning allows accurate computer positioning of hoists that are not fitted with an encoder (the controller tracking the real world position of the hoist as if an encoder is fitted). Run without the use of sensors, the Ibex calculates where the motor should be from time and speed parameters entered by the operator . . . hence it can be used on a time mode.

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