Underwater Stage Lift Maintenance
There is little doubt in the minds of cruisers that cruising will return in all its splendour. Cruising companies like Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines are not only spending millions to keep their current ships in tip-top shape for the return of cruising, but they are building new ships to advance the excitement and security of their promises.
Handling Specialty, a Niagara Region-based design/manufacturing firm that has partnered with Royal Caribbean time and again to build their unique aqua theatres on the Oasis class ships, has recently been performing planned maintenance on the Allure of the Seas. This work has taken place in the Bahamas. Landing in Miami and boarding the Allure, the crew spent 14 days in quarantine before they could get to work.
The Aqua Theatre includes several moving parts which must function perfectly in order to keep the performers safe and the show progressing seamlessly. Among the moving parts are three separate stage lifts which can work in tandem or as individual lifts depending on the choreography. These lift systems are automated to precise lift and lower speeds for placement and timing, overseen by technicians in a control room. They can also be activated manually when required.
The diving board includes a tilt feature to raise and lower the board as needed, and the trampoline includes rotators that require maintenance. Several components were swapped out for new, hydraulic hoses replaced, and the units painted.
Hydraulic power units were replaced with new ones along with variable frequency drives, which apply flow and pressure for actual demand. Together with the HPU and VFD, the PLC was also configured to ensure all systems work efficiently and to specifications.
The rubber flooring affixed to the stage floor also required replacement after many years of use by the performers and hundreds of shows. This flooring enables the performer’s excellent grip when performing their routines and has many thousands of perforations to match those in the stage floor in order to allow the water quickly retreat from the stage when it rises out of the pool. These perforations also allow the stage lifts to lower quickly as the water disperses through them when the stage must disappear below the surface of the water.
Side panels, rollers, wires, hoses, hard pipes, hydraulics and more must be maintained, and the equipment must be reviewed for corrosion and other wear and tear. Underwater equipment is much more vulnerable to issues, as are submerged electrical systems, and this is why a trusted company like Handling Specialty with hydraulic and electrical engineers on staff is your best choice for Stage lift design/build and maintenance.
Working on a major project like an aqua theatre on a cruise ship in the middle of the Caribbean is a big job by anyone’s standards; shipping the parts and sending the right personnel to do the work during a pandemic is quite another. Having completed this maintenance work ahead of schedule and preparing for the next is a testament to the people working at Handling Specialty and the professionalism of the organization as a whole.
What’s next? Harmony of the Seas Planned Maintenance in Spain. Some of the same Handling Specialty crew have gone on to Spain for this planned maintenance, while others will return home.
The work on Allure of the Seas wrapped up at the end of March 2021.
Handling Specialty is a design/build firm that has created many stage lifts for multiple customers all over the world and has embedded itself as an expert in the entertainment industry. With clients like Cirque du Soleil, Franco Dragone, RCCL, Walt Disney, and others, Handling Specialty should be the first company you approach when designing a new theatre involving stage lifts.