Control

From a simple timer to computer based systems, the control system is what makes everything happen. Control systems fall into several categories:
  • Show System Controller  (SSC) - Refers to computer based systems made up of several networked systems.
  • Controller - Typically a single element, stand alone system without networking
  • Animation Controller - Some of our animated characters utilize task specific animation controllers which combine audio and motion synchronization in one control component.
  • Chip Controller - These circuit board systems are custom designed to applications where a Controller or SSC will not work. Usually because of size.

 

The majority of our Controllers and SSCs are based around Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC). A PLC is an industrial computer which has been in use in factory automation for more that 30 years. We utilize PLCs because they are extremely reliable, cost effective and rated for use in safety critical systems.

PLCs are also versatile, with a wide selection of input, output and communication modules available.

Show System Controllers are those that exceed 20 control points and require networking. The SSC pictured to the left contains 45 control points and is networked to an Operators Interface, while the system pictured above is networked to 3 other control enclosures and contains more that 250 control points.

When audio and lighting is used in the installation, the SSC serves as the master controller sending commands to audio playback units, digital signal controller and lighting controllers.

Another component of the SSC is the Operator Interface which provides access the all of the functions of the control system.

Our Operator Interfaces utilize LCD touch screens which allow for hundreds of unique screens offering whatever information and level of control is required. A typical system has a master screen with a simple one-button-start function for general operations with maintenance functions being password protected.

A stand alone controller can still integrate audio control but typically has much simpler controls and is not networked to other systems.

Chip Controllers are custom designed for each application. They often contain programmable microchips which allow to a wide range of abilities in a very small package. The boards shown are from two of our projects with Universal Orlando (see volumes 2 & 17 in our Newsletters)