Pop, Crackle, and Bang

Las Vegas, Nevada/USA. The Spencer Technical Group based in Las Vegas is a specialist in the field of control panels for pyrotechnical systems used in concerts.

For control and synchronization, the manufacturer relies on technology from the Siemens Industry Automation Division. Based on controls from the Simatic S7-1200 series, the company has succeeded in significantly improving safety and driving down its engineering input and costs by around 30 percent.

Rock bands such as Guns n' Roses, Nickleback or Kiss often add excitement to their concerts by using pyrotechnical effects. The Spencer Technical Group controls, monitors and synchronizes the flame heads, firing boards and propane gas accumulators used. Using an automation solution based on PLC (programmable logic controller) technology, the company has succeeded in significantly improving safety and reliability for the operator.

The system is able to monitor faults occurring in the flame heads and monitor gas pressure in the accumulator tanks. Using the TIA Portal Engineering Framework, Spencer was also able to simplify the configuration process, driving down costs and engineering time as much as 30 percent. In its pyrotechnical solutions, Spencer uses up to 32 Simatic S7-1200 controls, HMI (Human Machine Interface) devices and network components which are jointly configured and simply connected over a Profinet cable.

The new PLC-based technology has replaced the former hardwired system, making for significant savings in terms of wiring costs. A key factor in Spencer's decision to work with Siemens technology was a combination of cost, performance and functionality, for instance simple data exchange between S7-100 controls and all other system components over Profinet.


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