Micromech Designs Motion-Control System for OrbitalJune 27, 2001 by Jeff Shepard
Micromech Systems Ltd. (UK) was recently asked to design a new motion control system for Orbital, the electronic music band. The company had previously designed such a system in 1999, which consisted of 12 white screens onto which video images were projected. During the performance, the screens were rotated in complex sequences for effect. This system was still working, but Orbital wanted it upgraded with increased axis, new mechanical radar dishes and bespoke software. Micromech Systems used much of the original hardware but added two sets of larger stepper motors, as well as extra stepper drives and gearboxes for the larger radar dishes.
The new system for Orbital was designed to allow remote operation of the system using a computer and an Ethernet cable. This allows the operator to control the system with a PC from a distance of up to 100m from the stage. Testing was carried out first in the Micromech workshop, and later at the Elstree Studios for the tour rehearsals.