“In constructing the floating stage, there is obviously no opportunity for building prototypes or making design changes along the way,” said civil engineer Gerhard Lener. “Also, the opening date of the festival is set long in advance, so the completion date cannot be changed. The safety of the singers, the stage crew and the audience depends upon getting the design right the very first time. The use of ANSYS gave the entire project team confidence in the analysis results.”
The stage originally was designed for Austria’s Bregenz Festival, which builds a stunning new platform every two years for open-air opera performances. Sited at the edge of a lake, the structure is 150 feet high by 100 feet wide. The stage’s scenery features an imposing representation of a human eye that serves both as surrealistic backdrop and metaphor. Far more than a static background, the 30-foot-diameter eye was engineered to rotate and fold out via hydraulics, creating a horizontal performance space. The iris also serves as a screen for special visual effects and a door that opens to reveal yet another scene.
The entire set weighs over 450 tons. When the decision was made to film the James Bond movie Quantum of Solace with the festival stage as part of the plot, 1.5 tons of additional lights had to be installed in the structure. This required a separate simulation, which indicated that the structure needed to be strengthened.
Engineer Lener used software from ANSYS to ensure the stage could withstand environmental stresses such as wind, safely support props, actors and equipment, and survive the construction assembly process. CADFEM, an ANSYS channel partner in Germany and the competence center for finite element modeling (FEM) in that region, supported Lener in his use of the software. One of the biggest challenges was providing the strength needed to safely move the eye while staying within the weight limits of the foundation. Further challenges resulted from the components’ materials. The eye structure is a composite, a steel frame with a wood outer surface. The composite construction increased the complexity of the analysis, since connecting the steel and wood together provides additional stiffness. By using the nonlinear capabilities of ANSYS software, Lener was able to accurately predict the physics involved in these complex analysis tasks.
“The broad set of analysis capabilities in software from ANSYS provided the ideal toolset to analyze the stage because it let us evaluate the structure from every possible standpoint within a single environment. In my work on other floating stages for the Bregenz festival, I have encountered a very wide range of structural analysis problems, and technology from ANSYS has been able to handle every one,” said Lener.
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About ANSYS, Inc.
ANSYS, Inc., founded in 1970, develops and globally markets engineering simulation software and technologies widely used by engineers and designers across a broad spectrum of industries. The Company focuses on the development of open and flexible solutions that enable users to analyze designs directly on the desktop, providing a common platform for fast, efficient and cost-conscious product development, from design concept to final-stage testing and validation. The Company and its global network of channel partners provide sales, support and training for customers. Headquartered in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., with more than 60 strategic sales locations throughout the world, ANSYS, Inc. and its subsidiaries employ approximately 1,700 people and distribute ANSYS products through a network of channel partners in over 40 countries. Visit www.ansys.com for more information.
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