August 2008 Issue
Buyer's Guide

Truss Towers

{mosimage}I have a picture, given to me by the legendary lighting designer Chip Monck, that dates back to 1971. It shows a crew of about a dozen stage hands erecting a truss tower on the stage of a Rolling Stones concert. This was in the days before you could phone a trussing manufacturer and order an engineered system designed for easy load-in and load-out. Instead, the crew is hoisting the tower using sheer muscle and will power. It took lots of people, lots of time and lots of nerve to plant the base of the tower and lift the head upright.

{mosimage}Unless you experienced those days or at least have the benefit of seeing the photos, it’s easy to take for granted the engineering marvel that today’s truss towers offer. One of the keys to the system is the sleeve block, which fits over the truss tower and glides up and down on smooth rollers.

 

{mosimage}Some towers are self-erecting or self-righting, using chain motor power or hand winch power to slowly lift the assembled tower with a hinged base and a double fall block and tackle. The load-bearing truss can also be taken to trim with motor power or manual power. Of course, the towers are always supported by outriggers, usually with screw jacks to level them.

 

{mosimage}These systems are typically made of aluminum alloy, which makes them very strong but lightweight. Some of these systems can support upwards of 10,000 pounds (4,500 kilograms) and can trim as high as 140 feet (42.6 meters). These towers can be used to erect goal post systems or roof systems. And in many venues where the rigging points in the roof aren’t strong enough to support a flown system or where there are no rigging points, ground support systems offer a great solution that doesn’t require ascending into the steel to rig points or the additional time and labor to do so. 

 

On the PDF chart you will find a small sample of the big towers offered by today’s truss manufacturers. It’s a huge leap from the 1971 Rolling Stones tour.

 

To view the chart in  PDF format, CLICK HERE

 


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