Ed Sheeran Mathematics Tour
Every so often we are approached with an idea that changes the course of our industry. This is a bold statement, almost as audacious as the idea itself: ‘We’re designing a self-supporting cablenet that tours’.
We are no strangers to designing and building cablenets. We’ve been doing it since 2004 when we installed one in the stadium for the Olympic Ceremonies in Athens, and we’ve probably installed another dozen since then. But these are generally convoluted installations fixed back to the stadium structure. The installation process typically takes weeks, and this makes them impractical to tour.
But what if it were possible to install a cablenet inside a stadium in just three days? Whilst it sounded like an impossibility, it was a question so bold that we couldn’t help but get drawn in.
We were first approached by 1325 Productions and Wonderworks in September 2021 who presented a design supported by structural engineering from Cundall. We took their design package and began to determine a methodology for manufacture.
The primary function of the cablenet was to support 45 tonnes of lighting, PA and an LED halo. The system comprised six steel truss masts each 30m in height, and each mast comprising six welded sections. Each complete mast was mounted in its own ballasted base that allowed the masts to be angled at 15o from vertical. Once the truss masts were installed, a conventional cable net was attached to the tops of the masts and brought to tension using a series of winches. The truss masts worked in compression to keep the cablenet in position, and forces in the system were reported in real time using data transmitted from load pins.