LANGENFELD, Germany—With faster tracking shots and higher resolution images, quality and safety requirements are increasingly important for TV and film production companies. Egripment--a leading supplier of cranes, dollies and tracking systems--relies on hydraulic safety shock absorbers made by ACE Stoßdämpfer GmbH, the German subsidiary of ACE Controls Inc.

"While it was still possible to end tracking shots with electronically controlled stops and to secure the remote-controlled camera dolly on the track system in the end positions using rubber buffers not too long ago, today's speeds in studios or at sports broadcasts are too high for this type of security element," says Rick Velthof, global sales manager at Egripment. "Another concern is preventing costly damage if a dolly and camera are seriously damaged in a crash at the end of a track.

"High technical features such as [8K resolution] require current studio and recording technology to be calibrated very precisely before use and to maintain the same high level of data quality throughout the production," adds Velthof. "Under these conditions, hardly any production can afford to spend a lot of time recalibrating a camera and dolly that have crashed into the rubber buffers due to incorrect operation or a sudden power failure and then bounced back. To get this duo back in line with the rest of the equipment such as control monitors and the lighting system can last up to three days in individual cases."

Egripment worked with ACE to develop a solution. After key data for mass, speed and distance, they decided to install two SCS33-25EU safety shock absorbers each at the end of a track construction erected for test purposes. These hydraulic machine elements are designed purely for emergency stop tasks with a service life of up to 1,000 full load cycles. They are used in thousands of industrial applications as a "mechanical air bag" to protect linear constructions. 

Thanks to their compact design with a size of M33x1.5 and continuous threading, the security elements, each weighing 0.5 kilogram, can be quickly integrated into the construction of film set devices.

"To increase flexibility and adapt this emergency stop solution even better to customer-specific conditions on site, the SCS33-25EU dampers are mounted in universally adjustable clamping sleeves at Egripment," explains Ralf Küppers, an ACE engineer who worked on the project. "That way, they fulfill the function of stopping the dollies gently at the end of travel, and they also reduce damage and vibrations to a minimum. The universally adjustable clamping sleeves can easily install intermediate stops when determining the track route and, in principle, infinitely long tracks can be secured."