Prolyte, a Dutch company based in Leek, near Groningen, is a world-renowned manufacturer of state-of-the-art aluminum truss systems. “We strive to excel in what we are best at – performing in aluminium.”
Aluminium provides the answer
Before aluminium came to dominate this market, just about every material was used for temporary structural spans: from round steel pipes to antenna masts used horizontally. These solutions were either too heavy or impractical in other ways and the entertainment industry was constantly looking for a way to assemble – easily, efficiently and safely – spans that were lightweight but strong.
Manufacturers familiar with spatial lattice structures, as seen in bridges, factories and scaffolding, used these applications as a basis for truss design. The low weight and strength of extruded aluminium profiles, as well as their design potential, were crucial factors in developing truss systems as we know them today.
As Prolyte engineer Ivo Mulder says: “We only use aluminium, as steel is too heavy. An 8- ton aluminium system can support 18 tons of lighting equipment. A much heavier steel system would be required to do the same job.”
Mulder says that Prolyte systems can be found in installations all over the world, many of them major prestige projects such as the recent Asian Games in Dubai and the Royal Opera House in London.
Prolyte’s experience with aluminium has enabled the company to take up many a customer challenge and invent a new line of products. As the market developed, clients have felt the necessity for more complimentary product lines in aluminium and Prolyte now offers a range of specially designed products for the exhibition market and a complete range of rigging products, as well as an integral range of staging products.
One recent innovation is the Mammoth truss. It might have seemed impossible to manufacture even bigger truss in aluminium, but some customers kept asking for larger and heavier constructions.
Inspired by the persistence of these customers, the Prolyte engineering team sat down to design the Mammoth truss. This is the biggest aluminium truss ever constructed and it posed a number of challenges for the engineering team. Their success is testimony to their design skills and the versatility of aluminium: the Prolyte M145RV Mammoth truss is five times stronger than the B100 truss. It permits a point load of 6400 kg to be applied on a 30-meter stretch.
The final design of this truss not only reflects the Prolyte philosophy of making user-friendly products, it also proves the unrivalled technological knowledge and experience Prolyte has gained over the years. Mulder draws a parallel between Prolyte’s cooperation with its customers and the relations the company enjoys with aluminium supplier, Hydro:
“Hydro has the same policy as we do. Our customers come to us with queries and we call Hydro, it’s the same feeling of working closely together. This has helped throughout our 18 years in this relatively new industry. Our innovations have kept us one step ahead of our competitors.
“But whatever we choose to develop, mobile construction in aluminium is our main point of focus. We strive to excel in what we are best at – performing in aluminium.”