New CEN standard - Entertainment technology - Specifications for design and manufacture of aluminium and steel trusses (EN 17115) 

Summer is traditionally the season for outdoor events, and the warm summer, now coming to an end, has been no exception: concerts, festivals, open-air theatres and cinemas have multiplied, giving people the possibility to enjoy the warm weather. Nevertheless, organising successful events is a huge technical feat: complex infrastructures, from stages to sound towers, need to be built quickly and safely.

To this end, manufacturers employ trusses in aluminium or steel. A truss is, according to common definitions, a spatial lattice structure consisting of main chords and members. Modular trusses are equipped with connectors in order to be interconnected to form long spans. Due to their structure and flexibility, trusses allow for big and complex constructions to be built reliably and at relatively limited costs, and are therefore widely used in all sectors.

It is easy, then, to understand how safety is a primary concern, especially in the entertainment industry, where trusses have to withstand several actions without posing any danger. This is what standard EN 17115, published on 29 August, aims at ensuring. EN 17115 “Entertainment technology – Specifications for design and manufacture of aluminium and steel trusses” sets a minimum level of quality in trusses used in entertainment. The standard applies to trusses used in a variety of locations, which, in the words of the document, “include but are not limited to theatres, multi-purpose halls, exhibition halls, film-, television-, photography- and radio-studios as well as facilities in concert halls, museums, schools, bars, discotheques, open-air stages and other places for shows and events”.

The standard identifies a list of “significant hazards” that might occur due to the use of trusses, and proposes a series of precise rules aimed at minimising them throughout all phases of production and use, from design to manufacturing, up to the analysis of trusses’ load conditions. Finally, the document also presents some requirements for the user documentation that needs to accompany each type of truss, consisting of a user manual and a technical datasheet. The standard also provides an example of an inspection report form.

The European Standard EN 17115 has been realised under the responsibility of CEN/TC 433 “Entertainment Technology - Machinery, equipment and installations”. The Technical Secretariat is currently held by DIN, the German standardization body.

For more information contact Joanna Frankowska