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UK hydraulics firm ensures the Show Goes On for Royal Shakespeare Company

A UK hydraulics firm pulled off a stellar performance to arrange manufacture and delivery of a range of hydraulic cylinder components in a short space of time, for the opening night of a new performance at The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).

MGR Fluid Power ensured that the RSC’s performance of Othello went off without any last minute glitches after it sourced fourteen custom-designed hydraulic cylinders for the main stage, in a matter of days before opening night. The company was called in at the last minute to ensure that the stage hydraulics were capable of moving the stage in the way that the performance dictated.

Far from being a simple task, the brief for MGR Fluid Power was to source and supply cylinder components to exact specifications, and to ensure the hydraulics operated smoothly. The rams for the cylinders were flanged with stainless rods, operating under very low pressures in a master-slave configuration. This meant the right solution was not easily accessible from off-the-shelf hydraulic component providers. Instead, the company had to source cylinder components manufactured to exact design specifications, to enable four individual hydraulic systems to simultaneously lift sections of the stage grill up through a water bath between 250mm and 1,000mm to move the stage as required.

Mike Retford, Managing Director at MGR Fluid Power, highlighted the urgency of the job: “This really was like something out of a Shakespearean play. We were contacted by the customer a week before Othello was due to be performed to the general public, and we had to source a solution in a matter of days. Luckily, we were able to rely on our complete aftermarket service to ensure that the show did indeed go on.”

Alan Bartlett, Head of Technical Design at RSC Scenic Workshops commented: “I had been let down by a supplier for a shipment of special rams and, with a deadline looming and the potential for significant costs as well as disappointment for our audience, I contacted Mike Retford to see if he could help save the day. The service that I received was superb with Mike able to use his contacts to put together a solution for me literally overnight; the rams were supplied within a few days exactly as promised. We will certainly be looking to Mike for our hydraulic requirements in the future.”

Mike Retford added: “We want to extend our thanks and gratitude to Allan Robertson, Sales Manager at our partner Apex Hydraulics, who worked with us quickly to provide an instant solution to the Royal Shakespeare Company. We pride ourselves on our network of contacts and work very closely with the global hydraulics community.”

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