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Last updated: November 18, 2020

The Benefits of Using Theater Costume Carousels

theater costume storage carouselsMany theaters such as the Wiener Staatsoper or the metropolitan opera house have iconic architecture. It is easy to believe that they're all about aesthetics. In reality, it is the backstage functionality that ensures smooth performance. A theater at any educational institute should emulate this system and imbibe its practices into its culture.

Every prop and theater costume conveys a message in a performance, so storage becomes an essential part of the backstage functionality. Theater clothes storage is more accessible when you have the right apparatus for it. Carousels make for a perfect solution to this often neglected problem.

Challenges in Theater Costume Storage

Theatre costumes are often repurposed and reused over the years. Some of them have elaborate designs that can get damaged due to moisture or other storage conditions. However, that's not the only problem when the shelving is not proper.

The dampness also causes hygiene issues as molds tend to grow in dark and moist places. The theater storage should be regularly cleaned and maintained. The next problem arises when you try to do these maintenance activities.

Standard shelving is not meant to store clothing for performances. It is hard to clean the corners and surfaces hidden behind the garments. It is too much hassle to remove the garments for maintenance.

Even if the cleaning staff manages to overcome this complexity through the physical excursion, the theater crew might face accessibility problems. Moreover, by making the storage more spacious, you take up too much of the area and limit the space available for other backstage activities. (See videos See videos)

Theatre Costume Carousels

vertical electric garment storage carouselsA primary solution to these issues is to use theater garment racks with hanging clothes rods and vertical storage. In a way, it is an elegant storage solution with multiple benefits. Still, it isn't easy to access the garments on the upper level. The dressers would have to use a ladder because of low accessibility and risk falling and injuring themselves. There is also an issue in hanging longer garments. 

There is a better system in the form of carousels to overcome these challenges. A carousel storage system uses vertical shelves placed one over the other. These shelves are movable in either direction using a shaft or a motor. You can control these shelves electronically using a remote for easy access.

Carousels are typically used in other industries to store goods, but the same concept works well with costume storage. A costume carousel not only saves space but also helps in better organization of the garments.

Clothes Carousels for Educational Institutions

In particular, educational institutions need a smart space solution to house the necessary costumes for a performance. A theater carousel is an ideal solution that best suits this purpose.

With proper planning, the dresser could arrange the clothes so that a particular line stores clothes needed for the current performance while the upper level carries the costumes for the next one. These carousels can also go for long periods without usage and not damage the shelves or clothes.

The clothes carousel makes it easy for the crew, which is usually comprised of students, to focus on other backstage activities rather than sorting through lines of theater costumes. Efficiency is crucial because every second counts when a performance is going on.

Many of these performances also need a quick change of clothes between scenes, which would make the theater clothes carousel an essential asset.

Vertical Garment Carousels: An Innovative Solution

Garment carousels use a motorized vertical design to store garments efficiently. It applies the design principles of high-density storage to clothing storage. Everyone from public theaters to retail stores, warehouses, and distribution centers are using it. It stores suits, coats, shirts, trousers, and gowns efficiently and without any damage.

The garment carousel uses push-button operation and is simple enough that a single operator could use it without hassle.

You can install it and emulate scaled-down warehouse automation programs with the same benefits in terms of available storage, efficiency, and health and safety standards. The carousel also follows industry safety and health standards and comes with a cCSAus Mark. Additionally, you can get a seismic certification upon request.

How Does It Work?

motorized garment costume storage carouselThe word carousel is synonymous with a merry-go-round and follows the same mechanism. A carousel is a machine that turns around a central axis.

Vertical carousels consist of a series of shelves attached to a chain drive at fixed positions. The garment carousel uses a variable frequency drive, which rotates the shelves in a vertical loop in either direction, just like a Ferris wheel. For high-density storage, the shape of this chain is oblong and not a circle.

There are also software solutions that work with vertical carousels for organization and quick retrieval using proper indexing and automated put-and-pick operations.

Benefits of Theater Costumes Carousels

The benefits of using a carousel for the storage of garments include space savings, better organization, and improved visibility to inventory. Let's take a closer look at the context of an educational institute in mind.

Space Savings

Unlike public theaters, theaters at universities are not in operation every day. As such, there is a limited space allocated for theater activities. That does not mean that a university production should make any compromises on the output. A carousel saves important space backstage.

The other important factor is that a university show hosts multiple short performances rather than a stretched-out play, which means more garments are stored for a single night.vertical theater costume storage carousel system

Better Organization

In the same context of multiple performances, it is clear that the dresser should know exactly which set of clothes go where. The idea of rearranging an entire line of clothes is impossible. Unlike traditional storage, however, one can organize the clothes in interchangeable groups.

Garment organization is a cakewalk when using a well-equipped storage system. It is possible to improve the organization even with a basic carousel setup and optimize it for time and effort by storing theater costumes in groups.

Improved Visibility to Inventory

The additional benefit here is that everything you need is right in front of you. Since all the garments are in clear view, the dresser doesn't have to sort through all the clothes to find one piece of a garment and then start again for the next.

With better visibility, the staff could keep a check on the cleanliness and garment health. The crew would easily be able to identify and check for the availability of different garments.

Technical Specifications

The garment carousel is an ideal choice for a university theater comparing the requirements to the capacity.

  • Controls: Forward/Reverse push buttons with security keypad and e-stop
  • Overall Capacity: 13,000 lbs for 5,896 kg chain rating
  • Carrier Capacity: 1,000 lbs for 454 kg weight capacity
  • Off-Balance: 15% off-balance load capacity
  • Retrieval Speed: 21' | 6400 mm per minute
  • Electrical: 208/230V, 15 Amp, 60 Hz, 3 Phase or 460/480V, 10 Amp, 60 Hz, 3 Phase
  • 2" | 51 mm mesh guarding front and back
  • 2 x garment protectors per carrier

Other Features of Costume Storage Carousels

The costume storage carousel comes in all standard colors. It can be further customized to meet the look and feel of the theater design. The panels and the structure are white, while the carriers and mesh are grey.

Three available variants come in 12', 15', and 18' carousel width. You can further modify it to have the following features:

  • Full Enclosure: Use solid paneling instead of the mesh guarding on the front and rear for added security and dust protection.
  • Dual Controls: The duplicate control-center on the left tower enables control from either side.
  • Automatic Retrieval: An automated retrieval system can automatically help you fetch the required garment using the shortest possible path.
  • Multi-Tower Configuration and Over the Top Configuration: You can increase the capacity by modifying the carousel with an extra tower or an inverted 'L' shaped chain path.

Get Assistance for Design and Installation of Theater Costume Carousels

Vertical carousels are the preferred storage systems used across various industries. It fits naturally in the theater as well, where it solves multiple challenges faced by local theater productions by using a straightforward mechanism. The garment carousel is an excellent example of the use of carousels in storing theater costumes.

You can further improve efficiency by complementing the garment carousel with inventory control solutions, including touch screen controllers, bar code scanning, and a pick-to-zone system. These features help you stay organized and facilitates easy retrieval, particularly in larger storage zones.

Southwest Solutions Group® is an innovative leader in the design and installation of storage systems. Our experts will help you set up the right theater carousel storage and related inventory management systems according to your needs. Call us at 1-800-803-1083 or reach out to the Southwest Solutions Group team today.

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