Smooth entertainment aboard, even in rough seas thanks to igus and Videlio-HMS

At French shipyard Chantiers de l’Atlantique, theatres and entertainment systems supplied by Videlio-HMS must pass rigorous standards to run smoothly at sea. Cables and energy supply systems supplied by igus are chosen for their reliability and maritime standards.

Life at sea is very different to life on dry land; ask any seafarer. And all the engineering requirements are also different. First, a cruise ship is like a small town with up to nine thousand inhabitants, who demand entertainment. That means several theatres for live performances of different sizes need installing. Another special feature is that everything on board is constantly in motion, with accelerations and decelerations as the ship pitches and yaws. The loads inside the ship are very different depending on whether you are on a wave elevation or trough. And also, numerous subcontractors must be coordinated during the construction phase, often working in very confined spaces, which leads to greater stress than on a normal construction site. Contractors must adhere to extremely tight build schedules and to introduce specific procedures and processes to guarantee that all facilities are completed within the specified deadlines.

Videlio, an integrator and supplier of professional audio-visual services, supplies 100% of the French market for stage technology on cruise ships via its subsidiary, Videlio-HMS. It specialises in bespoke AV solutions for event halls on cruise ships, and big shows and concerts where large-format LED screens, video projections or stage lighting are used. “We specialise in several systems that are used on board cruise ships, primarily including the entertainment system for passengers, i.e. audio, lighting and video installations,” explains Marco Baldin, Sales Manager at Videlio-HMS. “It also involves stage technology that includes stage lifts, and finally the communication systems on board the ship.”


The DNV GL standard: essential for use at sea

A stage lift is a platform on which a wide range of equipment can be moved, such as loudspeakers, spotlights and the safety devices of the lift itself, and all this must be supplied with cables that follow the vertical axis movement. Videlio-HMS therefore specified chainflex cables and energy chain systems from igus, which are developed for moving applications. These are reliable and tough systems that come with a 36-month guarantee. The cables are available with different jacket versions and fulfil the EMC requirements (electromagnetic compatibility) as well as the standards and directives such as UL, CSA, VDE, EAC, CTP, Interbus and Profibus. There is also a special product range for use at sea that fulfils the DNV GL standard which was originally developed for the offshore industry.


The stage lift, manufactured in Italy by Videlio-HMS, is delivered to the shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France, 90% pre-assembled and tested, but still unharnessed. “As soon as the parts are on board, we carry out the cabling to connect the power and signal cabinets to the lift,” Baldin explains. “It is essential that we adhere to the requirements of the DNV GL standard, which requires cables that are flexible enough to withstand the unique sea movements without damage.”


For Videlio-HMS, the chainflex cables and energy chains from igus offer completely new possibilities compared to the previously used reeling systems, the design of which resulted in high costs. “When designing stage lifts, we were limited by the length of the cables and therefore always had to look for alternative solutions for devices that did not fit into the stage lift.” Today, the design teams of the shows on board can use new effects and therefore storylines, as they are no longer restricted by problems with signal transmission or insufficient power in the stage lift.


No technical problems for 365 days a year over five years

When laying cables on board a ship extremely strict rules regarding cable routing must be followed, which are specified by the shipyard and marine standards. Due to fire safety regulations in particular, cables must follow a predetermined scheme that takes these rules into account. However, when Videlio starts work on a project, the required cable lengths have not been determined exactly and the energy chains are therefore only fitted at the very end. “We investigated alternatives, such as equipping the stage lift with readily harnessed cables and energy chain systems that only had to be connected to the mounting points,” explains Baldin. “However, this incurred an additional risk of errors at the terminal strips, which we had to add later. Wherever possible, we use end-to-end cables from the control cabinet to the consumer unit, because every connection point is a potential point of failure.”


Baldin adds, “Whatever we specified, igus fulfilled. The solutions we use range from cables on a drum to readily harnessed cables with plug-in connectors that are placed in an energy chain to ensure real “plug & play”.


igus chainflex cables used since 2018 in accordance with the DNV GL standard have been fitted to at least six passenger ships built by Chantiers de l’Atlantique for the cruise companies MSC, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Celebrity Cruises, with no reported technical problems to date. This high reliability is extremely important for ships that operate 365-days a year and on which there are often two performances a day. “This reliability is very important both for safety reasons, as some cables transport device-related data, and for value reasons”, says Baldin. “Flying out a technician for repair during a stopover is very expensive.”


Operating in such an industry, the quality of service, the consulting expertise, the information about new products and the flexibility of igus is also highly valued. “igus also helps out with any glitch, like a few metres of cable when we have a problem with a cut length. We really appreciate the fact that they don’t just sell us a product and then wait for the next order. The igus teams are always available to respond to our enquiries.”


For more information on this product, please contact:


Ashleigh Boyce

Tel: 01604 677240



Taylor Macdonald

Tel: 01604 677240