Being specialists in aluminium products, we made the choice to concentrate our stock and our product choice to the professional medium to heavy use aluminium stage deck systems, and stay clear of the lightweight all wood or ultra heavy steel touring platforms that offer little benefit performance wise over the latest aluminium designs but lose out to it hugely on portability and modular functionality.
Professional stage decks or platforms come in many different styles and designs, with some following a specific task or intended user base, while others adopt a more multi usage design and construction.
Some manufacturers utilise all wood frames and tops which are generally closer to normal tables so generally aimed only at primary school or low weight usage, while others use steel or aluminium. The same goes for legs, and these vary from fixed types and set height, to quick change designs or the expansion style riser platform systems.
It all comes down to intended use, the cost, and the level of performance and durability expected from the equipment.
A stage deck that’s pulled out once a week as an assembly speech platform is obviously not going to face the stresses of a deck being used in an exercise class, or on a drama or live music stage, or one that’s being used for a raised seating system, so the required usage very much dictates what is or is not suitable.
For the ultimate in portability performance staging, the newest platforms on the market utilise what’s called a riser leg system. This unique design has a fixed number of legs and feet (usually 6 or 9 total) which operate in a umbrella / concertina mechanism allowing them to support a 1m x 1m, or 2m x 1m platform yet fold away into a single unit for easy transport in a bag.
The laminated wood anti slip surfaces are located and attached to the riser using simple hex bolts for a strong and rigid fixing.
The purchase of different heights of leg riser units allows a single top deck to become multi purpose, and the stage units offer a surprisingly heavy loading capacity, so will handle day to day usage and all manner of tasks with no problem.
Riser based stage systems offer a fantastic, easy to use setup for the light to medium duty user and also for the non professional looking for a simple to use raised platform
The industry standard sizing for professional portable staging follows the metric system, with offerings of a square 1m x 1m surface or the larger 2m x 1m rectangle platform. This size was chosen as its easy to transport and store, and its sizing makes working out the total decks required for a given area much simpler.
That being said, there is also a traditional imperial sized deck available too which uses the 8’ x 4’ format which was the industry standard for decades. Though the practicality of the smaller metric decks makes it the more popular choice now, there is still demand for the larger system, especially for festival staging and theatre installation.
The aluminium frames have evolved from the early days using folded sheet material, to the latest high performance extruding techniques which allow a complex braced structure to be manufactured in a singular length that removes the need for any internal welding. This has allowed weight saving and less raw material usage, whilst more than doubling the load bearing capability of the structures, putting aluminium staging on par with the performance levels of a steel frame at less than half the weight, with the added benefit of aluminium’s resistance to corrosion.
Top surfaces are laminated plywood, used for its immense torsional strength and resistance to bowing and twisting, along with its anti mould and moisture attributes making it just the perfect construct for a busy working board. They are supplied in variations of thickness depending on the price point and total loading capability of the deck. The thinnest being 12mm, with standard being 15mm to 18mm, and heavy duty being 22mm depending on manufacturer.
The standard staging decks we supply at Stage Concepts feature 18mm tops for upper levels of performance, and makes our standard platform suitable for the widest range of tasks and situations, with loading and top deflection having ratings that far exceed any average users requirements. The standard 2m x 1m stage deck is TUV rated to 750kg /m2
Should there be concerns or just the desire to go one further than this, we also offer a heavy frame version of the platform, which uses a double thickness extrusion and 22mm top surface and extra bracing, giving it an enormous 900kg /m2 load rating per deck.
As standard, the professional level stage decks from most manufacturers use the industry standard 48mm diameter, 3mm wall aluminium truss tubing (or scaffold pole) for flexibility and ease of replacement. It also keeps legs as a minimum cost, and allows custom heights to be cut and fitted on site if need be.
Manufacturer supplied legs will have rubber or plastic anti slip feet installed, but these can be easily purchased and fitted to your own custom cut leg pole sections.
Stage deck leg heights have a safety regulated maximum of 1400mm, but can be anything up to this max figure to suit what’s required. Public safety regulation will also dictate that staging over 400mm high must be accompanied by a step or stair system to aid with getting up and down from the platform without strain or incident.
In professional terms, a 2m x 1m platform is considered quite portable. It will fit easily in vans, and even some estate cars, and can be moved around with relative ease by hand or on a trolley.
At 29kg you can stack ten aluminium decks onto a wheeled trolley and it will still be perfectly reasonable to push around, the same could not be said for the steel framed equivalent with an average weight of 70kg per deck, so the aluminium platform lends itself greatly to large productions and rental companies.
Legs can be quickly removed and placed into the upturned decks as they are placed on the trolley or into the vehicle, saving them from requiring extra space during storage and transport.
From the V&A museum and Saatchi Gallery, to Warner Brothers Studios and Crystal Palace FC, our truss systems and bespoke designed truss constructions have found homes in a wide selection of both public and private events and for a variety of tasks.
We have also supplied trussing and stage deck systems to the Next and TopShop group, Harley Davidson, Jump Giants Trampoline Park, alongside the many private individuals and trade customers that have purchased everything from a singular stage deck right up to a large festival stage roof system.
Large circular truss lighting rigs and stage platform systems for film sets, structural truss arches and walkways for exhibitions and shopping centre events, vehicle plinths and truss for showroom displays, truss based obstacle courses, and the supply of full professional sound and lighting packages means Stage Concepts can fulfill your project requirements no matter how large or small they may be.