Archive for May, 2012

Exhibitor2012 Exhibit Engineering/Construction

In the design phase (for Exhibitor 2012) the decision to have the entire upper portion of the booth back-lit drove the initial layout and engineering of the overhead structure.  We ran experiments using LED light strips and fluorescent light fixtures.  Each type of light source had its pro and cons.  We decided to use fluorescent for several reasons: the first was the even and consistent light it provided across the entire tube length.  Then we could also mount the light fixture parallel to the fabric easily lighting the inside and the outside of the unit, doubling their effectiveness.  With the fixtures parallel to the fabric it positioned the fluorescent units right on top of our channel.

With the lighting fixtures on top of the channel, mounting them was extremely straight forward.  We chose small units with a single tube with a small diameter bulb (approximately ½ in.).  I believe that the fluorescent units would be best described as the ones you might see lighting the inside of an accessory counter at a store.  With the choice of the fluorescent units, we started to get a picture of what each section might weight with all the lights, cords, plugs, fabric and the aluminum.  We also preformed some tests to determine the proper depth of the light box.  Once again we were pushing the envelope because we wanted the sections to be relatively thin.

With the basic parameter established we gave a lot of consideration to the construction of the overhead units.  They would need to be strong to safely hold the large amount of weight, and all critical connections would need to have multiple screw connections to eliminate any possibility of problems.  The units themselves would be designed from the start with the approach that any kind of failure would not be a possibility.  This design and engineering was enhanced through the use of our CNC laser and our CNC press brake.  The two machines enable us to cut and fold virtually any type of plate, bracket, or gusset we could image, in our choice of aluminum or steel.  This allowed us to engineer the sections way beyond the recommended requirement for a hanging structure of this configuration.


Once design and engineering of the units was complete manufacturing and assembly was relatively quick.  It required a longer amount of time to prepare and rig the ceiling of our manufacturing facility to test hang the units.  It was a lot of trips up and down on the scissor lift, now however we have a good test hanging area.  The units were finished and test hung to check all components and provide experience on how the spacing plates would hold and how the legs needed to be erected and attached.

Throughout the entire process of design and engineering of the booth, packing and shipping was a constant consideration.  AGAM made the decision that we were going to keep the booth in the largest pieces possible, and use large carts to ship the booth.   The choice of large sections on carts meant that the booth would require a dedicated truck.  It also meant that the booth would have to be shipped directly to the show floor.  Shipping dedicated truck and directly to the show floor allowed us to minimize the amount of packing material needed (no crates).  It also enabled us to cut down the amount of time required to pack and unpack the booth.  As a whole, the unpacking then the assembly of the booth as well as the tear down and repacking of the booth ended up being a fraction of the time it would have taken to completely disassemble the entire booth.  So the savings on labor from complete assembly to complete dis-assembly to repacking of a crate was massive.  The savings on labor offset the cost of having a dedicated truck and shipping directly to show floor.  The equation also does not take into account the elimination of errors in assembly of a booth, as complex as this one, from pieces rather than large component pieces as we did.

Well, we had a hiccup; the truck carrying the exhibit through the Rockies hit an unusual severe snowstorm, and the arrival of the truck was delayed a massive 20 hours; but, thanks to these per-engineered components, to a dedicated crew, exhibit construction was completed 36 hours before show opening, allowing us to catch some rest, to relax and to enjoy a magnificent show by Cirque du Soleil.

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