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Exhibiting the Great Outdoors

(September 2008) posted on Fri Sep 26, 2008

Rainier Industries devises an intriguing system for easy-to-hang booth graphics.


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Outdoor-apparel supplier Kavu was tired of its tradeshow booth. The graphics had been mounted years ago using a system that didn’t allow the company to change out the graphics (new graphics had been printed and simply hung over the existing graphics). Kavu now wanted the old graphics gone and needed a system that would allow a quick change-out of graphics for various tradeshows and events.

Enter Rainier Industries with its textile experience, as well as printing and fabricating capabilities. While smaller graphics could simply be installed with Velcro strips, Rainier was tasked with developing a new system to easily hang graphics on the long sides of the booth.

Rainier’s technical-services department evaluated the challenge and devised a Keider rope-and-track system. After the technical drawings were created, the weld shop produced the clamps/keider system that attached to the existing booth. The system employs a metal channel clamped to the booth; the rope sewn into the top of the print allows the graphics to slide into the metal channel for a clean, finished look.

As for the printing, dye-sublimation was the printing method-of-choice. "It provided a crisp clean look and the client really wanted an image that you could see on both sides to attract people into the booth-and serve as a visual stimulus while in the booth," says Rainier’s Elisa Wiscomb. "Using dye-sublimation also helped with costs since it eliminates the need for double-sided printing; it also saved on material use/waste, which is highly important to this client."

Another challenge was fabric shrinkage during heat setting. "We tested samples to calculate the percentage the fabric shrank both in width and height," says Wiscomb. Using these calculations, Rainier determined the exact print sizes of the graphics.

Kavu provided the images and Rainier e-mailed proofs to verify layout and dimensions. Rainier printed 850 square foot of Jetcol transfer paper using its EFI Vutek 3360, which was converted to dye-sublimation and now uses Inkware sublimation inks. Printing took 6 hours. The images were sublimated onto Aberdeen Flag fabric from Wilmark using Rainier’s Klieverik 8960 heat calendar.

Finishing involved hemming each side, with a 2-inch pole pocket on the bottom. The Keider rope was sewn into the top panels to slide into the custom Keider track system.

Now, instead of a booth with static graphics, Kavu can-and has-changed out the graphics per show and/or season. "We’ve done three tradeshow booths for Kavu since," reports Wiscomb. "The system we custom-created was also a huge hit because it allowed the fabric to lay perfectly flat off the structure of their booth."

Based in Seattle, Washington, Rainier is a manufacturer of fabric and display products, including large-format graphics, digital wallcoverings, retail P-O-P displays, sewn applique banners, tents, and awnings. The company also owns an EFI Vutek QS2000 and QS3200, two solvent and one dye-sub Vutek 3360, and two HP Designjet 5500s and Z6100s. Rainier’s most recent purchase: Durst Rho 351R and Durst Rho 800 printers, providing the shop with the ability to print white.

RAINIER INDUSTRIES
www.rainier.com


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