Monday August 14, 2017 at 3:42pm
The Nardo Technical Center in Bari, Italy, provides technical support for prestige brand Porsche. They asked us to make 2x life-sized inflatable cars for static crash testing. Attached our most popular model the VW Golf, and the Mazda CX-3, with separate front and rear bumpers to mitigate impact damage, and radar pockets to front/rear/sides for sensor testing with LIDAR, RADAR and SONAR.
Monday August 14, 2017 at 3:34pm
Our valued client Valeo in Ireland came back to us with a referral via their sister branch in Germany, Valeo Switches and Systems GmbH. They wanted a crash test wall to be used for sensor testing with a moving target. We based our design on the NCAP style test target we made for Audi Australia earlier this year (see April blog entry), using a really robust multi-filament material which gives an ideal flat surface. Digital print on both sides of the structure allows 2 surface renderings to be used in the same testing session, whilst the connecting tubes are in marine grade material used for dinghies, which displaces impact force. Radar pockets on both walls allow the testing team to use reflective material to sense the incoming target.
Monday August 14, 2017 at 3:04pm
We were asked to scale down our lifesize Philips scanner for the Swiss Institute of Technology to use in seminars at the university. The scanner is 1.5m tall as opposed to the lifesize 2m tall, so not suitable for actual demonstrations of getting inside, but perfect as a showpiece. Lightweight, around 9kgs so great for exhibition use.
Monday August 14, 2017 at 2:05pm
Various inflatables for the Confederation Cup Opening and Closing Ceremonies in St Petersburg, Russia
To provide a range of giant inflatables that can be brought onto the football pitch in the Zenit stadium and take large weight bearing loads without damaging the grass, which is a strict requirement of FIFA. The inflatables were proposed as a lightweight alternative to metal and wood staging which was deemed to be too heavy for the pitch, as well as taking too long to install and take down before the game.
To design, build and test various giant inflatables for the Opening Ceremony in St Petersburg in a very limited timeframe. The initial brief was given to us at the end of April 2017 and all inflatables had to be on site in time for rehearsals on 29th May, with the Opening event being 17th June.
To create giant inflatables as sealed units i.e no attached constant running fans for inflation, and thereby no cabling, so that the units can be pre-inflated and carried onto and off the pitch.
To create giant helium inflatables (7m dia sun and 12m diameter cloud) under which an acrobat can be harnessed; the inflatable will be walked onto the Field of Play by the technical team, with the acrobat completing acrobatics while suspended, before releasing him/herself from the harness and dropping onto the inflatable platform. The cloud and sun should therefore each be able to take a payload of c. 85kgs (acrobat + harness). In addition the cloud will have full surface coverage with tulle netting (to create fluffy effect) which has a payload of approx. 36kgs. The harness lines from the cloud/sun should be spread out and inbuilt into the structure so as to displace the payload such that failure of any one or multiple lines will not put the acrobat in danger.
The main product is a 15m diameter platform designed to be inflated at the side of the football pitch, carried onto the Field of Play by a team of 24, and then danced on by acrobats before being moved off the pitch within a 20 minute deadline. It should therefore be sufficiently light for a team of 24 average men to lift and move a distance of max 50 yards. It should be sufficiently robust and durable to create a dancing platform which also has a slight spring in it for acrobatics.
In addition there will be various inflatable trees, coloured spheres to represent the flags of nations competing, and 2 giant inflatable 10m dia stadiums to represent actual Zenit and Kazan stadiums.
An inflatable platform has never been done before to this size, whilst being entirely mobile and able to be inflated and deflated in a short timescale given. We did not know if a platform of that diameter would become convex when lifted or danced upon. The platform would have to be of a sufficient height to have enough volume of air inside it to take weight of dancers without being too high to climb on or exit off; It would need an internal structure which would stay rigid at the outer rim if danced upon whilst offering a flat top surface; grab handles would need to be strong enough to lift the weight of the whole structure without ripping away; it would need to inflate in no more than 1 hour and deflate within 20 minutes; as a sealed unit, keeping a steady internal pressure would be an issue as the air cannot be regulated. Over-inflation could burst the seams and internal ties, yet under-inflation would not provide the necessary rigidity for dancing. The unit would also be subject to heat expansion i.e in hot weather the air inside would expand and place pressure on the seams.
The printed platform cover would need to provide anti-slip grip and be removable.
Without printed cover With printed cover
It was decided we would build a plywood dancefloor to sit on the platform surface and under the platform cover, providing rigidity to the surface without too much additional weight. The diameter was 11m. However this itself weighed around 700kg.
Plywood dancefloor under construction
The outer skin of the 7m sun is a gold fabric which had a full surface print on it. Printing red on gold did not produce the vibrant colour required (it came out grey) so this had to be over-painted by hand.
Test run of red print on gold
Effect of over-painting on test piece
Over-painting on the final sphere
We produced back-ups of the 7m sun and 15m platform but due to its size and complexity there was not enough time to make a back-up cloud so based on the 8m cloud we made for London 2012 we proposed a size of 12m which we felt would give enough volume to take the weight of the acrobat.
Design Problems encountered
The first prototype platform did indeed burst at the centre area when left outside for 2 days in warm weather. The platform had been fully inflated but the air had expanded in warm weather and over pressurised the inflatable. This created a bulge in the centre where the internal seams had ruptured, which had to be repaired by cutting into the structure, stitching this up and over-glueing.
The 2nd back-up platform was re-designed with a strong 0.9mm removable tarpaulin inner ring (where the bulge had previously been on the first design) and a 0.50mm outer ring.
Final Shots in the stadium
Tuesday August 8, 2017 at 5:13pm
We created the giant inflatable shark for Keith and Paddy's picture show - Jaws that aired on ITV2 recently.
The shark was used to film clips on the sea and our trained operator went along to the event to help and found it great fun working with the crew!
Monday July 31, 2017 at 10:22am
We created a 4m twitter bird to float with helium for our customer in Ireland which was used at the Pride 2017 event in Ireland.
It looked great floating along in the crowds!
Wednesday July 26, 2017 at 9:58am
We created some helium filled inflatable flying fish for our end customer in Ireland.
The inflatable fish were 4m long so they could float with helium and digitally printed with the customers branding, we think they looked great at the show!
Monday July 24, 2017 at 11:28am
Imagine made two cold air filled inflatable football shootouts for our new customer The Royal Navy, the two shootouts were fully pantone matched to their corporate colours and the logos were printed direct which we think looked great.
Thursday June 22, 2017 at 12:07pm
This year we have returned to Cannes for the Festival of Creativity , where our previous yellow lion has been replaced with a brand new white one in heavy duty (and wipeable) tarpaulin to fit in with this year’s theme. He is 8m tall and is placed in the prestigious Pantero area down in the harbour. His chest banners are being changed throughout the week to coincide with awards ceremonies and at night he is backlit by spotlights. He can be seen along the length of the Promenade and is attracting a lot of attention from passer-by!
Tuesday June 13, 2017 at 3:46pm
Imagines team of trained operators installed a 7m long tunnel and an arch for our new customer CSM Live which was for the first HSBC bike ride event in Birmingham.
We are doing a few events over the summer so this was the first of many to come and it all went well and the customer was very happy.