Material Selection Helps Grow Exhibit Success

Skyline® of Eagan, Minnesota, became successful with lightweight, portable exhibits. Yet, the company saw a growing need to help their clients become successful at trade shows through a larger, more substantial presence, while retaining as much as possible the lightweight and economical qualities of smaller exhibits. Material selection, along with experience, imagination and technological innovation, helped make this possible. Skyline introduced a modular, metal truss system that has proven to be useful in larger exhibits designed to present a more substantial image. The truss system is used as the framework for the addition of other materials selected for their ability to help Skyline meet the needs of each exhibit.
np411bc1561da3cTake the Skyline exhibit itself, for example. Large towers that appear to be brushed metal are actually fabricated from Sintra® Material that has been covered with laminate on both sides, using contact cement. Even the letters spelling “Skyline” atop the exhibit are made from a 4′ x 8′ sheet of Sintra Material that was first covered with laminate and then cut by computer controlled laser cutter and router.

“While Sintra Material is available in a number of colors, we stock black material and apply color laminate, so that we get exactly the color we want when we want it. The Sintra Material provides the strength and other properties needed for this application,” said Skyline Custom Shop Manager Dave McKusick. A moderately expanded, rigid plastic product, Sintra Material frequently is selected for its combination of strength, light weight and ease of fabrication.

Other materials in the exhibit also are chosen for their ability to “create a unique personality in an exhibit with a sense of space and mass,” according to Mike Thimmesch, Skyline’s director of marketing. These materials include a thin, flexible polycarbonate that can be curved over the metal trusses for display and later rolled up for shipping. “The modular, truss system allows us to make larger, elaborate shapes that have a unique design –– a design that has large presence without corresponding increases in weight or cost. It takes an in-house custom design and finishing team to make this happen,” Thimmesch said.

As these capabilities grew, Skyline outgrew its previous location in Burnsville, Minnesota, where it was established in 1980. A new 280,000 sq. ft. facility in Eagan, Minnesota, includes space for design, exhibit manufacturing, graphics, R & D, exhibit rental and asset management, metal fabrication, and administration.

While Skyline’s small, 10-ft. displays fit into two cases the size of golf bags, the larger displays, like its own exhibit, often require someone on site to supervise set-up. This 20′ x 40′ exhibit will become a 20′ x 30′ exhibit at another show. Yet, wherever in the world its own exhibit or a client’s exhibit goes, Skyline can arrange for setup, through its own or affiliated representatives.

“Setup is when we can really appreciate the combination of design and materials that go into our larger exhibits,” Thimmesch said.