Every year, the latest models presented by automotive manufacturers wow visitors at the big trade fairs. The high-quality exhibition spaces made from PLEXIGLAS® also play their part.
Andreas Szak, CEO of Acrysign Kunststofftechnik GmbH in Europe, reveals in an interview how he was able to expertly showcase a sports car using a composite made of PLEXIGLAS® Optical HC, the branded acrylic glass from Evonik, and special inlays.
The exhibits presented year on year at the large automotive trade fairs around the world are much more than just cars. They are the latest technical accomplishments of automotive manufacturers, sophisticated ideas from designers and visitors’ childhood dreams come true. It is all about visions and emotions – and attracting attention. Thousands of visitors crowd into the exhibition halls, and every exhibitor wants his or her presentation to receive the most attention. Polished to an incredible shine, the models are presented in spectacular lighting with fitting music and an impressive program of events. This guarantees great pictures that catch the eye in media coverage and thus serve as free advertising.
Trade fair flooring that stands out from the crowd
Booth design plays an important role in the competition for attention. Sophisticated concepts allow the exhibitors to fascinate and surprise the visitors again and again every year. Anything goes – the booths are as individual as the models being presented. While visitors are already used to carpet, wood and other smooth floors, composite flooring, for example, really catches the eye. It consists of two different materials and thus creates special effects.
Mr. Szak, what do materials for booth construction at motor shows need to offer?
Obviously the top priority is appearance: The materials need to be of good quality and carefully processed. Above all, they need to be able to withstand the weight of the car and the footwear of the visitors, so the floor definitely has to be scratch resistant.
You have conducted many booth construction projects. For Audi at the Paris Motor Show, for example, you built a floor that sparkled like a diamond under the lights. Why was this the desired effect?
The top goal was to present the cars as premium. One of the exhibits on show was a high-performance sports car – not a car for driving to the grocery store. Visitors associate models like that with speed, adventure and luxury. That is what gave us the idea of producing a high-gloss surface with a depth effect.
How did you do it?
With silicon carbide. The structure of the chemical compound of silicon and carbon is similar to that of a diamond and also has the same property: It sparkles like crazy, in black, blue and red. But we also needed to surround the silicon carbide with a suitable material that would accentuate its sparkling properties, and it did not take long for us to choose the branded product PLEXIGLAS® Optical HC. Its transparency is outstanding and thus ensures brilliance. In addition, the material is extremely scratch resistant, which is especially important for flooring at a trade fair.
How did you go about it?
The flooring is made of three layers, with PLEXIGLAS® Optical HC on top and underneath and inlays cast in resin in between. The PLEXIGLAS® plates were already cut when we received them, and we produced the inlays ourselves. Finally, we glued everything together: PLEXIGLAS® on top and underneath with silicon carbide in between. The result was a floor 1,500 kilograms in weight, 20 meters long and three meters wide.
How did you transport it to the fair hall?
That was comparatively easy, since the flooring comprised 35 individual plates that were joined together on site.
What was the greatest challenge you faced when producing the flooring?
Blunt blades. Silicon carbide is actually an abrasive, which was tough on our milling machines. It was smooth sailing other than that; the fair flooring was finished in just two weeks.