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Trends in aluminum extrusion design

Exhibit City News recently interviewed three trusted sources in the extrusion industry to get a comprehensive look at the benefits, trends and technology that make up this growing segment of exhibit design.


Speaking on behalf of ClassicMODUL, a supplier of aluminum extrusions that offers comprehensive design and engineering support, is Mel White, vice president of marketing and business development.

Representing Octanorm USA, a leader in the extrusions market since the company was founded in 1968, is Norm Friedrich, president.

Our final industry professional, Xavier Decludt, is the president of AGAM Group, a worldwide supplier of aluminum modular display systems.

ECN: What trends do you see in exhibit extrusion designs?
Decludt: The demand for lightweight, portable exhibits is on the rise. As far as the products themselves are concerned, powder coating and vinyl wrapping are becoming more popular. Anodizing, another trend we are seeing, increases corrosion resistance and wear resistance and provides better adhesion for paint primers and glues than bare metal.

White: Definitely, more and more fabric applications are being seen in both tradeshows and permanent exhibit installations. In addition, clients are requesting designs that allow for multi-purposing of an exhibit where it can be used on the show floor and then in a corporate or retail setting. They want to see their “display investment” function 365 days of the year, not just three or four times at tradeshows.

Designers want curves, but not all extrusion suppliers have had the capability to bend metal. More suppliers are adding this option on many profiles, thereby blurring the difference between what can be achieved with wood construction vs. metal construction.

Rentals have become almost exclusively extrusion based. It just makes sense. Aluminum is durable, versatile and cost-effective. Gone are the days where show contractors offered battered, ugly aluminum extrusion displays. Now many display distributors and manufacturers offer designs that can be tailored to the client’s needs and that appear not only new, but custom.

Friedrich: Aside from the obvious popularity of extrusions designed for printed fabric, we don’t see any significant trends in the design of aluminum profiles. The fact that they are larger and more architectural is a trend we have seen for several years, but the real trend we notice is the increased interest in custom rentals. Rental exhibits are not something we have traditionally embraced as an industry in the US, but changes in the economic climate combined with systems that promote creativity in design have helped to make rentals more attractive. I also think the world has become a much smaller place and many companies that have had great “rental” experiences overseas are looking to do the same thing here.

Additional benefits of extrusion based systems:

  • Offer unique design accents
  • Scalability
  • Portability
  • Ease of installation
  • Exhibit Life. Aluminum extrusions can be re-anodized or powder-coated again and again.
  • Versatility/Modularity. Aluminum extrusion allows you to recreate designs by using the existing components and then adding to them. There’s a reason why most rentals, whether inlines or islands, are now based on aluminum extrusion components.
  • Lightweight. Weight matters in the North American market. Exhibitors want high design, but with minimal weight and assembly.
  • Multiple Graphics Attachment Options. Direct print, tension fabric, suspended graphics, and silicone edge graphics (just to name a few).
  • Multiple Uses. Tradeshows, showrooms, retail, museums, corporate offices, architecture.
  • Accessories. Hundreds of options.
  • Green. Depending on the manufacturer, aluminum extrusion often contains both post-consumer and/or post-industrial aluminum. Plus, there’s no more recyclable metal than aluminum. It’s easy to recycle aluminum anywhere.
  • Structural integrity
  • Custom capabilities
  • Re-useable for rental programs
  • Can be combined with countless substrates

Related News: Aluminum extrusions offer few limitations

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