As a full-service Exhibit house, keeping pace with technology is a must for The Trade Group. So much so, we’ve invested heavily in our shop and production areas to expand the creative solutions we offer, improve efficiencies and help keep customer costs in check.
According to Chris Stone, President of The Trade Group, “We’re always looking for new ways to shorten production times without sacrificing quality. The new equipment we purchased for our shop is helping us cut Labor Costs and deliver more high-end finishes and creative design solutions than ever before.”
The Trade Group’s Production Manager Bob Iacobucci agrees. With 34 years of cabinetry design and production under his belt, Iacobucci is fully aware of the skill and craftsmanship involved with traditional cabinetry methods. “The addition of our new thermoforming and edge-banding machines really helps our team save time and produce a superior product,” Iacobucci says.
THERMOFORMING PROVIDES DURABLE, 3-D GRAPHICS & HIGH-END FINISHES
Think of the thermoforming machine as a jumbo Easy-Bake Oven … As Iacobucci explains, “Thermoforming involves taking a sheet of plastic or colorized PVC and heating it so it becomes pliable. The oven-like machine uses a vacuum process to form the plastic around a mold or to adhere it to a panel or basically any other shape we create.”
The technology also gives exhibit designers more opportunities to stretch their creativity. They can create an endless number of 2-D and 3-D designs using AutoCAD software, then cut those shapes into wood with the CNC router to create a mold or pieces covered with plastic or PVC.
So if you want to embed your logo into the front of a countertop, we can use a CNC router to cut the logo into a panel and cover it with a high-end, durable finish using thermoforming.
“Embedding a logo into a laminate cabinet or panel isn’t impossible, but it is labor intensive and cost prohibitive for the vast majority of clients. Thermoforming automates the process, so we can deliver one-of-a-kind customization at an affordable price,” Stone says.
EDGE-BANDING SAVES TIME & LABOR COSTS, ELEVATES QUALITY
Cabinet doors and counters are usually made of particleboard or MDF and covered in laminate or some other material. The pieces also need some sort of finish on the ends to achieve a clean edge. Finishing the ends by hand with matching laminate is time consuming and requires a high degree of cabinetry expertise.
Now, with the edge-banding machine, Iacobucci and team can create a high-end finish in a fraction of the time. As he explains, “With the new edge-banding machine, we can apply PVC, solid wood, laminate or wood veneers on the edges of the counters and cabinets, up to 2 inches wide and 3 mm thick. This produces a faster, finished edge instead of a raw wood edge.”
Clients end up with a high-end look at a lower cost than the previous method, since the machine is performing a job normally done by a skilled craftsperson. Edge-banding finishes also offer a step up from low-cost, plastic or rubber T molding solutions, which have been commonly used in exhibit cabinetry.
STATE-OF-THE-ART FORK & SCISSOR LIFTS AMP UP EFFICIENCY
The Trade Group also invested in two new Scissor Lifts and three electric forklifts to increase efficiencies in the shop, warehouse and during exhibit builds.
“Our Genie runabout scissor lifts give us the ability to build exhibits faster and more safely. Only one person is needed to run the scissor lifts, instead of two, which saves on labor costs. They are also safer and more efficient, because the crew won’t have to climb high ladders when building those 20’ or 30’ high exhibits,” says Iacobucci.
The new electric forklifts will also be big time savers for the production team. As Stone explains, “Instead of loading and unloading an 18-wheeler by hand, the new forklifts allow the team to drive right onto the truck, which will again save time and labor costs. These forklifts will also make it easier to move pallets around, so the guys can perform their jobs more efficiently.”
NEW TECHNOLOGY TRANSLATES TO SAVINGS
Our clients keep telling us they need to do more with less. By investing in technology and improving efficiencies, we’ll be able to provide trade show, event and brand marketers with more creative exhibit design solutions, while controlling costs at the same time.