MODULAR STANDS: Modular on parade - Companies in the modular market seem to claim every development as a unique technological breakthrough. Are they right? Here the leading manufacturers make their case to Mike Fletcher

An effective exhibition stand requires efficient planning and a good design. And with exhibitors now attending about seven shows a year, companies are looking for a flexible exhibiting solution which can be used on a repeat basis.

An effective exhibition stand requires efficient planning and a good design. And with exhibitors now attending about seven shows a year, companies are looking for a flexible exhibiting solution which can be used on a repeat basis.

The increase in demand coupled with an extensive product range has led to healthy rivalries between businesses. Each company now claims to have a system that will ease the strain of transportation or make assembling the unit in an exhibition environment a breeze.

Every time a modular product is launched, the marketing machines roar into action and the new arrival is hailed as the latest in modern display technology or lighter than its nearest competitor because of advancements in raw materials. RT Display managing director Richard Armitage dismissed the hype in the June issue of Marketing Event stating that 'they are all variations on a theme'. And Display Matrix marketing manager Karina Gan leapt to the defence of her company's Revolution system in a letter in the July/August issue, after Clip Display managing director Philip Oatley had criticised its weight and flexibility.

So we at Marketing Event have decided to let the companies have their say. We asked ten display marketing companies to justify their claims on one modular product they consider unique to the market. The result is our very own buyers' guide to the best the modular stand industry has to offer.



Abex

Portability: The Abex pop-up comes in three variations - 200, 250, and 300. Where the sole criterion is portability the Abex 200 is the answer - a four-by-three system with graphics and two lights that fits into a single carrying case. It measures 400mm by 410mm by 910mm, which will fit in virtually any car. The Abex 250 comes with a compact all-in-one case which has a low-cost, case-to-table conversion which carries in the single case. Abex has the largest range of cases from the popular 4100 case to the 4300 all-in-one case which converts into a lockable counter.

Durability: All Abex Products carry warranties ranging from five years to life.

Ease of assembly: All Abex products can be assembled by one person in a matter of minutes. They are supplied with an instruction manual.

Special characteristics: The unique Abex 300 hub allows the pop-up to be re-configured easily by the customer. Abex also offers the possibility of different coloured frames should designers wish to make a feature of them.

Clients: Phillips, Soccer Network, BRMB, Bidme.com, Magna Bikes, SRS Technology.

Price: On inquiry.



SKYTRUSS, SERVICE POINT SKYLINE

Portability: Minimise space and you minimise cost. SPS claims Skytruss is a uniquely collapsible component. With folding Skytruss sections you can fit up to 32 feet of Skytruss into portable, flight-friendly shipping cases. Whether exhibiting locally, nationally or internationally, the Skytruss design makes transportation easy and cost-effective.

Durability: Skytruss has almost unparalleled hanging, platform, audio-visual and integration capabilities. It can be designed to support conference floors, presentation platforms and a limitless number of products. Skytruss is completely reconfigurable and providing careful installation, dismantle and storage has an indefinite lifespan.

Ease of assembly: Skytruss can be assembled by one person or an installation and dismantle team. Using fold-up sections of Skytruss, imaginative designs are assembled with ease. The universal corner cube, with interchangeable stud connections allows for two-way, three-way, four-way, five-way and six-way connections between Skytruss sections.

Special characteristics: The straight and curved Skytruss are built from collapsible square tubing, which is a unique feature in the modular marketplace. The square framework also enables graphics and fabric fascia coverings to be applied for more effective communication of company messages. The universal corner cube also reduces the cost and time associated with reconfiguring a Skytruss design.

Clients: BT, British Airways, Heinz, Bupa, Mastercard, Malaysia Tourism.

Price: On inquiry.



PREMIER FLEXILITE, PHOTOBITION

Portability: Premier Flexilite is a lightweight, exhibition counter-top product offering. It comprises three pieces; the counter-top, base and a unique corrugated wrap construction. With ease of transportation and compact storage at the forefront of the design, all three pieces break down into one carrying case.

Durability: Each Premier Flexilite piece is manufactured from wood and laminated to prevent wear and tear. To enhance durability, the corrugated wrap is strengthened with a water-based adhesive and lined with extra strength velcro. Although lightweight, Premier Flexilite has undergone extensive testing to ensure that once erected, the unit can support up to 90kg.

Ease of assembly: Rapid assembly without the need for tools is one of Premier Flexilite's key selling points. Edged with velcro strips, the corrugated wrap attaches itself to the base and counter-top, providing a completed, ready-to-use display system within minutes. To customise the unit, two magnetic strips are incorporated into the wrap structure offering a quick and simple graphic application option.

Special characteristics: Premier Flexilite comes in a range of shapes - oval, rectangle and curved - and an array of finishes including steamed beech, granite, black, a unique brushed silver and fabric. Premier Flexilite also boasts an extensive range of unrivalled accessories including locking door, cable tidy, internal shelf and pull out keyboard.

Clients: An assortment of training, conference and leading exhibition companies.

Price: From pounds 490.



CLIP

Portability: Lighter than equivalent pop-up displays and flat pack, Clip is shipped economically around the world from its UK manufacturing base, by sea and by air to markets as far afield as Japan, South Africa and the US. Moulded carry cases protect the finish from the ravages of freight handlers.

Durability: Clip's durability stems from its simplicity and its unique lightweight construction. Easy to assemble, easy to handle, easy to transport - all these make for minimal stress and damage to the product, but not at the expense of Clip's inherent strength and durability. Tests by Bath University's department of engineering confirm that Clip is one of the toughest possible.

Ease of assembly: We believe in one simple fixing method - the clip, which gives the product its name. No loose parts to lose or get damaged.

Special characteristics: Apart from the qualities of ease of assembly, handling and durability, there is one characteristic above all others that separates Clip from the rest. From the start Clip's design has recognised that exhibitors do not want visitors to see the display system, but to witness the environment that it creates. Clip is designed to be visually unobtrusive. The exhibitor's image and graphics come to the fore, not the system that supports them.

Clients: Dell Computers, Edinburgh Crystal, Shell, Nordson, the Danish Government.

Price: On inquiry.



NIMLINK, NIMLOK

Portability: Because Nimlink is completely modular, transportation of the system is easy. Once the stand has been dismantled section by section, Nimlok's moulded wheeled cases and Nimcrates provide proper protection and storage whether it is to be shipped locally or across the world.

Durability: Nimlink combines the unique look and presence of a custom-built exhibition stand with the cost savings only a modular system can offer in set-up, storage, transport and reconfiguration.

Ease of assembly: Assembly of Nimlink is easy. Clients can opt for self-assembly or for a fully serviced exhibition stand. For self-assembly, Nimlok can supply an extensive book of set-up instructions which have been tailored to suit the specific design. For a fully serviced exhibition stand Nimlok will organise all elements of installation and dismantling.

This can include electrics, flooring, plumbing, furniture and floral, as well as portable kitchen facilities and audio-visual equipment. Additionally, stands can be stored and shipped to the next venue.

Special characteristics: Nimlok offers a free stand design service, which includes the redesign of equipment into different configurations for future shows. The cost effectiveness and flexibility of this modular stand is a well-established fact. But the big difference with Nimlink is that it provides all the benefits of a modular display stand with a purpose-built look.

Clients: Waitrose, Fujitsu, Honeywell, Easynet, Polaroid, Kappler, Lansing Linde, Sara Lee, Titon Hardware and Scrivens.

Price: On inquiry.



COUNTERFIX, EXPO DISPLAY SERVICE

Portability: Transportation could not be easier. Counterfix is based upon exactly the same concept as its parent pop-up system - Prestige. The system condenses to at least one fifth of its assembled size. The complete counter including shelving and graphics fits into a flat, wheeled case.

Durability: Swiss precise design and engineering ensures the highest quality components and finish. The concept of this pop-up construction has been proven and in use for 14 years. Horizontal and endcap magnetic struts give the counter maximum stability. Each Counterfix can take up to 50kg in weight, which is ideal for a keyboard and monitor.

Ease of assembly: The Counterfix system is child's play to assemble. Pop-up the frame, attach the magnetic struts, place on the counter-top and attach panels. Counterfix is set up in minutes.

Special characteristics: By connecting any of the three curved and straight pop-up frames, using standard connector struts, it is possible to create a range of designs including S shapes and a complete circular enclosure. The tops are also standard modules available in either white or tiplex beech, giving endless possibilities. Internal shelving is standard, as is totally enclosing the frame with panelling. Cable cut-outs, in the tops are available and a higher surface for computer keyboard/monitor facility can be added quickly and easily.

Clients: Ordnance Survey, British American Racing F1 Team, Leica Geo Systems, North Wales TEC, Fossil Watches.

Price: From pounds 698.25



PLATINUM, NOMADIC DISPLAY

Portability: Until the launch of Platinum one of the key selling points of the Nomadic pop-up system was that it could be transported in the boot of a car. The solid nature and weight-bearing capability of the Platinum system means it inevitably requires a different approach. Platinum packaging consists of a range of impact-resistant wheeled cases that can be manoeuvred easily, even by one person.

Durability: Platinum is constructed from durable welded aluminium with customised extrusions to avoid the common occurrence of light leakage. Platinum has the support of a lifetime warranty against manufacturing and material defects.

Special characteristics: It can be used on its own or fully integrated with Nomadic's other pop-up systems. Platinum panels have dual surfaces as a standard feature - fabric on one side and laminate on the other for ease of reversibility and flexibility. An extensive range of designs and colours are available fabric, brushed metal, marble and timber effects.

Clients: International Tennis Association, Cradley Print, MIS Banking, Institute of Management.

Price: Average three-metre Platinum stand costs about pounds 3,000.



REVOLUTION, DISPLAY MATRIX

Portability, durability and ease of assembly: This unique concept has been designed for maximum portability, durability and ease of assembly. Display Matrix spent two years developing the Revolution and undertook in-depth customer research to bring the system to the market.

Special characteristics: The system is available in four heights: 1m, 1.3m, 2m and 2.3m and can be set curved or straight. A four-section system can be reduced to three, two or even one section in seconds without modifications to hardware or graphics. The width is adjustable from 1.3m to 3.3m and can be used in various configurations and layouts.

Clients: Coca-Cola, The AGA Group, Clerical Medical and Forte Hotels.

Price: On inquiry



MAXIMA LIGHT, RT DISPLAY

Portability: Maxima Light is completely demountable into its basic components - uprights, beams, infill panels etc. These can be packed to occupy the minimum space and, being lightweight aluminium, they are very easy to handle. Stands built with Maxima Light are therefore easy to transport and store.

Durability: Built to provide economy through reusability, Maxima Light comprises high quality aluminium extrusions which combine good looks with robust durability. These ensure that the system performs perfectly time after time while retaining its original good looks. The system is ideally suited to those who exhibit frequently in a season.

Ease of assembly: The slots in Maxima Light profiles will accept the patented locking device that is installed in other Octanorm components. Assembly is as easy as locating the required component in place on the Maxima Light profile then operating the locking mechanism by a simple turn of a key.

Special characteristics: As well as its unique size, Maxima Light is available with a range of hinges to give even greater freedom of design. With the Hinge System uprights no longer have to be upright and connections do not have to be right-angled. In fact the designer is free to take almost any angle to give a stand new directions as well as new dimensions.

Price: On inquiry.



PLEX ELITE

Portability: The Plex Elite pop-up system is highly portable and can be easily transported in the boot of any hatch-back car. The full system, including frame, magnetic bars, graphic panels or fabric panels and spot lights, can be neatly packed into any of the wheeled transit cases available from our extensive range.

Durability: Plex Elite is constructed in a stylish metallic blue, lightweight yet strong aluminium frame.

Ease of assembly: Plex Elite can be assembled in minutes with no tools required. Simply remove the lightweight frame from the transit case, extend and lock the frame into position with the unique push fit locking arms, clip on the magnet fixing bars and finally dress the system with either magnetic graphics panels or magnetic fabric panels.

Special characteristics: Plex Elite features the aforementioned locking arm system and hidden-from-front-view, easy-to-use panel hanging kits. The system also boasts the simple 'click fit' elegant magnetic fixing bars and the unique quick connect universal spot light fittings.

Clients: Players in the commercial, industrial and educational sectors.

Price: On inquiry.




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