Custom production to order
The timeline also posed some challenges for production. Since Sleek would need to work with a particularly large order of custom-cut perforated window film, the order could not be processed until there was a final commitment in place from the client.
This limitation and the custom nature of the job forced Sleek initially to use a non-local supplier, since local companies could not meet the turnaround demand. In total, 33 rolls of film were custom cut to 0.97-m (38-in.) and 1.1-m (44-in.) widths to match the graphic column sizes.
The order arrived on May 2 for an installation scheduled to begin on May 7, so the production department needed to get rolling immediately. Halfway through printing, at the end of the workday on May 5, they discovered 10 of the rolls had been incorrectly slit to 0.91 m (36 in.) instead of 0.97 m (38 in.). As this was a Friday, there was almost no time to source replacement material, leaving Sleek in a very difficult bind.
Fortunately, thanks to the extraordinary efforts of another supplier, Grimco, Sleek was able to source air-shipped stock from Vancouver to arrive the following Monday, at which point the printing could be completed with other supplementary shipments. In the meantime, installation had begun, using the first half of the printed graphics.
Grimco saved Sleek from what could have been a disastrous delay. The printing continued flawlessly, requiring zero reprints and without any production or finishing errors.
The timeline would again prove difficult when it came to installation. Due to maintenance deficiencies found during the certification of one of the swing stages, the on-site operational training was delayed until May 4, just three days before the planned installation start date of May 7.
Fortunately, the training was comprehensive and well-conducted, leaving the six-member crew ready to tackle the project on time with a sense of confidence. Rainy and windy weather, however, prevented them from beginning as planned—and the delay on the swing stage prevented the window washing, which pushed the work back yet another day.
So, finally, the crew was able to start on May 9, although only on a single tower, since the other still needed to be washed first. The delays put them 2.5 days behind schedule, within a mere three-week window.
Thanks to thorough planning, teamwork and good weather, the project proceeded faster than expected. All of the graphics were applied in columns separated into two sections, i.e. the leaf and the sash, and as each column was individually labelled outside the roll and packaged individually, the installation was well-organized.
The crew wrapped the tower faces from the centre out to the left side and then the right. The approach taken to ensure proper alignment was successful in achieving accuracy despite the challenges of applying unlaminated, perforated film on a sloped surface in the summer heat and high winds.
Whenever possible, two teams worked simultaneously, with each swing stage manned by a lead and a helper. The ground crew included a security staff member, who could help keep pedestrians away from the zone immediately below the work, along with a runner, who was available to address any potential concerns, restocking and/or unforeseen needs. The ground crew switched with a tower crew every three to four hours, so the installers would get a break. This rotation pattern continued for more than 12 hours each day until the installation was completed.
This process was very successful, as an installation that was planned to take three weeks—with more than 488 m (1,600 fit) of lineal material applied by hand, using squeegees—was completed in less than seven days, even though some of that time had to be limited to only one tower, due to events and maintenance.
Overall, the project required well over 500 hours in training, design, planning, preparation and installation. The next step is removal, which at press time is scheduled for this fall.
Carl Weger is president and CEO of Sleek Signs in Regina. For more information, contact him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.