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More innovations with extrusions

Extrusion-based exhibits continue improving as the tradeshow industry increasingly embraces the durable yet lightweight and easily constructed display structures.

Among many innovative and exhibit-enhancing improvements for extrusion-based exhibits are advanced powder-coating techniques, new cladding systems, tremendous free span capabilities and new graphics presentations. All these innovative features combined with the sustainable advantages of aluminum systems offers an exciting new approach to exhibition design and fabrication.

While many extrusions used in the tradeshow industry have a traditional aluminum look, the rising popularity of powder coating is being utilized by many corporations to set themselves apart from other exhibitors. Powder-coating enables a company to produce extrusions in their own corporate colors up to 20 feet in length in matte, semi gloss or high gloss finish. The process utilizes dry, pigmented powders that are baked to the surface of the extrusion to create finishes that are much more durable than painted surfaces.

Aside from an enormous assortment of colors, custom finishes are also quite popular. These include a variety of wood grain, stone or mock fabric finishes. After applying a base powder coat, a special graphic print is applied directly over the extrusion, which provides the custom finish.

Square extrusions
Square extrusions

While advancements have been made to incorporate graphics in extrusions, another trend-setting innovation borrows from recent advancements in architectural design. Aluminum cladding systems utilize panels that can be attached to the exterior of the extrusions to create walls and customized looks. The process is not unlike the traditional method of putting sheetrock over aluminum studs in a typical construction setting. However, the panels used in temporary exhibits are usually lightweight and require no tools for installation.

Just as aluminum cladding is pleasing to many exhibitors, so is a growing trend toward incorporating monitor displays and stations for iPads and mobile tablets to help engage attendees. These interactive displays can be mounted into walls or incorporated into free standing kiosks to create more engagement points for tradeshow visitors.

The free span capabilities of aluminum systems have dramatically increased the design possibilities in the exhibition industry. The large structural profiles, either on their own or combined with cables or tie rods, allows for free span capabilities that were previously not possible. And since these aluminum systems are structural, they can also support lighting, AV units and graphics. Aluminum extrusions make possible the addition of structural elements that previously required the use of truss.

The use of graphics in combination with aluminum systems is not a new phenomenon, but the increased use of tension fabric graphics appears to be a staying trend. The lightweight characteristics of fabric in conjunction with the latest high resolution printing techniques brings new meaning to the term “wide format” graphics. Not unlike the cladding techniques previously discussed, fabric graphics are often used to cover the entire structure to furnish a custom appearance.

Aluminum extrusion is both 100 percent recyclable and reusable, making them truly sustainable. A lot of emphasis is placed on green building materials; an aluminum system can also be used multiple times for various clients in numerous places around the world, adding to the sustainability movement.

Typically, only the aluminum structure is rented, and with a variety of innovative techniques used to cover the structure with custom panels and graphics, it is not immediately discernable whether or not the structure is a rental. The exhibit remains a custom environment tailored to the client’s specific individual needs.

Extrusions remain a staple of many exhibit designs, and advancements made by some extrusion companies help keep them among the primary methods of design and fabrication for tradeshow displays and exhibits. The reusable and modular distinctions of aluminum systems are a growing trend among exhibition industry professionals and a responsible choice for all.


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