2012 LONDONOLYMPIC STADIUM WRAP IT’S A WRAP! The Project: Innovation, Collaboration, Sustainability Vision & Design Sustainable Games, Sustainable Fabric The Process: Problem-Solving & Partnership How Rainier Got the Job Getting Down to Work Producing the Fabric Making the Panels Installing the Wrap Thanks to the Team
THE PROJECT: Innovation, Collaboration, SustainabilityPartnership commits to improving Games experiencethrough sustainable, chemistry-based solutionsWorldwide Olympic Partner The The wrap includes resins madeDow Chemical Company by Dow’s Performance Plastics(NYSE:DOW) produced a Division and requires fewer rawsustainable fabric wrap to materials to manufacture. It is upencircle London’s iconic Olympic to 35 percent lighter and has a About Rainier IndustriesStadium during the Olympic and lower carbon footprint when Rainier is a state of the art international manufacturer of innovativeParalympic Games. The stadium compared to conventional sports graphics solutions and retail point of purchase displays,was home to several athletic materials. based in Seattle, Washington. The company’s work is visible inevents, and the Opening and over a hundred professional and collegiate sports facilities, as wellClosing Ceremonies. Digital printing of the design was as major retail chains and the Salt Lake City and Vancouver done at the Rainier Industries Olympics. Rainier is certified to ISO 14001:2004 and ISOThe wrap is comprised of 306 facility in Seattle, WA with UV- 9001:2008 as well as being a G7 certified Master Printer and receiving the SGIA Sustainability Recognition Award for 2011 forindividual panels – each curable, water soluble inks its Environmental Management System. More information aboutapproximately 25 meters high instead of conventional solvent Rainier Industries can be found at www.rainierdisplays.com.and 2.5 meters wide – and based inks, in order to reducehelped make the stadium the emissions during the printingvisual centerpiece of the London process and eliminate volatile About Dow2012 Games. organic compounds (VOC). Dow combines the power of science and technology with the “Human Element” to passionately innovate what is essential toDow worked with Rainier The wrap includes post- human progress. The Company connects chemistry andIndustries and Cooley Group to industrial recycled content and innovation with the principles of sustainability to help addressdevelop the wrap. These are the the hardware used to hang the many of the worlds most challenging problems. Dows diversifiedonly companies in the world wrap will be recycled in Europe industry-leading portfolio of specialty chemical, advancedcapable of producing the wrap following the Games. materials, agrosciences and plastics businesses delivers a broadwithin the specifications range of technology-based products and solutions to customers inoutlined. approximately 160 countries and in high growth sectors such as. In 2010, Dow had annual sales of $53.7 billion and employedIn keeping with LOCOG’s goal approximately 50,000 people worldwide. The Company’s more than 5,000 products are manufactured at 188 sites in 35 countriesto stage a sustainable Olympic across the globe. References to "Dow" or the "Company" meanGames, Rainier Industries, Dow The Dow Chemical Company and its consolidated subsidiariesand Cooley partnered to create unless otherwise expressly noted. More information about Dowa unique material developed can be found at www.dow.com.specifically for this event.
The wrap completed The wrap providedVision & Design the Olympic Stadium for the Games as the some protection to Olympic spectators architects from from the sun and wind, Populous intended. and also featured directional signage and It also helped the shielded exposed stadium become the elements of the visual centerpiece of stadium from sight. the London 2012 Games. Photo courtesy of The Guardian Olympic Stadium Shortlisted for 2012 Stirling Prize We’re pleased to offer our congratulations to Populous, the architects behind the Olympic Stadium. The Olympic Stadium is shortlisted for the Stirling Prize, a prestigious architecture award, for its innovative design. The Stirling Prize winner will be announced on October 13, 2012. “As with the other London 2012 Olympic Games buildings, Populous’s Olympic Stadium had to be designed to be used post-games. So the 80,000-seat stadium will shrink down to a 20,000-seat stadium after this summer. In order to be able to achieve this, Populous designed the stadium as a sort of kit of parts, said principal Phillip Johnson in a video on RIBA’s site. ‘The roof itself is separate from the upper tier so that in theory you could take down the tier without taking down the roof, or vice-versa.’ The stadium will be the lightest one ever built, with 11,023 tons of steel.” -Lindsay M. Roberts, Architect Magazine The Stirling Prize is the highest prize of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Read why the Stadium was chosen on the Stirling Prize website here.
Vision & DesignRainier’s design drawings for the Stadium WrapVision: A virtual projection of the final wrap, complete with virtual spectators. Reality: A quiet moment after the installation was finished – and before the spectators arrive.
Sustainable Games, Sustainable Fabric For the Olympic committee, it Plus – it’s the lightest stadium everThe Olympic Stadium wrap is “PVC-free.” means holding “Games guided by built, according to Architect the principle that the world should Magazine’s Aaron Seward: “TheThe processes used to make it are “eco-friendly.” live within its means.” They steel used in London’s Olympic embraced several initiatives – Stadium was sourced in aThe London Organizing Committee of Olympic Games related to venue, travel, food, and sustainable manner. The waste — to support this mission. subcontractor obtained many of the(LOCOG) is committed to hosting “sustainable games.” tubular members that make up the LOCOG says, “Where possible we roof structure from unused steelWhat does all of this mean? have used existing venues…Where sections intended for a Russian oil there is a legacy need we have built pipeline. new venues – the Olympic Stadium, the Aquatics Centre and the “When completed, the elliptical- Velodrome and where there is no shaped stadium covered a 40-acre need, we have built temporary footprint with just 10,000 metric tons venues in iconic places…” (11,023 tons) of structural steel—by far the lightest Olympic Stadium Populous, the architects behind the ever built. In comparison, the stadium, designed the venue for this 91,000-seat Beijing National stated “legacy need.” During the Stadium (the Bird’s Nest) for the Games, the Stadium seated 80,000 2008 Summer Games covered a 64- spectators. After the Olympics, the acre footprint and used 100,000 upper tier of the Stadium will be metric tons (110,231 tons).” removed – the whole stadium is built to be deconstructable. The Stadium will transform into a smaller venue (seating 20,000) for regular use by the people of London. London aimed to be the “first zero-waste games.” photo credit: Pavegen Systems Ltd. 99% of waste from the construction of the “A pioneering walkway leading Olympic Park was to the Olympic Park…lit round- reclaimed. the-clock by the footsteps of spectators.” –Earth911.com London 2012 Sustainability Summary Report, www.london2012.com
Sustainable Games, Sustainable FabricFor Dow, Rainier, and Cooley, this eco- Sustainability in manufacturing meansconscious mission means using considering “lifecycle” – where materialssustainable production (materials and come from, how they are used… andprocesses) to make the Stadium wrap: where will they go. The Wrap will be repurposed. • The wrap includes resins made by Dow’s Performance Plastics Division and Dow has partnered with leading UK required fewer raw materials to building and development charity Article manufacture. 25 and recycling company Axion • The wrap includes polyester fabric with a Recycling to reuse the Wrap. The panels low-density Polyethylene coating. • The wrap is up to 35 percent lighter and are slated for shelter and shade solutions photo credit: iStock user Johnny Greig has a 20 percent lower carbon footprint for at-risk children in Rio and Uganda. In when compared to conventional Brazil, Dow and Article 25 are exploring materials, according to Cooley Group. working with the Bola Pra Frente • UV-curable inks replaced conventional Institute, which helps children and inks to reduce emissions during the teenagers from underprivileged printing process and eliminated volatile communities through social programs. In LOCOG encouraged spectators to organic compounds (VOC). Uganda, the wrap will be used as part of ride bikes, walk, & use publicThat last part—the UV-curable inks—is Article 25’s work with Jubilee Action at a transportation to get to the Games.daily practice here at Rainier. We only center for former child soldiers.use UV cured water soluble inks in our The panels will remain as much in theirprinters. current shape as possible, keeping the look of the Games that has inspired athletes and spectators around the world. Axion Recycling will reuse or recycle portions of the wrap for additional projects in the UK. The hardware used to hang the wrap will be recycled in Europe. We’re grateful that LOCOG made sustainability a focus of the Games this year, and we hope it’ll become expected practice for future Olympics. photo credit: Rainier More about Rainier’s Sustainability Initiative and daily practices is available on our website.
THE PROCESS: Problem-Solving & PartnershipHow Rainier Got the Job In February 2011, Dow Rainier said yes, it can be began to consider putting in done. We suggested Dow go an open tender to wrap the to Cooley Group to find a stadium as part of their fabric that would work. That Olympic sponsorship. A was the team: Dow, Rainier, mutual friend (who had and Cooley. Three worked with us for the 2002 companies highly invested in Salt Lake City Games) sustainable materials and suggested Dow consult with processes. Dow, whose Bruce Dickinson, our VP of team is all over the world. Sales. Cooley, in Rhode Island and South Carolina. Rainier, We have experience with based in Seattle, WA. Olympic venues (we did projects in Salt Lake City and Dow submitted their bid inphoto credit above: thestarphoenix.com Vancouver) and we regularly April 2011, and by May, do work on sports stadiums Rainier had a contract to across the USA – and we’ve print, cut, and sew the panels worked with fabric since our for the wrap. Cooley would start in 1896. engineer and produce the fabric. Dow’s initial conversation with Rainier was about the And then the question was – feasibility of such a big project – with such special How do we take constraints. what’s essentially a What would it take to wrap a very cool picture and stadium of this size? Could it make it into reality in be done using polyethylene less than a year? materials, so that the process and materials would be sustainable? Could the results be repurposed?
Getting Down to Work Dow is an international leader in A very over-simplified explanation of Elastomers. Rainier is an fabric: pellets are pushed through an international manufacturer of extruder, resulting in material that’s innovative fabric and display thin, wide, and flexible. Extruders like products. Cooley Group is an fabric that’s roughly 90% liquid and industry leader of engineered fabrics, 10% solid. But in order to meet the focused on using sustainable British Standards, the fabric had to chemistry. be about 10% liquid and 90% solid. That’s approximately the make-up of All three companies provide roofing membranes. solutions. And it’s a good thing, because wrapping the Olympic Our first challenge and the hardest Stadium was one big exercise in one we faced: to take technology problem-solving. used for horizontal surfaces (roofs) and apply it to vertical textiles The panels had to be strong, flexible, (banners rising in helixes over 80 feet beautiful – they were an integral part high, from the ground concourse to of the architects’ vision for the the upper tier of the stadium, stadium. They weren’t an “add-on” or supported by tensioning cables). a “decoration.” It was like pushing mud through the They were an architectural element, extruder. The material was too stiff, it a crucial part of the aesthetic and didn’t spread, it wouldn’t print. functional design. Rainier doesn’t engineer the chemical composition of fabric – we What Rainier, Dow, and Cooley make things with fabric – so we quickly found after starting to work listened in while Dow and Cooley together was that the existing fabric tackled the hard science. we’d planned to use wouldn’t work – it meets the USA fire standards, but They went back to the design board – not the British Standards. That and created an entirely new eliminated the initial material – then formulation of infrastructure several others. membranes.
Producing the Fabric Cooley Group produced the fabric for the Olympic Stadium Wrap. When a sample of new material would arrive at the Rainier facilities, we’d test it on our printers. We lost 3 printer heads in the process, and several valuable months. When we thought we were close, Rainier’s Display Division Manager Charlie Rueb flew down to Cooley’s plant in South Carolina. As the fabric rolled off the extruder, Charlie deemed it fit to try – again – on our printers. A look at the process: To make fabric, you have to run a minimum of 1,000 yards. The process takes 8 hours - if there are no problems. And you don’t know anything about the quality of the material until you’re done. Plus, the fabric passes through the extruder three times, multiplying the potential for failure: This is what the raw material of polyethylene looks like before it’s o Pass 1. Apply the black-out layer. melted & run through the extruder – o Pass 2. 1st coating of white. it comes in pellets. o Pass 3. Flip it, 2nd coating of white.
Producing the Fabric 3. Once we got a smooth sheet, we put1. Raw material coming through the the material through the extruder for extruder. As you can see, it’s not pass #1 – applying the black-out coming through smoothly, as one layer. As you can see in this picture, sheet. the black is shredding off the scrim. 5. …but during pass #2, the material goes in front of the light-box & it’s2. A different try – better, but not good 4. We re-formulate the pellets & try clear the black has not evenly enough. again. It appears to work… applied. Try again.
Producing the FabricFabric is extremely heat sensitive.Because this is so thick, the heat fromthe extruder isn’t applying evenly, andthe white can’t spread properly acrossthe entire surface.6. This time we get all the way to pass #2 – the black-out has been applied, the extruder is layering white on, and 7. We get a full, clean sheet of fabric now we can see holes in the white. through all 3 passes of the extruder (Those aren’t black dots – they’re (black-out, white, & white again). But holes showing the black layer 8. Finally! A smooth white stretch of the fabric puckers & bunches in the beneath.) fabric. middle. Back to the beginning.
Making the Panels How the Olympic Wrap panels were made in 9 steps Keep in mind that this was And it is representative of an unusual project, with Rainier. Because everything unusual requirements – and we make here is custom, this an untested, unproven is operations as usual – in fabric. that nothing is usual! This is the process of We call ourselves solution Rainier making the Olympic providers, because we solve Stadium panels, including problems. retries and final successes. STEP ONE: Color tests and print trials We run the fabric through our printer to see how it does with color.
At this time, we have 6 monthsMaking the Panels STEP TWO: Testing a mock-up panel to test it, print it, cut it, sew it, pack it, ship it, and install it. We print a panel, cut it, and hang it. The fabric doesn’t work. See all that texture across the red (right)? The fabric is puckering. Because the fabric is puckering, we have to raise the printer head. As a result, we end up with another problem: banding, those vertical streaks of lighter and darker ink. The gap between the head and the media is too large – so the ink is too spread out. We redesign the fabric (which means going back through that entire fabric production process) and try again. Until it works.
Making the Panels When we finally get the fabric right… rolls of it arrive on the Rainier production floor. Once we have new fabric, we mock up a new panel. Look at that smooth expanse of blue. That’s what we are after, and now that we have it, production can begin in earnest.
Making the Panels STEP THREE: Printing the panels Working with this new fabric was like working with cardboard. Every single step of the process – from printing to installation – presented new challenges. The Rainier team came up with new solutions and solved each problem as it arose.
Making the Panels STEP FOUR: Cutting the panels Rainier uses state-of-the-art automated cutting machines. As with every other step of this project, cutting the fabric presented unique challenges. Because of its stiff, thick composition, we cut all 306 panels by hand– extremely unusual on our shop floor. We get the job done, no matter what it takes. Rainier owner Scott Campbell takes a turn at cutting the panels while VP of Sales Bruce Dickinson gives him a (rather far-off) helping hand.
Making the Panels STEP FIVE: Sewing the pockets Employees work their way along the length of the panel to sew the second layer of the pockets. Every pocket is given double layers of fabric to protect against abrasion from the cable. Every panel has “pockets” running their lengths – like seams on garments. The pockets hold the cables that eventually twist to create the helixes. Remember, every panel is over 80 feet long!
Making the Panels STEP SIX: Laying out the panels for finishing touches The rope you see here is a drawstring, used to pull the cable up the length of the pocket. What look like white dots at the bottom of the panel are essentially punched holes. In the installation, the panels are bolted to a clamp bar at the bottom and top.
We build special shipping crates toMaking the Panels STEP SEVEN: Packing the panels house the fabric bolts. Because of the fabric stiffness and the In this picture, you can see the before (left) – thickness of the double-layer pockets, the white rolls of fabric – and the after (right) – fabric is folded and wrapped around bolts, bolts of finished panels packed away in rather than “rolled.” individual cubbyholes.
Making the Panels STEP NINE: The Rainier team celebrates and waves good-bye as the wrap STEP EIGHT: Loading & leaves Seattle, WA, bound shipping for London
Installing the Wrap To install the panels, Rainier partnered with FabriTec, a division of ShadeUSA based in Dallas, Texas. The original plan allowed three months for installation, starting in December 2011 – but that was before all the challenges making the fabric. In the first week of April 2012, FabriTec did their test install of a set of panels. The results were not good – it took 5 days to do 3 panels. At that rate, it was a 2 year installation job to put up 306 panels. Changes were made to the templates to allow for faster installation – and install methods were re-engineered to meet the condensed timeframe. Installation of all 306 panels began on June 11, 2012. It was finished July 20 – the last day any work was allowed on the stadium. That’s right – FabriTec installed all 306 panels, each 80 feet long, in just over a month. Instead of 12 weeks, they did the installation in 5.
THANKS TO THE TEAM The most unusual aspect of They were a partner. They this project was also the offered their own resources most crucial to its success – and expertise whenever the partnership between possible. Dow leadership Dow, Rainier, and Cooley. and scientists provided support, encouragement, & This was a giant camaraderie at every turn. undertaking. From conception to finish, Besides the hundreds of everything about the conference calls and emails, Olympic Stadium Wrap there were visits: Dow came required innovation, to Seattle to see Rainier.Render from the Populous 2012 Stadium website dedication, and Rainier and Dow met Cooley determination. The teams at at their plant in South “What’s most all 3 companies had to Carolina. And Rainier went remarkable about this problem-solve at every step to London – 4 separate project is how these of the process. The unique times! three very different material of the wrap, the companies worked short timeline, & the high- We count ourselves lucky to together – in this profile nature of the project have had such great compressed timeline – made this a high-pressure partners. The Wrap couldn’t to get this done. situation. have been made any other Everyone rallied way. Each of the 3 together.” Throughout the process, companies contributed Dow had an unusual role. distinctive skill sets & Traditionally, we suppose capabilities – and each –Charlie Rueb, Rainier Display Division Manager you could say they were the brought exceptional “customer” – they wanted a personalities to the table. wrap for the Olympic Stadium made, and they Thanks, Dow & Cooley: asked Rainier and Cooley to it’s been great working make it for them. In reality, with you. We’re so Dow was so much more that. proud of what we’ve done, and also how we got it done – together.