Producing the fabric with The Cooley Group
Perhaps the most challenging part of making the Olympic Stadium Wrap was getting the fabric right.
To pass the British Standards for fire testing, the fabric was made using a chemical composition similar to that of roofing membranes.
The extruders – the machines that press pellets into sheets of fabric – didn’t like this very much. Neither did our printer.
We went through about 6 months of testing before we found fabric that we could even try on our printers. Here’s a quick glance at what that process looked like.
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.
- Pass 1: Apply the black-out layer.
- Pass 2: First coating of white.
- Pass 3: Flip it, apply the 2nd coating of white.
To OK the final version of the fabric, Rainier’s Display Division Manager Charlie Rueb flew down to Cooley’s plant in South Carolina.
As the fabric rolled off the extruder, using finely calibrated instruments (his eyes and fingers), Charlie deemed it fit for printing!
A great ending to a long and tedious process… Thanks to the tenacity and dedication of the teams at Dow, Cooley and Rainier, we turned vision into reality with a winning product.
Here’s a visual rundown of the process:
Tomorrow: Installation of the panels at the Olympic Stadium.