MACH is a biennial exhibition organised by the Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA), a UK-based trade association dealing specifically with engineering-based manufacturing. The show enables exhibitors to showcase advances in the manufacturing industry, bringing together the sector’s latest innovations and developments.
Nikon Metrology, the world-renowned brand and market leader in optical instrumentation, approached the MCS team to design the exhibition stand. Despite having worked with MCS for many years on other events, this marked the first time that MCS would assist on the MACH exhibition, of which Nikon is a regular exhibitor.
Regrettably, Nikon had been disappointed by their supplier at the 2014 show, with elements of the stand design not fit-for-purpose and the finished result completed to a lesser standard than they had expected to see. MCS was therefore to devise a stand which would incorporate a mechanical look and feel, remaining true to Nikon’s brand identity, and feature the company’s corporate colours. It would also need to be well-illuminated and eye-catching, with the view to secure leads for sales of machinery.
The stand would feature at the 2016 exhibition, held from 11th-15th April 2016 at Birmingham’s NEC.
With a stand size of 28.5m x 5m (at its deepest point), this was the largest exhibition stand that MCS had ever worked on. The particular challenge was the layout of the stand which constituted a long, narrow space to work with, rather than the more standard square plot. In addition, the stand was situated along a wall which had pillars in two locations that would need to be considered.
To combat this and make maximum use of the floor space, MCS designed the stand with 3 x 4m high arms which would support the stand but also form a feature of the overall design. Normally, the stand would be supported from the rear but this typically uses a 0.5m depth and would have had a negative impact on the space.
MCS was advised that the stand would feature a range of Nikon’s measuring and precision machinery, plus a Tesla car that would serve to demonstrate one of the machine’s capabilities. Due to the sheer weight of Nikon’s measuring instruments, it was clear that they would need to sit on the NEC floor itself and that MCS would need to construct the stand floor around these once in situ.
The finished design effectively reflected the Nikon brand due to its clean, contemporary design and effective use of the brand’s colours: yellow, black and grey. Light featured heavily in the design, with custom-sized lightboxes used to make the Nikon logo stand out, thus grabbing the attention of show visitors. The Tesla car was backlit with yellow LED lighting and yellow strip lighting was used at various points including along the floor edging, again reinforcing the brand and also serving as a health and safety device as visitors approached and stepped onto the stand.
Each business division of Nikon had its own designated area of the stand where they would be able to chat with visitors or display information. A useful storage area was concealed behind some seating, and space for refreshments was also provided.
Two TV screens were built into the stand wall with one carefully positioned at the required 2m distance from the car to enable a laser radar to measure and show data from the car on the screen.
Throughout the design process, MCS had regular meetings to discuss ideas and present detailed drawings, making sure at each step of the journey that Nikon had everything they needed from the stand design.
With the show due to open on Monday 11th April, MCS arrived on Friday 8th to commence a three-day build. The specialist measuring machines had been imported from Japan and Germany in special crates, and the Tesla car had been delivered to the stand location the day before.
Issues encountered along the way were quickly and effectively managed and resolved. The first hurdle was that the confirmed dimensions for the machines were not accurate, meaning that the machinery had to be cleverly positioned in order to fit correctly and that the flooring unexpectedly needed to be cut there and then to fit the slightly larger space, whilst still leaving a clean finish.
The second hurdle was an unsightly fire access point located adjacent to the stand distracting from the wow factor of the stand. Using black pipe and base drape, the MCS team was able to cover this section without imposing on any access points but removing the blot on the landscape.
Nikon was impressed with the original stand concepts and very pleased with the finished result at the show. Thanks to its clever lighting and eye-catching design, the stand attracted lots of attention which resulted in Nikon reporting an incredibly busy stand throughout the show. MCS is looking forward to hopefully working again with Nikon for the 2018 MACH exhibition.