“It was a breeze to print it,” says Keith Ferrel of grand format specialist Cactus Imaging, but new fire retardant regulations turned Australia’s biggest building wrap at Sydney International Airport into a challenging six month job.

sydney airport main
 The 1,957sqm building wrap on the T1 International car park, Sydney Airport 

“The unique challenge was that it had to be printed on fire-rated mesh to Australian standards, which is the new norm for building wraps in Australia,” says the amiable former newspaper man, general manager, business development at Cactus Imaging. “As that had never been done before and there wasn’t such a product, the initial problems were that we had to work with the manufacturers of the mesh to get the coating right from an ink adhesion perspective and also from a welding perspective.

“There were two or three goes as far as different coatings on the product were concerned in order to get the right ink adhesion and the right welding strength. It had never been done before and with the extra fire retardant into the product, it wasn’t just a matter of printing it and putting it up.”

keith ferrel
 'Unique challenge': Keith Ferrel, Cactus.

Ferrel says the 1,957sqm job on the T1 car park at Sydney Airport for South African-based outdoor media company Wideopen Platform took about six months to complete.

“We couldn’t take any risks for something of that size, certainly from an ink adhesion perspective but more importantly from the strength perspective. And just the testing to get approval from Australian Standards from a fire rating perspective, that was no small exercise either and itself took close to three months.”

The easy part was printing the massive job on Cactus Imaging’s grand format Fujifilm Uvistar Pro 8 at its Silverwater facility in Sydney’s west.

“There was no issue once we got the coating right for the stock,” Ferrel says. “It was a breeze to print it. We just put five metre mesh on and let it go. It didn’t take that long to print but logistically…it was actually left here in three pieces with zippers in it, so we welded it all together here and it was finished off by Complete Banner Services, who work very closely with Wideopen Platform.”

Ferrel says his company’s experience in creating building wraps was invaluable during the process; and he promises there are more giant wraps to come.

“We started with the ANZ Building up in Martin Place many years ago, that was an Australian first as far as building wraps are concerned, then we did the big one for the Olympic Games on the Westpac building. That was 1,800 square metres, with three swimmers going up the wall. That was unique in itself because at midnight every night they would update the top of it with a new medal tally. We also wrapped the Sydney Town Hall previously to that. We did the QVB building with swimmer James Magnussen, that was for Samsung and the Olympic Games and that was a big one as well.

“So we’ve had a lot of experience doing these things but the unique thing about this latest one was that it was the first printed on mesh rated to Australia Fire Standards, which I dare say is going to be the norm from now on. And watch this space, there are a few more big ones coming up that will be even bigger than that.”

Cactus Imaging, formerly a subsidiary of OPUS Group, was acquired In 2016 by outdoor advertiser oOh!media for $6 million. Wideopen Platform, a subsidiary of South African media group Primedia, is a specialist large-format media company that recently entered the Australia outdoor advertising market.

Pin It