The future of exhibitions: fabric graphics and green power

At the recent Markex Jhb exhibition, Scan Display implemented new technology in the form of fabric graphics (called tension fabric systems) and green power. Both of these have positive applications within the exhibition industry, and are expected to become increasingly popular choices for exhibitors.

Markex Fabric

Fabric systems

Earlier this year Scan introduced tension fabric system options, which quickly gained appeal with the South African market. The fabric systems involve printing graphics directly onto fabric, which is then stretched across frames to create a smooth wall that can be back- or front-lit, giving the image a warm look-and-feel. Fabric can be used for large surface areas: at Markex Jhb, Scan used it to create a 5 by 6 metre life-sized backdrop of a Spanish street scene on its stand.

Aside from the aesthetic benefits, tension fabric systems are very versatile and can be used in many different spaces. For example, they can be mounted onto existing walls, or stand freely on frames, and can form straight or curved walls.

Justin Hawes, MD of Scan Display, adds: “Tension fabric is more compact when packed away, and far lighter than traditional wood and plastic wall panels. This allows for reduced storage and transport costs. The fabric is also extremely durable, and can be re-used – which is another cost incentive. Advances in technology are very exciting for us, as we are constantly finding ways to offer our clients even better products.”

Green power

Another feature of Scan’s Markex stand which attracted positive feedback was the use of green power. Greening is close to Justin’s heart, and led to his involvement in the formation of the Event Greening Forum last year. The Forum’s primary objective is to promote green principles and practices in the South African events industry.

Justin says; “Going green is a process. You have to start with small changes, and gradually green all elements of your business and day-to -day living. The use of green power at events is one step in the right direction.”

Scan purchased the green power from GreenX Energy in the form of a Renewable Energy Certificate (REC). One REC is equivalent to one MWh (or 1000kWh) of power, which was sufficient to run Scan’s stand and three of their clients’ stands for the duration of the show. At the time, one REC cost only R210 ex VAT, which Justin asserts is a nominal cost and a convenient alternative to planting trees in order to reduce your carbon footprint.

The green power is generated from multiple Solar Home Systems (solar photovoltaic panels) owned and operated by the Nuon RAPS utility, and fed directly into the homes of indigent consumers in Northern KZN. Therefore the certificate is notional; while Scan’s stand used Eskom’s power, it purchased an equivalent amount of green power which was used by consumers in KZN.

Marisa Naude, the Marketing and Administration Manager of GreenX Energy, says: “Based on more than eight years of experience in the South African voluntary REC market, we are seeing a steady increase in interest in using RECs for Certified Green Power. Scan Display can be proud of showing leadership in this growing market by using RECs on its stands and encouraging other exhibitors and event organisers to follow suit.”