IKEA Embraces innovation with help from Kavalan

October 02, 2023

The iconic blue IKEA FRAKTA bag is a familiar sight to many of us, but how often do you see one that is 62 feet tall? With help from Kavalan, Embrace Building Wraps has brought that unique concept to life in London’s Oxford Circus. Such a colossal project was unsurprisingly months in the making, with every detail meticulously planned and the Kavalan PVC-free banner materials themselves tested rigorously to ensure a flawless advertising application was in the bag.

Embrace Building Wraps has been operational for more than a decade, offering a 360 comprehensive project management service for digitally printed graphics, encapsulating scaffolding, building facades, module building, site welfare facilities, and construction site perimeter holdings.

This is our ninth and biggest project using Kavalan,” explains Greg Forster, Managing Director, Embrace Building Wraps. “We were the first company to use Kavalan, and concluded our own in-house testing on print quality to ensure the material delivers the same visual appearance & manufacturing process with heat and vibration welding.”

Sustainable advertising with Kavalan

How did the team pull off this project that was crowned ‘Ad of the Day’ by The Drum? “Seven months in the planning from conception through to delivery, it's 2878 square metres of printed scaffold wraps on Kavalan Sunlight Weldable,” says Greg. “That's about the equivalent of 44 double-decker buses across three elevations. We've got five frames carrying a silhouette lined drawing of the building itself created by Embrace, and printed wraps that replicate a giant iconic blue FRAKTA bag with 3D handles. The six wraps in total are about 400 square metres in size, and the handles are 32 metres long and 15 metres long. I’m sure you'll agree the visual outcome is pretty stunning!”

So, what were Kavalan’s banner material benefits that made it the right fit for this extraordinary install? “We carried out numerous on and offsite print tests on solid PVC and mesh PVC but at the end of the day Kavalan Sunlight Weldable won the day,” explains Greg. “It performs well under tension, the print is bang on, the tiles and dragon tails weld nicely. To ensure the structural integrity of the material we conduced pull tests to ensure that the material is robust. It’s a far lighter material [than traditional PVC] so with a combined weight of 1150kg, so it’s about the same weight of a mini car vs 1725 kg. So, the fact that it is 33% lighter helped on the engineers’ calculations and with lifting into position.

Kavalan withstands up to 774 kg on average, suitable for the considerable stresses Mother Nature throws at our bespoke installs over the four seasons.” Greg adds: “Also, what is very key these days is fire rating. Now we know the substrate has a TS62, NFP, EN and DIN certifications. We also sent the material away to a UKAS-certificated facility in the UK, and that passed a BS 5867 type B test.”

Greg and the team at Embrace Building Wraps are true trailblazers, not just with their cutting-edge large-scale projects, but on the sustainability front too. Greg concludes: “We lead the field when it comes to finding new products to work with. We were the first to test, offer to our clients and regularly utilise an eco-responsible material PVC-free Kavalan Sunlight Weldable polyester-based textile that has the same look, feel, and strength of traditional PVC banners, but with none of its eco-malignance. We are continuing our ongoing quest to move away from traditional PVC products wherever possible, minimising and offsetting any negative environmental impact when doing business.”

Kavalan Eco Calculator

To pull something of this size off, you have to know your numbers. As well as the figures involved in a feat of engineering like this, users of eco-friendly Kavalan banners also have a wealth of sustainability data at their fingertips with the Kavalan Eco Calculator. Verified by Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) data, this 2,878m2 of Kavalan PVC-free Sunlight Weldable used in this project saved:

  • 23% less CO2 1,410.2 kg CO2 eq – over 18 economy flights between Heathrow and Frankfurt
  • 38% less freshwater - 31,370 litres of freshwater saved is enough to provide 29 adults with clean drinking water for one year
  • 30% less PM2.5 - 2.993 kg PM2.5 equivalent saved equals just under 7 fatal illnesses in the same year
  • 21% reduction in fossil fuels - 552.5 kg oil equivalent adds up to more than four return road trips between London and Paris in a 3 series BMW
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