Totally Active In Motor City

Once again Total Structures is helping the nation's largest motor manufacturers promote their products at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) being held in Detroit this month.

Hot on the heels of last year's massive Ford corporate structure (where a total of 1.5 miles of truss was supplied) Total Structures just finished the production of additional equipment for both the Ford and General Motors booths.

For NAIAS 2007, the Ford Motor Company made only minor changes to the previous year’s enormous 110,000-sq.-ft. ceiling structure. The entire ceiling needed to move approximately 15ft. upstage to allow the lighting troughs to be repositioned to cover the new floor layout.
The main challenge was that one of the cross stage trusses fell under an air-wall and the top of the truss at trim sat above the low position of the air-wall track by some 32” (last year the air wall fell between cross stage trusses). There was just 3 ½” from low truss trim to the air wall. Total Structures had to make a 240-ft. dummy truss 2” thick (essentially a ladder lying flat), lift it with the rest of the grid, and then secure it using custom-made hangers to the air-wall track. The dummy truss maintained the symmetry of the ceiling and provided an edge connection for the fabric used to create the ceiling of the booth.

In addition, the 8ft. x 30ft. traffic openings in the wall had to remain in position on the ground, so some clever manipulation of the components (a vertical ladder and a node grid) allowed this to happen with minimal fuss—Versatile and modular is always the best way to go.

Finally, some additional lighting truss was added, and the whole thing was complete and installed safely in Detroit—having spent the prior year globe trotting to Chicago, New York, London, and Paris.

The General Motors booth posed a similar, if not grander, challenge. The ceiling structure needed to be reconfigured to match the booths new radial pattern (which each GM brand having its own space centred around a large opening, dubbed the “amoeba”) yet for obvious financial reasons using as much of the prior year’s truss as possible

The solution required Total Structures to manufacture a 200ft. x 70ft. custom-radiused triangular truss to form the central “amoeba” which has six different radiuses throughout its circumference. From this structure 27 truss spokes radiate out at various angles to create a main booth footprint of over 350ft. x 240ft. The structure is then contained within a truss ladder perimeter, which helps maintain the position of the truss spokes while being lifted, as well as provide structure for the exterior dressing of the stand. In order to connect the radiused spokes to both the “amoeba” and the ladder perimeter Total Structures manufactured over fifty different angled corners to accommodate the various radiuses being created.

Finally, it was necessary to produce custom components to allow trusses that clashed with the air-walls, (similar to the Ford project) building columns and the Detroit People Mover (its tracks go directly over the top of both the Ford and GM booths) to remain structural and in place throughout the lifting operation and subsequent exhibition.

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