Installing super sized signs - Where passion meets progress … and patience - Image Magazine


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Installing super sized signs - Where passion meets progress … and patience

Installing super sized signs - Where passion meets progress … and patience

Back in 2007, Atomic Signs was commissioned to manufacture and install the stadium signage for Skilled Park for Robina Stadium on the Gold Coast. Several years later the company was invited to remake the signage, as the stadium was re-branded and named CBUS Super Stadium. With a wealth of experience and lessons learned from having manufactured and installed this super-sized signage previously, the team set to work. Image Magazine spoke to Atomic Signs’ Darren Eaton about the process.

Atomic Signs is well known in the signage industry. The company was started in 2001, when owner and proprietor Darren Eaton took his passion for signage, along with several years of experience in the industry, to another level. Over the years he has built a dedicated team to equal the passion and skills needed to meet success head on. As well as providing design input for CBUS, the company prides itself on the work it has done for major brands and Local Governments.

When asked about how the CBUS building project came to be, Darren replied: ”Atomic Signs has been working with Stadiums Queensland since the early 2000s and through this we were introduced to the CBUS marketing team headed up by Peter Little (based in Melbourne). Our first conversation regarding re-branding took place not long after we had completed signage at the CBUS Super Stadium.

“At that time the 1WS building was being constructed. We were awarded the job- to design, construct and install the signage in mid 2016,” he says, pointing out that this type of construction is possible for Atomic Signs to undertake because the company holds a QBCC steel fabrication and  erection licence.

After being awarded the job, lengthy discussions ensued on how to go about it.

“The biggest problem occurred when the tower crane came down, which completely changed the design we were intending on using,” says Darren. “The nearly 40 tonnes of steel work then had to come up the internal lift, requiring a lot of design and consultation with architects, engineers and myself to achieve this.”

Not only this, but the deadline then had to be changed - originally set for completion in early 2018, the project was put on hold and almost a year of planning had to be undertaken. Finally, the team was given the green light to start manufacturing in November 2017.

“What followed was four months of fabricating steel and five months of fabricating the aluminum letters and towers. The steel installation commenced in June 2018, and took over five months to complete. The first letters were installed in November and completed in early February 2019,” Darren explains.

There were further challenges for Atomic Signs to face - since the crane had been removed and the lettering required lifting up to 6m in height, it had to come up the outside of the building where it is at a finished height of 217m.

“We engaged Rope Access Queensland for the task,” adds Darren, confirming that Atomic Signs has been working with this company for over a decade.

“We needed a company that had experience and knowledge. This is to date the highest lift of its kind in this country!”

“We used a tight line set up where we built and engineered three davit arms that were bolted to the steel structure at an approximate height of 220m above the ground, and actually protruded about 1m out from the edge of the building. From here, 2 tightline ropes were run down to where our crane truck was parked and this was used as an anchor for the lines - the middle arm had both the haul line and also the backup safety line attached, used for lifting,” he says.

“Since this building is so tall (268m - confirmed to be the tallest finished building in Brisbane as of 2018) and is also such an irregular shape, the wind calculations had never been experienced in the city before. Therefore we had to convince the consulting engineer that we could use polycarbonate faces for the letters, and we carried out our own testing to achieve this. We lifted using crane scales to a weight of 780kg’s before the aluminum fabricated letters started  to deform.”

A huge amount of machinery and supplies had been purchased by Atomic Signs for the project, and almost all of it was used. including:

- Matcam 6.1 x 2.2m CNC Table router for cutting all the letters

-  4m long 138 tonne brake press, used to press up the steel mounting plates that were bolted to the concrete columns

- CNC plasma table (for cutting all steel plates)

- Almost 40 tonnes of Australian-made plate and SHS steel

- 13 tonnes of aluminum

- LEDs and transformers
(supplied by Agilight)

As well as this, every part of the project was produced in the Atomic Signs workshop (with the exception of the galvanising of the steel) and all the transport was undertaken on the company’s large crane truck.

The result is an incredible, majestic landmark!

So, if you happen to be in Brisbane, the CBUS building at 1 William Street is worth seeing.  Take a moment to admire its  three 12m X 12m signs (believed to be the largest signs in Australia - at the height of over 200m) and then marvel at the process and tenacity that made it possible to exist today!

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