There are many types of engineers and engineering cycles. We understand that “engineering” can mean a lot of different things, so here are some insights as to how engineering interacts with experiential marketing. Here are just a few examples:
- Structural Engineering comes into play when there are elements involving the fabrication or erection of steel, aluminum, wood, plastics and glass components. These can be specified by the designer or architect to satisfy the design intent of the concept and can be just for “looks”, while other elements serve as essential structural components of the build. When it comes to weight, safety and wind loads, structural engineering will be involved to ensure that nothing falls, blows over or performs poorly during the activation.
- Electrical Engineering involves the calculation of amp loads, voltage requirements, wiring diagrams, routing and much more. Often, we will create complex props, stunts, lighting rigs, 4D special effects (wind, light, smell and sound), and automated programming that require extensive electrical engineering. These elements can make or break the project if something goes wrong. Occasionally fires, smoke and total electrical failure can occur, so electrical engineering is especially important when planning any electrical requirements of your activation.
- Mechanical Engineering deals with the design and construction of machines and has many sub categories like cooling and heating systems, and some elements of transportation. When climate controlled assets like geodesic domes and enclosed trucks are used, it can involve specific mechanical engineering and planning to ensure that everything is properly accommodated.
COMPREHENDING THE DESIGN
As any creative or designer will tell you, it is easy to get carried away with big ideas and creations! When that happens, Lime Media is here to keep everyone’s feet on the ground and anchored to reality allowing your big ideas to come to life without blowing your budget or timeline. Our engineers enjoy the challenge of converting an extraordinary idea into reality and have the experience to allow the creatives to dream big! Understanding the overall design is essential when planning how everything comes together on the “big day”. Our engineering department coordinates with the creatives to make sure that every detail is preserved and translated into the best solution for the build.
It is just as bad to over-engineer something as it is to under-engineer it. When a structure or element is under-engineered, it can fail causing injuries or death. Not good!! If it is over-engineered, the build can take longer, cost will soar and profits can take a devastating hit. Also not good!!
In order to avoid either pitfall, we have to be intentional and purposeful. Guessing and making assumptions will only result in unnecessary problems later on. Sometimes people make the mistake of getting in a hurry, and they attempt to forgo the engineering cycle because they assume it will “take too long”. Taking short-cuts rarely pays off, so we strive to minimize problems through careful preparation and planning. Our team of engineers are among the fastest in the business, so rest assured that your project will not just arrive on time, but it will also be safe and sound! Being intentional requires personnel that posses the knowledge, experience and understanding to oversee these engineering cycles from conception to completion in a timely mater.
Often, there isn’t quite enough money in the budget to make unicorns fly, but there are certain “must-haves” that the client absolutely requires as is a vital part of the experience. This requires a process we call Value Engineering, a process where we qualify alternative materials or fabrication techniques that create the illusion that something looks much more substantial than it really is. For an example, instead of using real marble on the floor or bricks on the wall, we can use a high-performance film that appears identical to the real thing while maintaining design intent at a much lower cost.
The budget isn’t the only reason for value engineering. As we transport our assets, pop-ups and hardscapes all over the country, we have to observe the weight regulations imposed by the DOT and the vehicles gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). If our build-out becomes too heavy, we must find creative ways to eliminate weight. Value engineering is vital when the look and feel can’t change. Using faux materials and implementing work-around solutions can yield huge savings, without compromising the design. We have a lot of tricks up our sleeve when it comes to value engineering and we rarely encounter a challenge that can’t be overcome with some good ol’ brainstorming.
Although we engage in various aspects of engineering at Lime Media, there are times when a typical shop drawing doesn’t satisfy the safety requirements of the venue. This scenario demands the assistance of Professional Engineer. Often we are required to produce an engineered stamp on our drawings and that stamp must come from a certified Professional Engineer. These professionals are highly qualified and have earned a four-year degree in engineering from an accredited engineering program, passed the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, complete four years of progressive engineering experience under a PE, and have passed the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam.
Only a licensed engineer may prepare, sign/seal, and submit engineering plans and drawings to a public authority for approval, or seal engineering work for public and private clients. PEs shoulder the responsibility for not only their work, but also for the lives affected by that work.
Every state in America holds their own legal requirements regarding the stamp of a Professional Engineer, therefore we have relationships with engineers in all 50 states to ensure that no matter the legal requirements, we are poised to fulfill our obligation to ensure safety and integrity on all of our projects.