TAPEMAT by Leister The machine behind the art

Numerous museums of ancient and contemporary arts attracting thousands of visitors are located in Basle city, Switzerland. There is no doubt that the antique show executed every year in this city is one of the biggest art exhibitions in the world that could mesmerise a visitor all the time. Concerning the things that make the event astounding would definitely include the artistic PVC-coated polyester fabrics decorating every corner of the city. And the machine behind the orderly welding of those giant paintworks is TAPEMAT, a remarkable product from Switzerland-based Leister.

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 TAPEMAT at work 
Culture in general and fine art in particular has been a tradition at the Rhine Bend, Switzerland. This place being supported equally by the public and politics of the region, doubtless to say that The City Sky project in Basle is quite an exceptional cultural event people hardly find in any other parts of the globe. Organised by Klaus Littmann, the Christophe-Merian Trust, the Basle City Canton and a lottery fund support this flamboyant art and culture project.

Giant printed nets are hung at different heights all over the streets and squares of the Old City during summer. The materials made of PVC-coated polyester fabrics are light and translucent having high UV-protection quality. Many renowned artists from different parts of the world are employed to design the respective sectors of the giant displays. As a result of these collective efforts of the prominent international artists, Basle gains its outlook acclaimed by the world at large.

Team that works

The whole project of The City Sky, right from plotting (printing) of first stretch, manufacturing and hanging up process above the Basle’s inner city is done within a month period. Under a close mutual cooperation among the companies engaging to the project, works are progressed phase-wise under perfect deadlines. MakroART is the company behind all digital printing works in the projects; Carsa takes charge for fabrication; and Famont carries all final assembling and fitting of nets on the building fronts.

And here comes the welding machine TAPEMAT from Leister whose job is to process the nets. After welding the products, it would be suspended with polyester ropes to eyebolts on the same day. The assembly is normally performed between one and five in the morning.

Object of attraction

Measuring 16 x 15 m, the largest artwork on the display mesmerises every visitor at the site. The art piece is formed by joining different five-meter wide units of different lengths. In order to create this myriad of attraction, a total of around 5,000 sq m of mesh fabric is printed, welded and mounted. To cope with the tensile forces of the polyester ropes, the edges are reinforced beforehand with a 48 mm wide PVC band, which is also generally used to manufacture lorry tarpaulins.

Hyby Meier, located near Lucerne, is the company responsible for the preparation of the fabric section of the display. Though it is specialised in oversize advertising banners, the company commits great works in edging the band, fitting the eyes and half-rings.

 Gigantic mesh nets protecting against sunray 
TAPEMAT process

TAPEMAT, which is able to withstand a tensile force of 1,300 kg, welds the band of the art display. The edge reinforcement by tape is easier and quicker than seaming. It meets the high requirements for stability and safety. An eye is fitted every 80 cm to able to join the prepared sections later with cable ties. Half-rings are fitted to the long sides every 2.5 m to which the polyester ropes are fixed. The 1,000 half rings are first tacked with a manual HOT JET S from Leister and then sewn.

A total of 2,500 m of PVC tape are processed with TAPEMAT specially rationalising the process. The machine could process up to 20 m of tape per minute. That makes it the world’s fastest tape welding machine. A walk down the streets of Basle would be an experience that one cannot forget in life. And it is also certain that Leister plays small but valuable role to create the world-class aesthetic charm of the city.

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