Every now and again we see a unique looking display package that bucks the trend of the typical portable banner systems. This particular example would definitely qualify as a trend setting idea that has made an entrance into this arena. After all why change what works well? Traditional style pull-up banners are quick to set up, travel well and typically have minor issues with repair unless they are extremely abused. The ION banner stand system surpasses the traditional pull up displays in both looks, weight and long term usability.
The ION banner system takes these portable stands to a new level of durability and style. These displays not only look great, but they address the weaknesses of pull-up style banners by avoiding the mechanics all together for a basic assembly approach that really does make traditional units feel dated.
I received a table top version of the ION at my office to display, so I can really take a close look at how these tension fabric banners would stand the rigors of a road show schedule in comparison to the standard traditional pull-up portable exhibit units.
I was surprised how light the shipping container was that the display arrived in, and it felt like it would be missing pieces however everything was there ready to assemble. I did not order a canvas case for the unit, however I will be receiving one shortly and I will go over the finer points of that later in this post. As a matter of fact, the tube weighed more than the actual display unit.
The ION display contains a total of three solid parts, two locking pins, and a graphic. The three very thick 1.5″ diameter aluminum tubes are extremely light, and a fabric graphic were packed nicely with light foam wrap. These could easily travel without any padding if you decided to use the fabric graphic to surround the pole elements. The poles are unfinished so they can take a beating without worrying about any noticeable discoloration.
The table top version I requested has a single 43.75″ tall pole and two slightly curved bars with pin connectors to attache the bars at the top and bottom of the support pole. Each piece is clearly labeled so it is nearly impossible to assemble this incorrectly. Each of the curved bars are roughy 28″ wide bent, with the bottom bar slightly more concave to work like a tripod when fully assembled. The full size floor version is identical in parts but larger in height and width proportionally.
The frame assembly probably took all of about one minute to first examine, then put together. Making sure the labeled areas matched for top and bottom proved valuable to facilitate a quick set-up. The fabric graphic provided was in a convenient drawstring pouch which keeps the printed graphic from getting scuffed or soiled during transport. The graphic easily slipped onto the aluminum frame at both the top and bottom and zipped up easily. I imagine (for the taller floor standing ION display) it would be easier to put the graphic on while the frame laying on the floor. I expected there to be much more difficulty zipping the pole pockets closed on the fabric from experience with other tension mounted graphics, but I was pleasantly surprised how there was little stress on the zippers, so the graphic was on the frame in probably 20-30 seconds.
The total set-up time was just over one minute and 30 seconds which is more time than the pull up types of banners by a long shot. Once assembled I could easily carry the ION banner around by the back pole – in comparison to a pull-up type banner where you can bend, break or tear the graphic from the hardware, it was a welcome change. No moving parts equals no chance of breaking. So in my opinion, I could honestly throw this thing around and not have to worry about any damage at all. And best of all – it is really light! This unit maybe weighs a couple pounds at the most, so I could easily carry three of them in each hand if needed where typical banners you need to you both hands and sometimes a foot to move around so the poles do not pop out of the cartridge or bend!
Moving on to the the visual aspect of the ION. The UV printed graphic provided looks amazing. The tension on the frame is minimal but the appearance shows no wrinkles and appears to be as tight as a drum. Only when you touch the fabric do you realize that it is very relaxed. The print material it very flexible and only after abusing it for a while was I able to get a wave to show. This could easily be removed with a quick toss in the dryer or probably repositioning the fabric on the frame. Some of the major advantages of fabric graphics are that you can wash them to remove dirt and grime. They do not fade easily as they are UV inks and can take direct sunlight for months before showing any loss of color. These particular fabric graphics for the ION will not wrinkle, and fold into very small areas if needed. The colors are extremely vibrant and the print quality is super sharp considering the fabric used is so stretchy.
Disassembly was faster than expected. Total time back into package was about 17 seconds. Pull two (2) pins, unzip two (2) zippers and everything comes apart that quickly. My guess is I could get the set-up assembly time around 30-40 seconds easy if I made a point of seeing how fast I could get this up which is respectable making this a very appealing exhibiting solution for road shows.
Overall I really really like the ION display for a number of reasons, but the “cool” factor and show stopping appearance overrides any apprehension I had about the units not being a traditional approach. The best part of this display is that the price is on par with pull up banners of both sizes, so it is really about what you prefer to bring to your show.
The potential to build a double sided version of the ION banner system seems logical. Exchanging the single bends for the top and bottom curved bars and replacing them with a “T” connector seems likely to happen soon making this an even more viable system for open floor spaces. My particular table top unit had a single pole back which was rather large, however this can be requested to be split and the pole size issue is resolved. The split poles have bungie cords and press pin locks to keep them in place once assembled making them sturdy and easy to collapse.
Vortex Displays is very excited to add the ION to our banner stand offerings. Contact us today and get yourself one of these really unique and visually appealing banners solutions for your portable exhibiting needs.