Metamark Media Used For COP26 Train Wrap Project

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Metamark Media Used For COP26 Train Wrap Project

Metamark’s MetaWrap MD-X, a 50 micron Cylinder Cast digital wrapping media, as well as Metamark MDP-R removable promotional grade digital vinyl were used in a railway project.

Commercial fleet and rail wraps are commissioned by their end-users generally against the expectation that the matter which the wrap promotes, branding for example, will be seen and remembered. Some studies suggest that around six thousand pairs of eyes an hour see a wrap when the fleet asset it covers is going about its business.

Impressive as that number is in confirming the value of branding and advertising wraps in marketers’ and advertisers’ mixes, it serves only to contrast the context of a train wrap of extraordinary significance produced by Milton Keynes based rail and fleet graphics specialist Charles Rayner Ltd. The wrap in question promoted the event and aims of the COP26 conference in Glasgow.

While it is newsworthy for promoting an event of great significance, the wrap is all the more notable because recyclable materials were involved in its manufacture and it was applied to a revolutionary, hydrogen powered train.

The wrapped train was a showcase for locomotion technology that will drive the decarbonation of the railways and it was in Scotland for COP26, along with the world’s leaders, the world’s press, and many thousands of others attending or observing.

The wrap was seen by millions around the world, and locally, as all eyes turned toward Glasgow during the two weeks the conference was running.

The hydrogen powered train is the first, and so far only, example of what could become a new and very welcome means of travel that will benefit the planet. Answering to the name HydroFLEX, it’s the work of rolling stock owner and asset manager Porterbrook, and it is propelled by a retro-fitted hydrogen-fuelled power plant helping legacy rolling stock rise to the call of new mission.

Hydrogen isn’t as power-dense as conventional fuels and so occupies more space. When it is produced using renewable resources though, ‘green-hydrogen’ is much friendlier than other fuels, with water vapour being the by-product at the location of its use.

Having successfully delivered livery graphics for another of Porterbrook’s rolling-stock developments, the HybridFLEX train, Charles Rayner Ltd was approached, in conditions of strict commercial confidentiality, to produce and install a COP26 themed wrap for the revolutionary HydroFLEX. The wrap’s design was prescribed and the team at Charles Rayner’s first task was surveying the HydroFLEX train and preparing the supplied data for print production.

At the time of its survey, the HydroFLEX train was hidden from the eyes of the world and was in the process of having its hydrogen power plant installed and its interior modelled and fitted. The train’s exterior was refurbished too in preparation for for the wrap. Dozens of people were working in and around the then incomplete train and it was minus many components that would have a bearing on the wrap’s fitting. The train’s roof was also included in the scope of the wrap’s design. Much detailed and iterative data editing by the Charles Rayner team was needed to ensure the message would be legible across the roof’s deep corrugations.

The wrap’s design is largely printed and its colours were specified subject to the tightest matching discipline. Charles Rayner’s production team trusted Metamark’s MetaWrap MD-X wrapping film to deliver the colour-critical results, having previously worked with the film on the HybridFLEX livery project, a decision signed off by UK Government representatives for the HydroFLEX project. Another factor considered in specifying and agreeing to use Metamark materials, was the products’ recent qualification for inclusion in Metamark’s newly launched MetaStream initiative.

MetaStream is Metamark’s process offering qualified volume users of a growing range of MetaStream-Ready Metamark materials a range of available options for dealing with printed and coloured graphics at the end of their lives, and the materials’ release-liners post-production.

MetaStream and its intent obviously mesh gears well with the COP26 train wrap. The wrap’s design reflects elements of the theme broadly promoting and branding COP26. A stylised representation of Earth, as seen from the vantage point available in space, is central. It serves to enforce the bald fact that all that stands between the Earth-bound population and the hard-vacuum and radiation in space is a fragile atmosphere.

This, and other elements of the design, are surrounded with fields of printed green with text elements rendered in black, including the UK Government’s insignia. The nuance the design delivers sits adjacent in conceptual terms to the branding and its design. ‘Together For Our Planet,’ is the sentiment that frames it brilliantly.

The Charles Rayner team didn’t have long at all to stand back and admire its work before it was signed off by a queue of involved parties. The wrap, every element of it, had to be obscured from view before the train could leave its confidential, indoor location, and make its way to Scotland. The risk of ’shrink wrapping’ the train was considered but moved aside and signed off in favour of a ’Stealth Wrap’ applied over the graphics and proposed by Charles Rayner’s team.

The secondary wrap, whose only role was to hide the applied COP26 livery, was meticulously applied by the Charles Rayner team using Metamark MDP-R, another MetaStream-Ready film whose primary application is short-term printed graphics. This material features Metamark’s Removable Adhesive and so would remove cleanly when the train reached its destination and the ‘covers’ could come off. Despite its limited outing, Charles Rayner’s MDP-R Stealth Wrap gets its fifteen minutes of fame.

When the time came for the stealth convers to come off the train in Scotland, the Charles Rayner team ensured the process went without a hitch and recovered the wrap material for recycling by the MetaStream Process. This material’s destiny isn’t slow decay in a landfill or going up in smoke in an incineration plant. It will find its way into other manufactured articles with long and useful life ahead.

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