|Temporary outdoor artwork called The Gates will be built off-site then installed in five days in New York's Central Park next February.|
|Five-inch-square vertical and horizontal poles extruded from 65 miles of recyclable saffron-colored vinyl will be supported by aerial and base supports made from permanent-mold cast aluminum.|
The Christo & Jeanne-Claude-inspired art installation slated for a 16-day stint in New York's Central Park next year will get support for its 7,500 free-standing structures from permanent-mold cast aluminum. The castings are made by Gupta Permold Corp., Pittsburgh (www.guptapermold.com), and will serve as corner supports and the bases for orange vinyl extruded poles. The inverted U-shaped structures will hold saffron-colored fabric seven feet above the ground. The exhibit will place thousands of 16-ft high structures along 23 miles of footpaths in the park.
"Taking an artist's vision and adapting it to a shape that's manufacturable at a reasonable cost is not always easy," says Arun Gupta, spokesperson for Gupta Permold. "The challenge is to let the artist keep their original wishes in terms of form, fit, and function, while suggesting changes that will aid in selecting the best manufacturing process."
For the project, original design of the corner aerial support called for assemblies made from welded extrusions. Although this would have been lightweight and strong, welded assemblies are expensive and could not meet dimensional tolerances. So instead, Gupta Permold redesigned the corner supports to be permanent-mold castings. Permanent-mold casting dropped fabrication costs for the 15,000 corner brackets by a third. To meet strength requirements for the project, Gupta Permold beefed-up the walls and filleted the corners. Holes strategically placed helped offset weight gained with thicker walls. According to Gupta, the castings are 100% guaranteed for flatness, so they easily fit into the vinyl tubes.
To build the second series of castings used in the project, Gupta Permold devised a hybrid out of 25 X 5.5-in. aluminum extrusions welded to permanent-mold cast flanges. Redesigning the part to incorporate the permanent-mold cast flange reduced fabrication costs compared to the welded assembly that the artists originally envisioned.
-- Jean M. Hoffman