Airship Envelope and Branding Options
Airship Solutions manufactures two types of hulls for operators of our airships, and three methods of branding the airships. Each hull type and branding method has its benefits and these are discussed below.
The three primary hull types
1. Polyurethane (PU)
3. Nylon with PU bladder
The three primary branding methods are:
2. Vinyl Graphics
3. Digital Color Printing
4. Nylon Covers
The Polyurethane is an incredibly resilient material that is ideal for use in blimps due to its properties for containing helium. The 3.5MIL hulls lose less than 1% helium by volume per day. In the event the hull gets punctured, it is very simple to fix. Once the hole is identified, the area is swabbed with an alcohol wipe, and a patch (provided) is fitted.
The Polyurethane hulls Pros and Cons are:
- Expand and contract with temperature and pressure changes, (thus minimizing concern for expansion caused by warming or altitude) hence very easy to maintain.
- Very easy to repair in case of holes or punctures
- Easy to clean
- Limited available colors (red, white, orange, yellow, black, grey, green and blue and generally available)
The Nylon Ripstop Hulls are used generally when a customer requests complex artwork, design or specially colored blimps that match the Pantone colors of a company’s logo. The Nylon does not stretch, therefore the pressure has to be regulated; this can be done either through a pressure release valve or an expansion panel or both.
The Ripstop hulls Pros and Cons are:
- They can be fully digitally printed, to advertise on 100% of the hull
- The outer skin provides extra protection to the bladder
- They require a pressure release valve or an Expansion panel
- In the event of puncture, the bladder needs to be removed to be repaired
- Extra strength and extra weight
Our preference is to provide the 3.5 Mil Polyurethane hulls on the 13ft and 20ft hulls, and to use the Ripstop outer envelope on the 32ft + airships. The smaller airships are much easier to ground handle than the large 32ft + airships, and 90% of holes occur during handling.
The airships will inevitably obtain a puncture or hole in the normal course of operation. We would expect between 6 and 12 holes over a years operation.
The application of banners to airships is generally the cheapest method of branding an airship. The banners design can be digitally printed in full color on materials such as Ripstop Nylon or Tyvec/Trilobal (a material similar to that used for flags). The banners can be interchanged very quickly, when multiple clients are being advertised on a given day. The banners are attached with elastic to the Polyurethane hulls (due to the hull expanding with temperature) and Velcro to the Nylon Ripstop envelopes.
Vinyl Graphics can be applied to the Polyurethane hulls. The Vinyl has a fantastic finish. The Vinyl can be printed and cut prior to the application. Once the graphics is applied to the hull, it is permanent. If applied with care, the vinyl graphics can be removed after a one-off promotion.
Digitally Printed Envelope (Skin)
The digitally printed skin offers the most advertising area, and ability to create a complete hull in any Pantone color. The full color digital printing is priced by the meter, and can be significantly more expensive than the alternatives, with results that justify the cost.