RAF 100 Voices – a Significant Milestone

29 May 2018

In April the RAF celebrated its 100th anniversary.

With special events and activities planned up and down the country to celebrate this landmark occasion, 2018 continues to be a significant year for the RAF.

Lincolnshire is at the heart of these celebrations. Famously known as Bomber County, Lincolnshire was home to a third of Britain’s RAF bases during World War II. Today, Lincolnshire remains the home of many front-line RAF bases and thousands of active service personnel.

In January we started working with Lincoln BIG and Visit Lincoln on the RAF 100 Voices trails. We’ve had the pleasure of working in partnership with both organisations before – last year we worked with them on the Lincoln Knights’ Trail, to encourage people to explore the history of the city.

The idea behind the RAF 100 Voices trails in Lincoln and the surrounding areas was to recognise the county's contribution to the war efforts over the last century. 

As an established Lincolnshire business for over 50 years, we jumped at the chance to support this important milestone.

We were asked to manufacture and install the 100 totem signs and plinths, while our friends at Energy Cell were commissioned to design them.

The theme of the centenary lent itself well to the creation of replica plane wings to mark the walking and cycle trails. It’s at this stage the hard work really started! How could we create replica wings of iconic RAF aircraft and make them work for the purposes of the trails, as well as withstand the weather and other environmental elements?

Innovation, innovation, innovation!

Luckily, we’re more than just a signage business these days and the investment we’ve made into both our staff and our machinery over the last 18 months meant we were able to jump feet first into this project.

We began production in early March and installed the signs shortly afterwards - it was a relatively quick turnaround for the team. Thankfully, as a small business we have the flexibility and space to cope with tight timescales and challenging briefs. In fact, we’d go as far as saying that we thrive on them!

To deliver the look that the team at Energy Cell had created, we used the Protek Unico TT digital cutter and router to make the signs. The Protek is capable of powering its way through a range of rigid materials including cardboard, plywood and even metal, as well engraving into plastics and metals.

As part of the process we used 150 lengths of wood, which we had to cut down to size and treat to withstand the elements over the length of the trail period. The design of some elements of the cycle and walking trails meant we had create ways of ensuring the designs could be displayed at their best.

The sheer volume of materials needed to create the basic structure of the wings meant we used 160 sheets of aluminium composite material, 20 fabricated aluminium panels, 400mtrs of full colour print and used our Pro-Tek machinery to cut and finish the final pieces.

The finished look

After weeks of preparation, the installation of the 100 totems and plinths took just 8 days. Our team of installers worked quickly on the delivery and installation of the wings and we’re thrilled with the results.

If you’ve not yet had the chance to take a look, we’ve created a Facebook album of some of the photos we’ve taken or have had sent to us. If you’re out and about on the trail between now and its end, then we’d love to see your photos - send them to us on Twitter or tag us in on Facebook!

Why did we do this?

Well, in truth the reasons are threefold.

History – with the wealth of RAF history in Lincolnshire, it seemed a natural fit to support something that means so much to so many people.

It’s what we do – we have over 50 years’ experience in the signage and display industry! With the investment we’ve made into our business over that time, specifically over the last 18 months, we were perfectly placed to support this event.

The community we live in – Lincoln is proud of its links to the RAF, and as a Lincoln based business, we were particularly keen to do our bit for this momentous and historic occasion.