Weber Metals’ Grand Press Unveiling
Weber Metals Inc, an Otto Fuchs company, looked to the future of forging with both optimism and pride. The extended Weber family came together this October to unveil a 180 million dollar investment three years in the making with the force of 60,000 tons. The result is the company’s plan to double its staff to 800, which will create more than 2,000 new jobs for the Los Angeles community, new parts that will allow for advancement in the aerospace industry, and the creation of the world’s largest pull-down forging press.
It takes a lot of vendors, partner companies, and talented people to create a celebration that leaves an impression as big as the press itself.
The Making of a Milestone
Transformation of the warehouse started with a ground breaking in April of 2014. Digging down 78 feet into the hard Los Angeles soil, 3,600 truckloads were needed for excavation.
3,240 truckloads of concrete and tonnage of rebar created the base level at 61 feet below the surface where the 60K ton press rests it’s massive, seven-story body. Weighing in at more than the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the beautiful blue press looms over us mere humans like an iceberg, only revealing the tip of a far more superior artifact.
The pressure was on! Our event managers teamed together and pulled astronomical resources together to help the Weber family celebrate their achievements.
A Day for the Minds of the Future
To start, Weber began their celebrations with forging the minds of the future. A group of local high school students got an insider’s view of the record shattering press and a hands-on lesson in the forging process.
Fascinating and inspiring teenagers is no easy achievement, but Weber had science on their side!
Black Lights turned this school day into a science soiree as new forged metal (and safety vests) glowed under the purple luminescence.
The illuminating staff at Weber kept the students engaged even at lunch. Mingling at lunch, students were able to engage in conversation over hot, fresh burritos with Weber Metals’ President Doug McIntyre.
A Day for the Weber Family
Just weeks later, the new Weber facility would have over a thousand eager guests walk under its roof. Our event managers had no time to lose! The functional warehouse would need to be transformed into a private fairground for the employees, their families, and community guests.
Even Southern California turned up the heat on October 20th. Normally known for its cooler climate in autumn, the weather turned hot as the day topped off in the mid-90s. To keep guests comfortable, a misting tent and a number of large, industrial fans were brought in and installed on site the day before.
Huge pipe and drape installations concealed the working elements of the facility behind black curtains. Fencing, stanchions, and rope created structure and secured the guests from the safety zones. Matching tents were erected to create stations for the main buffet, desserts, fun foods and beverage areas. The Fun Zone included photo booths with plenty of props, a craft station, a paper airplane contest, and a scavenger hunt. Multiples of each were strategically placed to avoid long lines once guests arrived.
The festivities included two carnival rides, two bounce houses, an inflatable rock climbing slide, a toddler play zone and two trackless trains that took guests around the press for a closer look.
The paper airplane contest was a winner for kids and adults alike. The furthest went over 60 feet!
Four 65” LED flat screens, professional signage, printed maps and banners added a professional touch to communication. A spirited emcee and rocking DJ guided the event through a profusion of well-placed speakers. Well-timed announcements for tours of the facility, opening of buffet lines, and impromptu dance lessons kept guests engaged throughout the day.
Weber’s love for the environment and sense of corporate responsibility shined through. Recycle bins were placed throughout the facility to capture the green cups and paper boats from the catered stations. In an effort to reduce its carbon footprint, all disposable ware used at the functions was recyclable. Additionally, 12 portable solar units were brought in for the day. And while the carbon footprint for this event was small, the memories it created were larger than life.
A Day into the Future
Just two days later, our team would find themselves in one of our favorite Downtown L.A. venues ready to transform another location. Trussing was erected in all corners of the 30th-floor penthouse of the USC building to support the massive amount of lighting that would be used for a special dinner and performance.
After a few hand-passed appetizers, lively conversation and some cold beverages from the bar, guests entered dinner through double doors. The transitional corridor was set first, with a branded ice sculpture, then with a series of vertical banners telling the history of Weber Metals.
Lighting created a dramatic atmosphere. Weber blue saturated the space, while white uplights and pin lighting highlighted key placements. Floral centerpieces, white china, and sparkling glasses awaited the hungry guests. Not keen on keeping such important people waiting, a starting salad was set upon the well-labeled placed seatings. Digital RSVPs allowed guests to select their dinner entree without the delay from looking over a menu, so that dinner could follow speeches without delay.
Desserts included a plated homespun trifle with seasonal fresh fruit layered between homemade pound cake and vanilla custard as well as a cool creamery that created ice cream right in front of guests’ eyes!
A custom-built stage would hold some of the most advanced sound and mixing technology available. After all, it is not every day that a world-renown band would be gracing our builds.
With a remarkably moving, raspy voice and a soulful style Dana Fuchs and Band had guests grooving over the glittering lights of Los Angeles.
The real highlight of the evening was not the mouth-watering meal, cool dessert station or the soulful band – it was the surprise addition to the night’s performance. Showing himself as a true leader and managing partner of Otto Fuchs, Dr. Hinrich Mählmann joined the stage with the band.
A roaring cheer came from the crowd as he took the lead playing the keyboard and turning this Monday night dinner into a party 30 stories above the LA skyline!
The Next Morning: The Big Unveiling
The next morning the on site big reveal edged ever closer. The anticipation shone in every smile as guests arrived from all over the world. News crews arrived early for a special meeting. A full continental breakfast including hot coffee, cold juice, fresh fruit, muffins, and more was laid out for early arrivers.
Just because it was the Big Day, didn’t mean overlooking small details. Weber’s sense of corporate responsibility was pressed into nearly every decision, from the sustainable cutlery to the sturdy palm leaf plates and recycle bins. How does a company this dedicated to the environment decide to do a big reveal? Why by using the most advanced technology available of course!
A custom-built stage and approximately 40×40 foot LED system took two days to install. The video production and live performance, on the other hands, took months to prepare. Hundreds of feet of pipe and drape were brought on site to block the light and set the scene. It would take many hands, like grains of sand, to create an impact as big as the 60K Press itself!
Keynote speakers would first address the gathering crowd. Executives, dignitaries and government officials addressed media and guests alike with inspirational speeches full of gratitude and pride. When the applause rang silent, the curtains were drawn, and the Sand Story began. The live production combines art and music to create a story right before your eyes using only grains of sand and an artist’s touch!
This incredible moving art shows how small things can create something much larger when they work together. With that message in mind, the vault doors appeared on the LED screens with an almost 3D like appearance. Epic music designed to match the full force of the new press rang from the speakers. The metal glistened, reflecting the desire to set eyes on the future!
The digital doors opened and a realistic rendered video encapsulated the making of the 60K Press. Revealing the parts the machine would forge, the process of the build and key metrics that unveiled the green technology used to create and manage the future of forging. The video lifted so much more than just camera phones, as many remained speechless when the screens, now presented as two sides of a vaulted door, moved to unveil the press itself!
Cheers and a standing ovation greeted the blue wonder to the world. Its grand reveal already went viral before lunch was even served. “I’ve been to many of these types of events,” one guest said “but nothing like this!”. Guests took the opportunity to snap larger-than-life selfies with the 60K Press (sometimes with a little help from a friend!).
We had a magnificent time partnering with Weber and the many companies that helped mold the resources that made these events possible. By the end, Weber Metals, Otto Fuchs and the irreplaceable partners felt like members of our own extended family. Thank you for making such an impact on us and trusting our team as if we were members of your own. Our hard hats are off to you. Here’s to all those hands who have made this possible!
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