SAS International’s commitment to Research and Development (R&D) is key to the continued success of the business. Matt Butchard, SAS’ R&D Manager offers his insight into the R&D process and a sneak peek at SAS900 Polynode.
CAN YOU GIVE US A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF THE R&D FUNCTION?
R&D projects start with an unfulfilled customer need, or predicted future requirement. This may require a tweak to an existing product, or something completely new. We monitor customer demands and spot future trends that may affect our ability to service customers effectively. Now and again, customers simply tell us what they want and we help make it happen.
CAN YOU GIVE A RECENT EXAMPLE?
SAS900 Polynode would be a good example.
We had an increasing number of ceiling enquiries seeking complex surfaces. Besides bespoke options, there were very few products available to customers.
Customers were requesting flexibility in design where available options were all fixed form. We developed SAS900 as an adaptive and adjustable nodal system to suspend polygonal tiles – a suspension system allowing designers to create ceilings with three-dimensional surfaces.
We designed a new fixing method allowing tiles to “stretch”, providing significant adaptability of form. Polynode is the only system that offers this flexibility allowing for numerous forms as standard.
HOW DID YOU ACHIEVE WHAT OTHERS COULD NOT?
We observed how computer render engines simplified spherical forms into simple, flat geometric shapes, or polygons. Our concept was to apply this logic to a complex ceiling, aiming to simplify the geometry here too.
Realising this in a metal rather than digital form was far from easy, but the solution was beautifully simple. We took certain established principals from existing systems and developed a unique suspension method. This new fixing allows for some play between tiles, letting the surface flex and change shape, like fabric.
The next challenge to overcome was the huge number of tile shapes required for complex forms. Progressing the design, we significantly reduced the number of different tile shapes required. Our standard offering uses just one tile, reducing manufacturing, design and installation costs substantially.
CAN WE SHOW ANYTHING NOW?
We photographed a system mock up as part of a live project with just one triangular tile shape. This project required a smooth, sweeping curve. Testing our modelling, we simply adjusted the node heights and created a drastically different appearance.
WILL THERE BE OPTIONS?
Initially we are offering two options:
Option 1 suspends tiles from a standard grid set up. This represents the simplest and lowest cost option, whilst still offering notable flexibility. This standard detail allows you to install the ceiling flat, adjusting each node up or down as desired (within limits).
With direct assistance from SAS, option 2 allows the customer to map the ceiling onto almost any surface form. Our Special Projects division offers comprehensive design support, analysing surfaces to determine optimal arrangements of tile numbers and sizes.
Please call 01189290900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.