EVERETT — The world’s largest digital graphic is coming together slowly, strip by strip at the Boeing Co.’s plant at Paine Field.
A handful of workers have been hanging vinyl strips for weeks and will be for a couple of weeks more.
The overall image is a tribute to the work inside the plant. Looking from left to right, it shows a 777-300ER, a 747-8, a 767-300 and a 787-9 against a sky background. The lighting changes from soft early morning tones on the left into midday in the center and then to dusk on the right.
The design’s title, “Day Cycle,” comes from that transition. Two Boeing designers, Paul Burgess and Holly Livingston, created the image, which employees selected last May. More than 23,000 Boeing workers cast votes in the contest.
The mural spans 1,900 feet and covers more than 100,000 square feet. In March 2006, the Guinness Book of World Records recognized the previous image as the largest digital image in the world.
It took a handful of workers about a month this spring to take down that earlier image, which featured a woman with outstretched arms.
The new mural started going up in July.
A Seattle-based design company superGraphics, a division of GM Nameplate, is in charge of getting the mural on the doors.
Nothing about the job is small, said Cindy Victor, the project lead for superGraphics.
The image is printed on giant vinyl strips with adhesive on one side. Each one is about 60 feet long and 54 inches wide. It takes about 420 strips to cover the plant’s six hangar doors.
“We put it on the press, and ran it straight through for probably two weeks,” she said.
Printing it all at once ensures that the colors are consistent throughout, she said.
Boeing and superGraphics are also working on putting up a new image at the Renton plant.
Each strip is hung individually by a couple of workers. They work from the top down, sticking the image to the door a few feet at a time. They meticulously smooth out any air bubbles or other imperfections before moving on.
The temperature affects how much the panels stretch or don’t, said Jon Bjorklund, the lead installer for superGraphics.
“Things can change really quickly to where its not as stretchy,” or more so, he said.
The sun going behind a cloud can change the material in a matter of minutes.
Bjorklund and his coworkers had to endure temperatures well over 100 degrees on some days due to the sun glaring off the doors and heat rising from the tarmac below.
“It was tough,” he said.
The new mural is part of major renovations and expansion at Boeing’s Everett site. Examples include a new delivery center that opened last year and ongoing overhauls to many of the site’s office buildings.
The biggest investments are two new planned buildings related to Boeing’s new 777X airplane program.
The Chicago-based company is putting a lot of money into the site, said Terrance Scott, a Boeing spokesman.
“If it were in a cost-cutting mood, it could just paint (the hangar doors) blue and call it good.”
Dan Catchpole: 425-339-3454; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @dcatchpole.