Bal Seal, Canted Coil Spring and History Exhibition
Bal Seal Engineering manufactures canted coil springs and seals. What pray tell is a canted coil spring? This very question is at the core of the exhibitions within the Bal Seal 150,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility in Colorado Springs. Bal Seal is the world leader in research, design and manufacturing of round, doughnut-shaped springs that are used in aerospace, automotive, medical equipment and dozens of applications that touch our lives everyday. Communicating this to Bal Seal’s own workers, clients and public were at the core of developing and designing a series of exhibits that make human connections to the importance of these little parts.
Founded in the kitchen of a young engineering couple, Bal Seal is also a truly American manufacturing story – a coming-to-America tale of freedom-seeking, opportunity, creativity and industry (their founding is well described on their website). The first facility of the company was in a tiny part of a WWII quonset hut, smaller than the size of the exhibition case telling its story. The quonset became a centerpiece of the exhibition design and interpretation.
In addition to a large historical and company overview exhibition, a series of fifteen “jewel cases” stretch the length of the 1/8th mile main hall of the facility. Each case presents an individual use application. Some are interactive, including an e-bike charging station inviting visitors to plug in the charger and illuminate the case interior with a bike light, some include motion-activated videos, while another present the nearly 3,000 individual magnetic shielding springs used in a single Air Force jet.
Studio Tectonic provided content development, design, media integration, object handling/mounting, fabrication and installation. Close collaboration was critical with corporate founders, CEO and leadership. Completion was timed with the opening of the facility in 2014. CSNA Architects provided design of the facility.
Small case photos courtesy of Bal Seal Engineering