Inflatable products are widely used in a broad range of industrial
applications today, having evolved into sophisticated, all-weather structures
that can withstand diverse environments. With versatile application in the
industrial, military, construction, mining, engineering, architectural, safety,
emergency and aerospace sectors, the air-supported inflatable structures offer numerous
benefits over traditionally built alternatives.
Inflatables can be used as a portable shelter, an emergency
hospital, an inflatable all-weather wall when the overhead structure cannot
support conventional material walls or even a furnace inspection safety mat and
inspection platform among many more applications.
Thad Fredrickson, manager of materials development for ILC Dover in
Frederica, Delaware explains that inflatables typically offer a more elegant
engineering solution because they are simple by design. Additionally, they
require fewer mechanical parts, pack tightly and take up very little volume.
Inflatable structures also combine a low-energy production process with recyclable
fabrics, water-based coatings and low-energy fans and blowers to provide an
Key considerations when selecting materials for inflatables include tensile
strength in both warp and weft of the fabric; tear and rip resistance to reduce
accidental damage; coating adhesion to the fabric under all conditions of
operation; and weathering resistance and ability to easily clean, including
resistance to UV degradation, abrasion resistance and retention of physical
properties after long periods of exposure.
One should also keep in mind the suitability of the material for joining
techniques, which retain the full strength of the base material and integrity
and properties of the coatings; pliability and flexibility to prevent damage
during packing, storage and handling, as well as ability to shape conform to
applied pressures and forces; fire-retardant properties and flame spread
resistance to meet fire and safety codes; and translucence or opacity, along
with insulating properties.
The need for reliable, lightweight, compact and affordable shelters that
can be rapidly loaded and deployed will continue to grow with inflatable
products meeting all of these requirements.
Please visit the Giant Inflatables Industrial website www.giantinflatablesindustrial.com.au for more