The Tensile Structure Manufacturing Process


Tensile structures aren’t like traditional construction materials that need to be processed on-site. In the traditional way, all materials are brought to the site and workers use them to construct the structures. 

Additionally, the materials used for tensile structures could be manufactured off-site. Tensile structure components are usually huge in size, which means they need a larger area to be manufactured. Manufacturing them offsite means that there is less disruption on the site where the tensile structures are to be put up. 

Components Of Tensile Membrane Structures

There are two main components of tensile membrane structures and they are the framework and the fabric or membrane that stretches over them. There are different processes involved in the production of such components. 

Framework Manufacturing 

The framework of the tensile structure should be well made to ensure the structure doesn’t collapse. It should be able to withstand the outside elements it is designed to withstand. For this, most use steel for the lattice framework because it is strong enough to hold it’s placed and shape even when a fabric or membrane is tensioned over it. 

The steel components are usually prefabricated in a factory away from the site. All that’s left to do is to assemble the frame on the site. Steel is the metal of choice when creating tensile structures that are meant as permanent structures.

Aside from a steel framework, some may also select an aluminum metal frame. Aluminum is lightweight and is also durable but most tensile structures that opt for an aluminum frame are only temporary. 

Tensile Membrane Manufacturing

There are different tensile membranes that can be used with the metal framework to create the tensile structure. The membrane used would depend on whether the structure is for outdoor use or indoor use.

It will also depend on whether the structure is meant to be a permanent one or a temporary one. There are various membranes to select from and each of them has its own benefits and drawbacks. 

Depending on what membrane is used, there are a few processes that it can go through to form it in the right shape and have enough strength for its purpose. Manufacturing can involve any of the following:

Welding

For fabrics that are used for external purposes, many of them are created through welding. Radiofrequency welding ensures that the fabric are well connected and won’t rip apart even when faced with natural elements. 

In this procedure, a thermo-plastic element is heated into the fabric coating. This will soften them and bod the layers of fabric together. Through this, high strength fabrics can be produced. These can handle even extremely high tensile loads.

Simple as it may seem, not all fabrics can be easily welded. Some can require more bonding elements to ensure that they stick together properly and have the required strength and stability requirements. As with the fabric itself, the seams also have to have the same strength as with the fabric to prevent rips. 

Sewing

If tensile structures are only small in size, sewing would also be useful. The sewing process can also be used to create reinforcement patches on larger sized membranes. To ensure durability, the threads used to stitch the layers are also carefully selected. They should be able to withstand even exposure to UV light. 

Gluing

Another process involved in the creation of tensile fabrics is gluing. This is used for fabrics that don’t join well when the welding or sewing process is used. Such fabrics would include silicon coated glass cloth. For this fabric, a high-bond adhesive is used and is enough to join the fabric and produce the strength and durability needed. 


About Darren Rider

Darren Rider is a small business owner located in North Raleigh, NC. In addition to designing manufacture, sell and install tensioned membrane structures worldwide through TMB, he owns or co-owns other local businesses in the area. Interested in purchasing our patented designs directly? Give us a call today!

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