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Using a basic tenet of tensile structures, Tropical J's, Inc has developed a simple design and manufacturing capability to create a product line we have labeled "Cable-Tensioned". Without going into an in-depth description of "Tensile Structures", one could say that the difference between a conventional awning (or canopy) is that the structure takes its form from how the frame is designed while a tensile structure takes its shape from how the fabric is designed. One principle of tensile structures is that the fabric must be placed into an "anticlastic" state (see below). When tensioned into an anticlastic shape, the fabric becomes relatively rigid, allowing large expanses of fabric without underlying framing.
Tropical J's, Inc puts fabric into an anticlastic state through the use of curved rafters spaced anywhere from 5-7ft apart. (The normal spacing for a conventional frame is 30 inches between rafters.) Thus the fabric passing over the rafters is curved while the unsupported fabric between the rafters attempts to achieve a straight line. As the fabric dips between the rafters, we achieve a slight curve running from left to right.
The term "cable tensioned" denotes that our canopies are tensioned using steel cables in curved sleeves cut and sewn into the front edge of the main fabric deck. With cable tensioning we can achieve much higher degrees of tension than what is normally achieved with grommet lace lines or other conventional means of fabric attachment.
The wide spacing of rafters and the elimination of lacing and the resultant front and lace bars, significantly opens up the frame and reduces the cost of manufacturing and installations. Thus not only are Tropical J's, Inc.'s Cable-Tensioned structures more aesthetically pleasing, they are more affordable as well.
Canopies by definition are normally extensions of roof coverings. By definition within the Honolulu building codes, "canopies" project more than 6ft from the building, may have posts, and if so, add to the square foot calculations of the building. Canopies come in a variety of shapes. Fabric is a major consideration when building a canopy. The most common fabrics are either woven acrylics, or PVC vinyls. Commercial buildings require flame retardant fabrics that meet NFPA-701.*
In choosing fabrics be aware that although woven acrylics are water resistant, "water resistant" is not the same as "water-proof". Water-resistant fabrics can leak in heavy rains. Further, the normal practice of assembling awnings using sewing machines, will further add to leaking through stitch holes. Even PVC (vinyl) fabrics that are water-proof can leak when the surface is compromised with stitching.
Tropical J's has solved the leak problem with the use of fabric welders. Capable of both radio frequency and wedge/heat welding, we have the capability of fusing fabric panels together without the use of stitching and therefore are capable of guaranteeing leak proof canopies when vinyl fabrics are chosen.
Tropical J's, Inc.'s awning are all digitally designed, made from a variety of metals including aluminum or steel. However the vast majority are manufactured with "Gatorshield" galvanized steel tubing by Allied Steel. Gatorshield is a patented triple layer Flo-Coat® rust and corrosion resistant steel that has demonstrated to be the best over the long haul versus all competitive product offerings.
All our awning frames received a protective coating suitable for a saltwater-wet environment. The base primer finish is a Sherwin-Williams Dura-Plate 235 Multi-Purpose Epoxy. Dura-Plate 235 is a modified epoxy, formulated specifically for immersion and atmospheric service in marine and industrial environments. The top coat is a Sherwin-Williams HI-SOLIDS POLYURETHANE, a two-component, acrylic polyurethane resin coating designed for high performance protection with excellent exterior gloss and color retention.
Note: NFPA 701 establishes two test procedures to assess the propagation of flame beyond the area exposed to an ignition source for textiles and films. The tests are appropriate for testing materials that are used as draperies, curtains or other window treatments, awnings, tents, traps and plastic films used for decorative or other purposes.