In order to make the best decision possible for your investment, it is necessary to have sound information about the various aspects involved in the manufacturing process.
A major factor in choosing a cold-air inflatable is the lifespan. Will the inflatable tear apart in windy conditions, will it fade in the sun, will it last indefinitely ? The answers to these questions rely primarily on the fabric chosen for the inflatable and the design.
Six of the most commonly used cold-air inflatable fabrics are:
- Rip stop - Rip stop is nylon, usually between 60 and 120 grms, urethane coated. It is used for very lightweight balloons, small sizes 3D details and sometimes for internal construction pieces such as the internal baffles that control and maintain the shape of the inflatable.
- Polyester fabric (uncoated) - This material is a +/-200 grms fabric used for not shiny, light weight inflatables in complex shapes. Dye sublimation printed.
- Light vinyl-Coated polyester fabric (single) - A matte PVC coated nylon, usally around 300 grms. This fabric is of medium weight and used when FR M1 classification is necessary for advertising inflatables.
- Vinyl-Coated polyester fabric (single) - This shiny PVC coated nylon is normally 450 grms. It is used as the exterior material for most cold-air, advertising inflatables. It is medium lightweight, strong, available in custom colors, and can be inkjet printed or painted easily.
- Heavy vinyl-Coated Polyester - This heavyweight fabric is usually 680 grms. Primarily, this fabric is used as a base material for the heavy duty (inter) active parts of bouncers and slides, and also for areas where advertising inflatables touch the ground. Did you know that certain standard fabrics made out of Europe to make exotic bouncies are probably very bad for your kids’ health when they get in direct contact with human skin ?
- Vinyl-Coated Polyester for welding weighs 1100 grms. Specifically for the production of airtight tubes, columns and smaller sized arches, etc, and for specific industrial and technical applications.
New fabrics are being developed continuously so .. always check
When making a decision about your next cold-air inflatable, consider the following questions:
Is the fabric strong enough?
Material strenght is determined by looking at a combination of elements including the base fibers and the weave. The tighter the weave is, the more durable the fabric will be. The coating is just to create a smooth surface for printing purposes or to clean easily afterwards. The weight of fabrics as such indicates … nothing.. A good design will help the strong fabric to survive storms with heavy rainfall and winds
Will my inflatable fade?
If the fabric is not treated, it is very likely that your inflatable will suffer fading very fast. Ask for material that contains a UV coating to prevent color fading under normal conditions .. the coating will slow down the fading process but after 5 years on a roof outdoor the inflatable will have faded gradually. Certain colors like red for example are more sensitive to fading than others … Not only direct sunlight but even the sun’s reflection on the moon can make your inflatable fade..
Will my inflatables last forever ?
With all the advances in inflatables today, we still have not found a way to allow inflatables “to live forever.” Check into the warranty offered by the manufacturer. This will give you a good idea of the lifespan of your creation but minimum 2 years of intensive use is the standard in the European Union.
It is of capital importance to avoid storing a wet inflatable in a transport bag too long and to anticipate when possible heavy winds might occur.
Knowing all you can about your inflatable will help you get the most benefit and use from it for years to come. Knowing what makes an outstanding inflatable will also let you judge whether the inflatable product you have been quoted for is really a deal after all.