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In India, the tensile membrane industry is on an upward trajectory

In India, the tensile membrane industry is on an upward trajectory

They are visible in sport stadiums, airports, shopping malls, office buildings, terraces. In the coming months & years this visibility is only going to increase says Gitanjali Samarth, Proprietor, Infab.

What are the current trends and innovations in the tensile membrane Structures? 

Tensioned membrane structures are considered the  5th construction element after concrete, metal,  stone and glass. Its popularity is growing and it  is being adopted as a leading solution to many of  today’s biggest design challenges. There are exciting  & new things happening in this field. 

People are looking for structures with life expectancy  of 25 + years even up to 40 years. The traditional PVC  & PVDF fabrics have made way for PTFE coated  fabrics which can provide this. 

The trend is towards creativity and incorporating  art and aesthetics into designing. Working in  tandem with landscape designers, architects and city  planners, is moving tensile membrane structures to  the next level. 

Increasing energy efficiency, cutting electricity costs,  reducing carbon foot prints is another important  factor that is driving the innovative trends in this  field. The trend is towards providing cost –effective  solutions such as tensile membrane Facades for  reducing solar heat gain and fabric structures with  strategic water control for conservation initiatives. 

As the awareness, usability and applications of tensile membrane structures is increasing, so is the demand.  Therefore, there are more and newer players jumping  into the fry leading to price wars. Although this is a good  thing, the down side of it is that at times quality can get  compromised at the altar of competitiveness. This is a  trend that is visible in countries such as India and can at  times be counter productive 

How do Tensile membrane structures prove to be cost  effective solutions for the Indian construction market?

In India, there is an increasing trend towards moving  away from traditional brick and mortar structures. The  indisputable advantage of light weight tensile structures  lies in the minimum weight of material used. At less  than one fourth the weight of comparable structures  employing glass/polycarbonate sheets, not only are  fabric membrane structures lighter but the amount  of material required and the silhouette of the support  structure is minimized thereby reducing the overall cost of a project substantially. 

Due to high level of prefabrication at the production  level, cost efficiency is also achieved due to the speed  in erecting such structures. Furthermore, transportation,  disassembly, reuse & recycling is accomplished in an  easier way as compared to traditional methods. 

As far as utility of tensile membrane structures are concerned, what are the  limitations & challenges? 

The biggest limitation of using  architectural membranes is the low  thermal insulation as compared to classic  building materials such as concrete,  wooden slats, shingles etc. Large amount  of heat from solar radiation penetrates  through the membrane causing  overheating especially in summer. This is  a major challenge especially in a country  such as ours as it substantially adds to  air conditioning costs and restricts the  usability of such structures. 

What is your outlook for the tensile  membrane industry in the year 2020?

The aesthetics, importance and usability  of tensile membrane structures cannot  be undermined. They are the structures  of today and of the future. In India,  the tensile membrane industry is on an upward trajectory. They are visible in sport  stadiums, airports, shopping malls, office  buildings, terraces. In the coming months  & years this visibility is only going to increase simply because not only are they  cost effective, functional and can span  large areas without intermediate supports  but also because of the sheer beauty and versatility of creating designs& shapes.  There is no getting away from the fact  you will see more and more of these in  time to come.


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