For our design philosophy for dust control fencing we believe every structure should meet 4 basic criteria.
- It should be durable in all weather conditions
- It should be effective
- It should be economical
- It should be functional
What do we mean by these?
Durability – Design Philosophy
- Design loads and systems. Most countries have some form of design code, but the codes do not directly refer to many of the structures we design. Our design techniques are based on systems developed by Mike Robinson and other research engineers in New Zealand in response to a rash of failures of windbreaks in the late 1970’s and 1980’s. The systems have been refined and fine-tuned over the years following each major storm or hurricane involving WeatherSolve structures. We have also been fortunate to be asked to investigate failures of other structures from time to time. The result has been the development of the graph below. It shows the relative strengths of all the components as well as the design load (the red line on 10) as set by the local codes. The clip strength is set to a little less than the code so that there is a minimal chance of the clips not releasing (more information overload release page) before the poles (the green line centered on 16) get overloaded. The fabric is much stronger than any of the other components, but note that it’s strength slowly deteriorates with time under UV. The end result is a tiered system where the items that can most easily be fixed are designed so they are more likely to fail than the expensive and difficult things such as poles and foundations. No matter how strong you make something, there is always the chance of a weather event that will exceed it. WeatherSolve systems are always ready for those (however remote) possibilities.
- When required, we are pleased to work with local engineers to ensure compliance for building permits etc. This usually takes the form of providing design loads for our fabrics (based on laboratory tests of the fabric to be used), and providing other design calculations for checking.
- Attention to detail to avoid fatigue failures from small repetitive loads. In our years of investigating failures, we have noticed that the vast majority of failures are due to lack of attention to the small details such as fabric connections. Our systems have been thoroughly tested in storms such as Hurricane Andrew and many after.
- Use of durable materials. Fabrics are not as durable as (say) concrete, however we take care to use only the best and most durable fabrics available. This means mono-filaments where possible and fully ultraviolet treated yarns. We make sure that the fabrics have a generous margin of safety for strength. Many of our steel components are galvanized. Marine-grade stainless steel is used in very corrosive situations.
Effective – Design Philosophy
A structure should do what it is designed to do. WeatherSolve is continually testing structures and fabrics to find the best arrangement for every situation.
We have a number of computer modeling programs set up to help optimize the design’s effectiveness at controlling dust, modifying the wind patterns, reducing the waves etc etc.
Tell us what you are trying to achieve and we will help you achieve it.
Economical – Design Philosophy
A key here is making a structure uniformly and appropriately strong. We ensure the end assemblies are the strongest, then the poles, then the cables then the fabric then the fabric attachment system. In this costs are controlled and the safety margins are maintained so that the components of most consequence are least likely to fail. In a domestic house for example, the cost of making it twice as strong would add about 10% to the total cost. In windbreaks this is not the case – the poles in particular are a large part of the cost so making them unnecessarily strong is expensive.
Another difference with house design is flexibility. Slight movements in a house are both sensed by the occupants and visible after the event in the form of cracks. With fabric and cable construction everything moves as they are both giant elastic components, so pole movement in the ground is perfectly acceptable too.
We ensure our designs are economical by individually designing every structure to suit.
Finally, the use of large cables and less poles also helps keep costs down as less connection points means less cost (up to the design limits of the components).
Functional – Design Philosophy
A structure needs to work in a manner that allows easy access around it, and that requires minimal maintenance.
WeatherSolve’s cable systems allow us to position poles and anchors out of the way. We also have systems that have no anchors for an absolutely minimum footprint. Equally, we have systems that create very little disruption during installation. All our systems are set up to require the minimum amount of maintenance.
If you have any questions on our designs, please ask. We believe in continual improvement, and your questions help that process!