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Tent Manufacturing

Authors:
  • Iqra University Karachi

Abstract

A number of functions are obtainable using tent including camping, event organization, defense and caravan travel support, and outdoor sitting etc. History has shown the use of tent almost in all parts of world. Primarily they were desired to provide shelter against the natural forces of sunlight, air, soiling, moisture, rain or heat wave etc. The requirements for using in socio-cultural events, family celebrations and parties were more focused for aesthetics. However, the technological advancement, over half a century, had turned the tent production a noted scientific profession. Today, modern tents are required to possess several functional properties to resist the various climatic changes and possible harms. These mainly include flame retardancy, water proofing, breathability, moisture permeability and its weight.
Pakistan Textile Journal Volume 55, Issue 1, January 2006, Pages 46-47
Tent manufacturing: Technological advances and
applications
Pakistan Textile Journal Volume 55, Issue 1, January 2006, Pages 46-47
Tent manufacturing: Technological advances and
applications
Dr. Faheem Uddin, Textile Chemistry Research Lab, HEJ, ICCS, University of Karachi,
University Road, Karachi.
We are well familiar with the role played by the textiles, clothing, and wears in relaxing the individual from
comfortable and beautiful bedroom to the presentations made in sophisticated office environment. There is
lot more potential in textile products in serving the diverse spheres and activities of human live, much is
recognised through the advancement achieved in technical textiles. Textiles are no longer the matter of
bedroom and fashion.
Tent is one of the textile- based products where functional attributes of substrate are significantly important
in meeting the varying conditions of climate and usage. People are familiar with the camping- type temporary
usage of tent, however an extra- ordinary application could be seen in natural or warfare disaster, when
sheltering has high importance.
History has shown the use of tent almost in all parts of world. Primarily they were desired to provide shelter
against the natural forces of sunlight, air, soiling, moisture, rain or heat wave, when used in camping,
caravan- temporarily settling, desert journey, military campaign etc. The requirements for using in socio-
cultural events, family celebrations and parties were more focused for aesthetics.
The technological advancement, over half a century, had turned the tent production a noted scientific
profession. The important components of a tent include sheets of fabric (or other material) attached to a
frame of poles. It is usually portable and may be attached to ground using ropes (guy lines) and stakes.
Modern tents are required to possess several functional properties to resist the various climatic changes and
possible harms. These mainly include flame retardancy, water proofing, breathability, moisture permeability
and its weight.
The inner of tent comprises roof, walls, and sewn-in ground sheet (in selected cases). The structural support
is provided by the poles, made of wood or metal or fibre glass, that may be flexible or rigid. The outer part is
a water proof sheet, called fly sheet or rain fly, attached on top of the inner fabric. This water proof sheet
may be of nylon or canvas and should be breathable. Fastening of tent to ground requires the use of stakes
(pegs) to anchor the bottom edge of flysheet and inner fabric to ground.
Fairly simple appearing structure of tent had taken thousands of years to adopt the modern requirements,
and a range of applications. From Arab world to American continent the production of tent had absorbed the
innovations of art and science over several generations. Arabic word for tent is “Khayma”. The street of
tentmakers in Cairo, Shari Khayyamia” is known for the craft of making huge tent pavilions, called suradeq
for hundreds of years. The tents for using in the travelling of King Abd al- Aziz were produced by the grand
father of Emam Hamid, a tent maker in Cairo.
There are companies, for example, like Panther primitives and Denver Tent Company claimed to be in tent
making since 19th century.
This is a dining fly. This is a basic dome tent.
Figure 1: Basic structures of dining fly and dome tents.
Pakistan Textile Journal Volume 55, Issue 1, January 2006, Pages 46-47
Courtesy: http://en.wikipedia.org
Table 1: Some tent manufacturers
S.No. NAME TYPES OF TENT
01 Black Diamond Ltd. Expedition tent and climbing gear
02 Coleman Company Recreational camping tents
03 Eureka, The tent company Recreational camping tents
04 Kelty Economical tent
05 The North Face Expedition Style tent
06 Sierra Designs High end Camping tent
07 Skyline Tent Company Wedding tent
08 RDDUSA Military tents and tarps, and field gear
09 Theatre tent UK Provider of hired big tops, mobile theatre
venues
Panther primitives made military tents for French and Indian War, Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and
American civil war. Some of the camping and expedition tent manufacturers are shown in Table 1.
These days, the concept of using tent to prevent sunlight is too narrow to realise the requirements. The
functional performance or the service rendered by the tent is mainly desired. However, this would vary
depending upon the type. In terms of the “shape and design” it is relatively easy to know the conventional
types. Simplest form of tent is dining fly made of a single rectangular sheet, with two opposite sides held in
middle by metal poles. It is intended for storing material (equipment, device etc) and not for sheltering
people (Figure 1). The various conventional types of tents are summarised in Table 2.
Symbolically, Arab history bears one of the oldest cultures of “living in tent”. The desert Journeys, for trade,
travel, etc, had been the visible part of Arabs. Every winter time, these days, thousands of Kuwaitis, Qataris,
and Saudis leave comfortable home for desert relaxation in vast temporary tent cities.
Custom-built tent is particularly an attractive option for the user to buy a tent that offers him high value.
There are companies who provide after-sale service including repair, tent cleaning, tent pole and frame
metal fabrication and a large selection of tent accessories. In varying and severe climatic conditions, this
service is particularly useful for places where tents are required to work for long duration (several weeks)
and in huge quantity.
Renting tent would be a factor in cutting down the basic fixed cost needed to have large number of tents,
and on temporary basis.
Pakistan Textile Journal Volume 55, Issue 1, January 2006, Pages 46-47
Table 2: Some conventional types of tents
S.No. TENT TYPE PURPOSE REMARKS
01 Dinning Fly Storing equipments, device Simplest, made of rectangular sheet
02 A-frame Camping Difficult to set-up, easy to take down
03 Cabin Permanent Camps Pitched for entire season. Very heavy
and not portable.
04 Dome Camping
More resistant to wind induced collapse
than cabin tent. Flexible poles running
from floor to peak and back down to
floor.
05 Tunnel Camping Offers more usable internal space for
same ground area relative to dome tent.
06 Hammock Camping in warm weather One person sleeping tents.
07 Rub Hall Emergency warehousing Large tent.
08 Party tent Wedding, fairs, gathering Expensive and usually rented. Erection
requires specialised equipment.
An understanding of the functional aspects of tent is really viable in selecting the most appropriate type of
tent. One such function is water proofing that means repellancy of water by the tent fabric. Rainfall may
produce a water entry pressure of around one pound per square inch (PSI). Over the period of hours or days
a heavy rain fall may generate a pressure tens of times
higher than 1 PSI. Many of the coated fabric may not
withstand such pressure resulting in the likely collapse of
tent. Waterproofing the fabric prevent any retention of
water by the tent fabric, however, it is vitally important to
know the durability of this proofing against the real
climatic conditions.
It should be tested, preferably using the possible climatic
conditions of camp area, with the help of the appropriate
standard methods. There are several tests available for
evaluating the water proofing of fabrics against the rain
storm including Bundessmann, and WIRA shower tests.
Making the water proofing using coatings, would require
knowing the resistance of coating against the flexural
deterioration. The PTFE laminates out perform polyurethane in flex and wear test where polyurethane
loses more than 50% of its waterproofing.
Refurbishment, i.e. re- introducing the functional properties, of tent is also possible. One way is the
application of coating like Mystox TRP (a thixotropic emulsion)- Catomance Technologies, however, this is
particularly designed for military tents, and UK military forces are using it. Its coating can be applied to tent
using roller or brush. This coating will regenerate water resistance, flame retardancy, rot resistance, and
infra- red reflectance properties in tent.
Another important property of tent fabric is breathability – the ability to allow the movement (in and out) of air
and gases through the porous fabric structure. It should also permit the moisture vapour inside the tent to
pass out rather than to condensate on the walls. A human body in a tent gives off water vapours (it may be
¼ cup of water in an hour in some cases), however boiling water for cooking/ tea produces more vapours.
Ventilation alone is not enough to prevent condensation. There are tent types that may provide adjustable
control on the air movement in tent, enabling the tent to serve well in varying climatic conditions. One such
example is the tent described in US patent 6,216,715 (inventor- Howe, Robert H). This contains an inner
canopy having a window and a flysheet (outer canopy) spaced above. The fly sheet also has a window
aligned to the inner canopy’s window. Its overall structure can be adjusted to warm, cool, cold and
precipitation conditions. It is relatively a multi- seasoned tent.
How serious is the breathability of tent! This may be imagined by a legal case filed in USA. A man with his
son was out for camping, and used charcoal barbeque inside their tent for warming. The next morning, son
Pakistan Textile Journal Volume 55, Issue 1, January 2006, Pages 46-47
woke up and found his father dead. Investigations using air flow test showed that the replacement model
fabric was more breathable compared to the tent fabric in question. Monitoring tests on assessing the
Carbon Monoxide (CO) levels generated by the smouldering barbeque were conducted separately in two
models of tents. The questioned tent fabric showed 1000 ppm of CO in 10 minutes and maintained this level
for an hour, i.e. 6000 ppm of CO per hour. However replacement fabric showed the figure of not more than
400 ppm of CO per hour. Toxicology literature indicated that 1000 ppm of CO for an hour was lethal to some
people.
Although jury trial turned down the assertion of making the tent manufacturer liable for death. It is clear that
smouldering charcoal could be lethal when used in tent; however the breathability of tent fabric may turn the
situation more dangerous. This is particularly important to care for when a tent is used in cold season.
Moreover, the simplest way of selecting the tent on the basis of size (i.e. number of persons to be
accommodated) is not fully appropriate to meet protective requirements.
This article is dedicated to the volunteer’s efforts aimed to assist the affected of earth quake, October 2005, in South Asia.
About the author
M.Sc in Textile and polymer technology, University of Karachi, 1992 and Ph. D
(Finishing and printing), University of Manchester, UK, 1997. Over all academic
performance bears First Class/ division results in undergraduate and post graduate
programmes. He is the fellow of the textile institute, UK, and has contributed over 20
research papers in high quality international journals and magazines, many of them
received the attention and interest of professional and commercial organisations. His
present work and research interests are in textile special finishing, printing, testing
and nanofinishing. He is currently associated with the School of Science and
Technology, University of Science and Technology, Lahore. Emails.
faheem@umt.edu.pk , dfudfuca@yahoo.ca
Article
Full-text available
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