Inflatable Fabrics: Getting the Most For Your Inflatable Dollar
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. Through the information presented in this article, you will find the details you need to help you get the most for your inflatable dollar.
A major factor in choosing a cold-air inflatable is the lifespan. Will the inflatable tear apart, will it fade in the sun, will it last indefinitely? The answers to these questions rely primarily on the fabric chosen for the inflatable.
When making a decision about your next cold-air inflatable, consider the following questions:
What is the denier of the fabric? Denier is an industry term that relates to the unit of weight, indicating the size of the fiber. The higher the denier, the heavier the yarn, and the stronger the fabric.
Is the material strong? Material strength is determined by looking at a combination of elements including the denier, the base fibers, and the weave. The tighter the weave is, the more durable the fabric will be.
Will my inflatable fade? If the fabric is not treated, it is very likely that your inflatable will suffer fading. The inflatable fabric used by Landmark Creations contains a UV coating to prevent color fading under normal conditions.
Will my inflatable 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 balloon. Landmark’s inflatables are backed with a two-year warranty, however, many of our customers report using their inflatables effectively five years or more.
Six of the most commonly used cold-air inflatable fabrics are:
|Rip stop – Rip stop fabric is a 70-denier nylon, usually 1.9 ounce, urethane coated. It is used for very lightweight inflatables and internal construction pieces such as the internal baffles that control and maintain the shape of the inflatable.|
|Oxford – This inflatable fabric is a 200/210-denier nylon oxford cloth, usually 3.5 ounce, urethane coated. It is used primarily for internal construction pieces such as the baffles mentioned above, but is not well suited for inflatables.|
|Pack cloth – A 410/420-denier nylon pack cloth that is 7-8 ounce, urethane coated. It is more durable than oxford and is heavier. If you are concerned about weight, oxford is most likely the best choice for you. If you are interested in an inflatable constructed from heavier materials, pack cloth will be the better material to use.|
|Vinyl-Coated Nylon (7.5 oz) - This PVC coated nylon is normally 7.5 ounce. It is used as the exterior material (what you actually see) for most cold-air, advertising inflatables. It’s lightweight, strong, available in custom colors, and accepts graphics easily. This fabric is well suited for cold air inflatables.|
|Vinyl-Coated Nylon (9-12 oz) - A PVC coated nylon, usually 10 ounce. This fabric is of medium weight and used on areas requiring additional strength such as the base of a small, indoor inflatable, or the primary fabric of recreational or interactive inflatables such as bouncers and slides.|
|Vinyl-Coated Polyester (18-22 oz) – This heavyweight fabric is made from PVC coated polyester, and is usually 18 ounce. Primarily, this fabric is used as a base material, covering areas where inflatables touch the ground. It is also used heavily in interactive inflatables like bouncers and slides.|
"What is the difference with the material your company uses and some other that I have looked at? I have a few quotes for 12 oz. PVC and 18 oz. PVC."
The quotes you're receiving that include 12 oz. and 18 oz. vinyl-coated nylon are somewhat misleading. Landmark Creations also uses 18 oz. materials in all of our inflatables on the bottom where the balloon comes in contact with the ground. The use of 12 oz. vinyl-coated nylon is not recommended for overall use of advertising balloons for a few reasons:
1. Extreme Weight. If our inflatables were made completely out of that weight of materials they would be between 250 lbs – 500 lbs. The weight would be about half that much if done in an appropriate fabric.
2. Stability & Inflation Problems. An inflatable made solely from those grades of materials may be too heavy for the blower to support. If you have windy conditions, there could be some significant stability problems also.
3. Fine Detail Difficulty. Lighter fabrics conform better to complex shapes when creating intricate detail work like fingers and ears. This results in a more accurate representation of your product or character.
Heavier Fabric Does Not Equal Quality
Landmark has been designing and manufacturing inflatables of all shapes and sizes since 1986. We assure you, 8.5 oz. vinyl-coated nylon is generally the best fabric for custom advertising inflatables, without question. There are, however, special cases when heavier fabrics are a better choice. We have experience using a variety of materials and focus on learning as much about our customers' projects up front, so we can select the perfect fabric for each job.
Knowing all you can about your inflatable will help you get the most benefit and use from it for years to come.