Making inflatable products is a complicated process. To be profitable, companies need efficient construction methods. Airtight and watertight seams are needed for product durability and longevity.
The inflatable industry is a growing market, but the curved nature and large size of these products often make production labor-intensive and difficult.
Important considerations for inflatables
Inflatable products include white-water rafts, military attack boats, airplane escape chutes and inflatable bounce houses and tents.
With three-dimensional products that need to withstand high impact and high abrasion, it’s important to consider fabric choice and seam strength. The three main fabrics used for inflatables are drop stitch (sometimes called double wall), thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) and heavy-coated PVC.
To make inflatables with these materials, hot air welding produces seams with optimum strength. It also often means labor savings and more consistent product.
Hot air welding
Hot air welding is a significant improvement over glue, both in terms of product durability and efficient manufacturing. Glue can reactivate in certain environments, while hot air welding has proven effective and has been tested for more than 20 years. Hot air welding also offers significant reduction in production time over glue.
Think of a hot air welder as a sewing machine that uses hot air to meld fabrics rather than thread. Various seams are possible using a hot air welder – overlapped, overlap with cover strips (or two cover strips) and butt seams.
Hot air welding machines
We developed the Miller Weldmaster T300 Extreme Curve and T600 Extreme Curve just for inflatable manufacturers. We provide installation and training with purchase, and most of our customers are making products within the first day and a half of owning the welder.
If you’re interested in a hot air welder, we’re ready to talk to you. Send us a sample, and we’ll test your fabric on our machine, or come in for a demonstration. Call us at 330.915.3311 or fill out our Contact Us form.
See the Miller Weldmaster T300 Curve and T600 Curve at two upcoming trade shows: TechTextil in Frankfurt, Germany, May 14 – 17 and IFAI Expo in Orlando, Fla., Oct. 1 – 4.