Retired after 37 years' hard work Mehgies replaces Mehler

Elspe Grandstand Canopy

Project at a glance
Project: Elspe Grandstand Canopy
Material: VALMEX® FR MEHATOP® F Type V
Quantity: 2,600 sqm
Concept & Design: Koch Membranen GmbH
Completion: 2015
City: Elspe
Country: Germany
Contractor: Koch Membranen GmbH

Elspe Open Air Theater

A properly designed Tensile structure can achieve a lifespan of over 20 years. The sustainability of a building is highly dependent on the design, the quality of material used, the use of the building and the environmental conditions of the location.

Mehler Tensile Structure
A great example of longevity of Tensile Membrane is the Grand Stand Open-air Theatre in Elspe, Germany. The structure, due to permanent exposure to typical German climatic conditions and in particular, strong wind, ice and snow loads, are actually few of the most evident examples of the sustainable properties of Mehler materials which undergo intense internal testing throughout the entire production process and fulfil most of the commonly used quality test methods.

Since 1st July 1978, around 4,400 spectators of the famous Karl May festival have been protected from possible adverse conditions during the programmed shows by the most advanced and spectacular tensile roof. After the Olympic structure in Munich, the membrane roof in Elspe was one of the biggest, winter- proof covers in Europe. Four masts with a diameter of upto 1.50 m hold two 72 mm-thick steel cables with a length of more than 100 m. The 127 m-long fringe of the membrane is stabilized by a polygonal rope. The membrane is upto 77 m-long and 32 – 40 m wide. It is fixed to 9 knots of the steel cable system besides 8 points at the fringe to a 65 m-long concrete wall.

New Life with VALMEX® FR MEHATOP® F Type V

Mehler Texnologies (part of the Low & Bonar Group) developed an individual membrane as close as possible to the original material from 1978, bearing the same colour. For Mehler, the supply of the new fabric was an opportunity in two ways: on one hand, the dismounted fabric gave an excellent proof under real life conditions. Better than any artificial weathering tests, this makes clear that the fabric material lasts 37 years and more – even under heavy snow loads during winter time which are very common in the Sauerland region where the festival tent is located.

Valmex FR Mehatop

Continuous on-site tests over the past years had already shown that the fabric was not in danger of coming down. Tensile strength was still considerably high and the fabric would certainly have lasted even another dozen years. In the end, it was a decision for optical reasons: the festival company wanted to have a bright new color impression. It’s clear enough that they made a material decision on save grounds: of course, they wanted to use the same material that had shown an outstanding performance over the last 37 years.

Apart from having loads of testing material of a 37 year-old membrane, Mehler was able to provide the new material (VALMEX® FR MEHATOP® F Type V) which promises an even better performance. The company is sure to script a new success story.
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