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We offer complete fabric architecture solutions that provide sun shade and shelter from the rain and wind – Incorporating design, structural engineering, manufacture, installation and aftercare. ArcCan are leading UK specialists in the design and manufacture bespoke tensile fabric structures including Shade Sails, Commercial Awnings and Canopy Shade Structures.

Utilising architectural fabrics under tension, we have, in the last ten years, created an unrivalled range of lightweight but permanent all-weather Awnings, Shade Sails & shade structures for the home, schools, colleges, hotels, government authorities, retail and commercial enterprises.

We have designed many bespoke iconic shade structures, including huge cable-net and cantilever shade sails for commercial & military aircraft.


Solar radiant heat is the primary heat-stress problem in aircraft

All avionic equipment is affected at elevated temperatures, the greater the temperature the greater the possibility of degraded performance, and reduced service life.

Large areas of glass or Plexiglas produce a greenhouse effect causing thermal energy to be trapped in the cockpit.

The temperature in the cockpit of aircraft parked on airfield ramps may be 10-15 degrees Celsius higher than those parked in the shade.

When refuelling in high temperatures the tanks are unable to be filled to the correct level as the fuel will have expanded and as the plane reaches its operating altitude the levels will become lower, this affects flights where fuel levels are critical

Paint degrades, fades & peels sooner due to high levels of radiant heat and airframes may need to be repainted within 3 to 4 years instead of the usual 5 to 6

Natural rubber tends to become less elastic and more cracked after exposure to sunlight. It’s a matter of molecular bonding (specifically, cross-linking bonds). UV rays from the sun have the effect of increasing the cross-linking between polymer molecules within the rubber, increasing the density, making the rubber item more brittle and harder to bend or stretch.

Under the Thermal Work Limit legislation (TWL) ground staff should not be working in high temperature conditions, so are unable to service aircraft in the open during summer months in the middle of the day.

Traditionally, aircraft have been parked in air-conditioned hangars, but this option can be very expensive as the building materials, usually steel, actually absorb the heat energy and then radiate it inwards so the air-con equipment is working overtime to lower the temperature to a reasonable level.

Air-conditioning by means of the APU is an option but it involves high levels of noxious emissions and fuel gas odours (e.g. 550l/h of fuel are required for a 747-400) and cause a noise level of some 80 dB(A) at the airport apron while the efficiency is between 10 and 12%

Pre-conditioned air systems represent the alternative method by using ground based equipment, the electrically driven PCA system uses no fuel, the noise level is 70dB(A) and their efficiency is up to 50% but the cost is still high.

Semi-permanent arched structures clad in PVC/PES fabrics present one option. Relatively cheap and fast to erect the fabric supported on rolled steel trusses protects aircraft from direct sunlight but the PVC/PES skin allows a considerable amount of radiated heat to get through and if too enclosed, heat can build-up within, and the use of air-con becomes necessary.  When aircraft are parked inside a hangar, satellite-navigation and wireless signals are screened making it impossible to carry out checks.

But more importantly, parking aircraft in a hangar is not always a convenient solution especially where turn-around times are short. Furthermore, even very large hangars restrict the number of aircraft it can accommodate at any one time and the lack of manoeuvrability is a serious issue.

Put simply, the use of enclosed buildings such as hangars is a very expensive and inconvenient method of protecting aircraft that are parked for relatively short periods of time.

Utilitarian structures, like traditional hangars do not meet the high architectural expectations of modern airport designers, where competition to excel has become paramount.

An ArcCan structure is not subject to the same level of legislation as an enclosed hangar, there is no need for air-con and the operating costs are much lower.

An ArcCan shade structure can be built and installed at a lower cost than a traditional hangar but is built to very high standards so it withstands all types of weather conditions and represents excellent value for money.

Being an open structure, airflow is maintained and heat build-up is reduced. The use of special “Low-E” fabrics reduces radiated heat by up to 44% over the traditional shade fabrics in wide use throughout the Middle East.