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Shade sail design: How to get it right

November 5th, 2020 / By: / Expo News

During ATA Virtual Expo 2020’s educational presentation “Shade Sail Design: How to Get It Right,” Timothy Akes, a software expert for MPanel Software Solutions, told participants that design is by far the most important, misunderstood and underestimated aspect of delivering a great and long-lasting shade sail project. “The shade sail shape and how you design it is far more important than colors or other considerations,” says Akes.

Akes, along with Alan Stewart, vice president of MPanel Software Solutions, walked participants through the technical aspects of why carefully designed shade sails will prevent wind, rain, snow and other forces from deforming the sails, which creates sagging, movement, stretching and shorter lifespans.

The presentation was a detailed, hands-on comparison of traditional methods of site measurement and shade sail fabrication versus creating shade sails with the latest technology, which uses many more measurements to ensure a more successful, long-lived project without wrinkles, stretching or damaging tension.

The session included the fundamentals of design and patterning using MPanel software. Akes says that new non-CAD technologies are now available for anyone to interactively create multiple design options in 3D. This includes performing shade analysis and sun studies which automatically generate the flat 2D panels required to correctly manufacture a unique shade sail. He says the new technology is much easier to use for people without any CAD expertise.

“Properly designed and patterned shade sails will last longer, look better and produce happy customers,” says Akes.  “Low cost software now allows all fabricators to design and pattern shade sails and other 3D forms and produce reliable and reproducible results without trial and error or failed attempts.”

Registration for ATA Virtual Expo 2020 is open through Nov. 12. All Expo sessions will be posted on the Virtual Expo platform for viewing during Expo and for 30 days after Expo has concluded.