Many times, people associate Transhield’s 3-10 mil. protective boat and industrial covers with standard shrink wrap. This of course is understandable since Transhield and shrink wrap are normally white, have a form-fitted look when applied, and are probably zooming down the highway on the back of a flatbed when you see them.
However, it’s often a surprise to customers that one of the many differences between Transhield and shrink wrap products is that Transhield is reusable!
So, the question naturally arises — what makes Transhield covers reusable? We’ve selected some of the top characteristics of our 3-10 mil. material that makes Transhield covers reusable.
- Thickness of the Material
Without getting into too much detail, typically, shrink wrap is made up of a single layer of polymer plastic film. Which, depending on the thickness (normally between 6-12 mil. thick), is very malleable, lightweight, and easy to handle. A setback of this single layer is that shrink wrap against a painted surface may act similar to sandpaper, especially during highway transport where high winds cause continuous abrasion on the surface.
Transhield, on the other hand, is a laminated material composed of three separate layers. A polyethylene layer on the outside (like shrink wrap), a hot-melt adhesive in the middle, and a soft non-woven on the inner, underside layer. These three layers combined give the Transhield Shrinkable Fabric® structure and durable toughness versus shrink wrap – making it less likely to rip after heat shrinking. And the nonwoven inner layer provides a soft surface against valuable painted surfaces.
The typical range of thickness is between 18-32 mil., with the outer polyethylene film alone ranging from 3-11 mil. thick. The strength of the material is proven in lab-tested specs – with a tensile strength range of 35-50 load bearing (lbs./in) for the 3-10 mil. fabrics. The strength makes for a rugged protective cover that’s still light weight and easy to handle. See our full list of 3-10 mil. material specs here.
- Sewn & Welded Together – Not Pieced Together
Shrink wrap, when used to cover boats, machinery, etc. is done so by draping the material over the surface of the equipment from a roll of material until the asset is fully covered. After cutting off excess pieces and tying off/taping the shrink wrap into place, a heat tool is used to shrink the material down for a sealed aerodynamic fit.
The nature of shrink wrap applications relies heavily on the skill set of the employees. This can cause a variance in the quality of the shrink wrap job, depending on the person and time of day. The first shrink-wrapped unit of the day may not be same as the last shrink-wrapped unit of the day — even if the same person packaged the product. Along with this, shrink wrap is nearly impossible to reuse.
Transhield’s boat and industrial covers are just that – single unit covers. Transhield covers start out as a rolled product like shrink wrap but are then cut and sewn together into a final cover product. This means there isn’t any patching and piecing together required, just one single cover to apply.
Since the covers are sewn or welded together, and not draped from a roll of material, they remain intact and can be removed after road transportation or after time in storage and reapplied when necessary.
One of the last reasons Transhield covers are reusable is because they’re custom made to fit the shape of the boat or piece of equipment they will be covering.
This customization process begins by digitizing the equipment into a 3D model through 3D scanning, or by measuring and then hand-tailoring the dimensions of the asset. From there, a 2D flat drawing with exact measurements is created, fabric is cut and then sewn or welded into a custom-fit protective cover that can be installed on the asset.
The covers combine the durability of a tarp with the tight fit of shrink wrap – only with a soft interior and a customized fit. After the cover goes on the equipment it can be tied down using the sewn-in perimeter ropes or ratchets and strapping (optional) and can then be shrunk down with a heat shrink tool for a sealed fit. If desired, fully protective 6-sided covers can be designed as well.
How Long Can Transhield Boat and Industrial Covers be Reused?
Some of our aftermarket boat cover customers have reported their Transhield boat covers lasting them over five years! However, a typical life cycle for one of our 3-10 mil. covers is between two to three years.
Whether or not the cover is heat shrunk has a lot to do with the expected life; covers that are not heat shrunk tend to have a higher risk of tearing, especially if rainwater or snow adds weight to the cover. Shrinking the covers helps shed water and snow away and strengthens the applied fabric. After shrinking, if you’re careful when removing the cover, you’ll be able to re-fit and re-use the cover. We always recommend re-shrinking the cover for a better fit.
Transhield protective covers are reusable because they are:
- Made from a 3-layer patented fabric called Shrinkable Fabric that’s durable and strong
- Soft on the interior which prevents scratching and abrasion against painted surfaces
- Custom-designed to fit the specific shape of boat, machine, or equipment they’ll be covering
- Cut and then sewn, or welded, into a single cover with no piecing together required at the time of application