The Discovery Channel’s popular television show, How It’s Made, descended on a local company’s manufacturing facility to capture the design process of tension fabric buildings.
ClearSpan Fabric Structures, with corporate offices in South Windsor, Conn., is the industry leader in design-build fabric structures and manufactures out of its Dyersville, Iowa distribution center. On May 8, a production crew spent 10 hours at the northeast Iowa plant to film the company’s engineers, design team, machinists and installation crews on what it takes to manufacture the company’s line of Hercules Truss Arch Buildings, a versatile solution for any application.
“We started out in the agricultural industry. That’s really where the company got started and that’s really where a lot of our buildings began, whether it was for hay storage, livestock storage or equipment storage,” commented Rob Blush, construction project manager at ClearSpan. “But we’ve really branched out to cover any [application] imaginable.” Sand and salt sheds, equine riding arenas, athletic facilities, recycling centers and warehouses are some of the more popular applications that have moved through the ClearSpan assembly line over the years.
With spacious interiors and no internal support posts, the buildings offer maximum usable space, are low in cost per square foot and environmentally friendly. They are made from triple-galvanized structural steel tubing for the truss arch rafters and 100% recyclable, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) fabric that’s UV resistant and designed with a special rip-stop weave. In contrast to a traditional metal or wood building, ClearSpan’s structures can be installed in a matter of weeks and are available with a variety of foundation options. The company manufactures its own Helical Anchors, requiring minimal excavation and foundation preparation. Other foundation solutions include paved pads, blocks, poured walls, concrete piers and shipping containers.
The design and engineering process takes into account municipal building codes and requirements, both domestically and abroad. Though they are considered to be temporary structures, they can be engineered to meet wind-, snow- and seismic-load capacities. ClearSpan has installed its structures in “hurricane zones” such as Florida and in heavy snowfall areas in Alaska. The company has buildings in all 50 U.S. states, Central America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia and the Pacific Islands.
What’s more, the manufacturing of each order is completed in ClearSpan’s 100’ wide by 780’ long and 160’W by 320’ long fabric buildings in Dyersville. Production officials, who are traveling America’s interstates filming new products every day, have indicated that the show endures a lead time of about one year. “It could take up to a year from production to the actual air date,” stated ClearSpan general manager Martina Bockenstedt. “I would say anything within the next year, our segment should be on.”
They came. They filmed. They left. After weeks of preparation and a day of production, ClearSpan’s segment on How It’s Made will last about four and a half minutes. Regardless, Blush was pleased with the entire construction team and is looking forward to seeing how his team’s work will be shown to the entire world.
“It’s a show I’ve always watched and my kids love watching it with me!” Blush exclaimed.