Issue: Feb 2005


Supplier Technology - Tenmark



Protecting the Finished Product

by Bo Svensson

Shrinkable cover guards vehicles during transit.

The Tenmark Cover Protection is a unique shrink assembly method with an exclusive laminate composite that offers protection of vehicles during transport.

“The technique is as smart as it is simple,” says Pontus Lindbom, development manager at the Swedish company Tenmark. “The outside layer in plastic is fixed on a technical textile. A cover is custom made to fit the car. The cover is applied on the car and in a few minutes, the cover is then shrunk around the car to a perfect fit for complete protection. The textile cover protects the car against dirt, dust and sunlight, among other things, until the cover is removed. We have spent considerable efforts in making the cover recyclable, so it can be disposed without harming the environment.”









 
A Tenmark custom cover is shrunk to a tight fit in about two minutes using IR lamps (above). The finished product hugs a brand new BMW 6 Series coupe (below).  
 
Tenmark produces its own lamination material and has more than 20 years’ experience developing and producing such material.

The covers are CAD designed by Tenmark and sewn in its own factories. The laboratory in Gothenburg, Sweden, focuses on new cover designs, new material compositions and finding new production methods. The laminate consists of a non-woven polyester and a polyethylene film. The zippers are made in polyester and nylon.

According to Tenmark, the cover is highly weather resistant, accepting temperatures 158/- 22 degrees F and sunshine, UV Florida, for 12 months. The cover fits tightly on the car, offering full protection to bird droppings, rail dust, stone-damage, acid rain, scratch and chemicals. The cover meets ISO 4892-2 and is fully salt protected, which is of interest in countries where salt is used on roads during winter.

Initially hot air was used to shrink the covers onto the cars, but recently Tenmark has introduced an IR-shrink robot. The shrink robot system is module based and can easily be adapted to existing production lines without causing disturbances. Depending on size of the car, shrinking Tenmark’s protective cover takes about two minutes using IR lamps. Shrinking covers on different car models on the same line can be accomplished thanks to built-in distance sensors and by bar-code readers that provide instant configuration of the shrink-program software.

During the shrinking process the car surface is exposed to maximum 140 degrees F. The Control System is supported by Internet, GSM, GPRS and PSTN modem.

For a low-volume production, it is recommended that the car is kept stationary, with the shrink-robot traveling along the vehicle. For a high-volume production, the shrink-robot should be stationary with the cars traveling through the robot on a conveyor. The space required is dependent on production volume. For a low-volume scenario, a 16 x 32 ft. floor space is recommended and for a high-volume production a 16 x 16 floor space, excluding the space required for loading and unloading the conveyor and the area required for dressing the car.

“The savings with the Tenmark concept are significant, with savings within production, logistics, as well as cutting delivery time to consumer,” says B?ttcher, market director of Tenmark. “The idea is that the newly produced car, in a designed cover, shall not be exposed to any damage. The car will reach the customer in the same condition as when it left the factory, without transportation damages and additional expensive wash and polishing costs. As the car is fully protected from the plant to the dealer, the system offers car manufacturers total flexibility for storage and transportation.”

Another advantage, says B?ttcher, is that a car can be driven during transportation and storage since the driver seat, hood, fueling, as well as other important functions, are still accessible by use of zippers.

Volume manufacturers like BMW, Audi and VW are currently using Tenmark protective customers. VW uses the covers for overseas transports of all its cars, Tenmark reports. Smaller volume manufactures such as Rolls Royce, have also used the covers.

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