If you’ve worked in the event rental industry – specifically the tent side of things – for more than a few weeks, you’ve likely had at least one nightmare roof panel that brought you to your knees. Whether you spent hours struggling with lace lines, trying to disengage damaged side-release buckles or simply cursing Mother Nature for an inconvenient wind, a contrary tent top wastes valuable time for you and your team.
Enter Keder. Or as I like to think of it, the best thing since the invention of bacon. Mmmmmm…. Bacon.
Where was I? Oh, yes. Keder.
Technically speaking, keder is a bead which is attached to the edge of a fabric panel that allows that panel of fabric to engage in a corresponding “track” in a frame. In the tent industry, you can find Keder in everything from small 10’ wide marquee frames to the largest metric structures in the world.
Without keder, joining top panels is labor-intensive and cumbersome. If you have multiple roof panels, you have to decide whether you need to join all of those pieces together while the fabric is on the ground or wait until the tops are on the frame. And no matter the design of the top, it was always a manual process. Whether lacing adjacent sections with corresponding loops and grommets or methodically connecting mechanical fasteners such as metal clips or plastic side release buckles, it took time. Time your team could have spent on another job, generating more revenue for your business.
Once the tops are joined, the fun really begins. Installing non-kedered tops involves extra time on a ladder, which adds to safety concerns. It also requires more manpower to drag the tops over the frames in whole or in unmanageable parts, creating premature wear that shortens top life and makes your install team’s life much less sunny. Non-kedered tops are tough to manage in inclement weather like rain or wind and limit the ability to work over and around obstacles commonly found on tent sites like trees, fences, and light posts, and walls.
Kedered tops are simply better technology. A kedered top panel gives you a product that – under the same conditions – will last infinitely longer than a conventional top. It also gives you a wide variety of installation options that help install a tent over and around just about anything imaginable, often without the need for a ladder. The top panels provide attachment points for pull ropes. These ropes stretch up and over the frame and are pulled from the opposite side of the roof framework, sliding the keder through the corresponding tracks in the frame rafters. The tops are under control by the installation team throughout the entire process and slide freely up and over the frame. All that’s left is to attach the top along the perimeter. The keder’s engagement in the framework seals out the elements, making for a supremely tight fit. Tops are also easily tensioned, which gives a professional finished look that’s much more likely to resist the elements and shed water properly.
Another keder benefit is when it’s used in sidewalls. Like tops, sidewalls can be built with keder on up to 3 sides, to create walls that can be engaged in the legs, just like the tops are engaged in the rafters. Those walls are suspended by a variety of keder devices along the top that allow the walls to be easily opened and closed.
Keder tops and sidewalls add benefits that can help your business, your team and your bottom line. If you’re on the fence about adding keder frames and tops to your inventory, do some research and ask lots of questions. Thanks to social media and the Internet, there’s lots of resources to get fast, honest feedback to help you determine if keder is the right choice for your business.