Hybrid designed to be elegant and simple
Tent classes in session
Anchor University is a biennial, two-day event hosted at Anchor Industries in Evansville, Ind. Tent rental companies from all around the world attend installation demonstrations and classes on various topics, including engineering, staking, repair and maintenance, ballasting, shipping and social media. In addition, attendees have a chance to tour the manufacturing facility as well
as the company store.
Calling it “The Game Changer,” the F3 keder track frame tent system from Anchor Industries, Evansville, Ind., is both familiar and new to current Anchor customers, says John Fuchs, general manager of Special Events at Anchor Industries.
“It’s somewhat of a hybrid frame. It has the round tubing of our Fiesta®, but the track system of our Navi-Trac®. The round tubing with the slide track is easier to store than a traditional kedered frame that has a keder track on top of a round tube,” Fuchs says.
“Two of our main goals for coming out with this new frame tent system were to improve on features and benefits of both the Fiesta and Navi-Tracs and solve some of the problems companies have with current frame systems.”
The new product has been in development for 16 months, starting in mid-2012, but the initial concept came up a few years ago.
The idea took hold during a company retreat. Following the recession, Anchor began holding retreats once a year at different destinations to brainstorm ideas and processes for the company.
“A small group of us lock ourselves up and develop an agenda for the year,” says Fuchs. “Usually, it’s four or five of us in the room, and we develop a wish list of priorities. There are certain things that we have to have, and in 2012, that was the start of F3,” he says.
“We knew we had to have a certain square-foot price with the F3. The Navi-Trac is a higher square-foot price, and the market needed something in a tracked frame system that can be used in a wide variety of event markets as well as the corporate and custom event market segments,” he says.
The biggest challenge, he says, was getting all those requirements into one system. “We wanted this to be very easy to install because of the labor issues our customers typically deal with,” Fuchs says.
The tent has no pins, braces or cables in its construction, making it more elegant, Fuchs says. Instead, the frames have a unique, one of a kind push-stop button connection with metal loops on the joint pieces that snap into slots in the frame piece. As a result, the frame piece is almost flush with the joists at the top and base of the tent.
“A big challenge was getting that clean, simple line,” Fuchs says.
Currently, the F3 tent comes in 20- and 30-ft. lengths with 10- and 15-ft. mid-sections. “We also designed it to use the keder-style Navi-Trac sidewalls, and we knew we had to have a wall rope for standard side walls,” Fuchs adds. A gabled end for the tent is scheduled for production in 2014.
Another major challenge was creating a tent that could have an engineered wind rating.
Anchor is part of a group of industry representatives, including Bryant’s Rent-All in Lexington, Ky., who met with Kentucky building code officials and legislators to adjust laws affecting tent installation in that state. As a result, engineering and strength were top priorities, Fuchs says.
“We knew we wanted to get to a point where we could get a wind rating on this frame tent system. This tent can handle 50-plus mph,” he says. Anchor has hired an outside engineering firm to confirm that.
The tent was first introduced to the industry at the annual Mid-Atlantic Tent Renters Association (MATRA) conference in early November 2013, with a kabuki-sheet-drop unveiling. In mid-November, 280 tent industry employees, managers and owners saw installation of the F3 first-hand at Anchor University, a biennial event held at the company’s manufacturing site.
The tent system garnered a lot of interest at Anchor University, Fuchs says, adding that installation demos were well-attended.
“The Fiesta came out 45 years ago and it’s still a popular frame,” he says. “We feel like the F3 could — and we hope it will — innovate and change the industry in the same way.”
F3 frame tent eliminates pins
The F3 series frame tent from Anchor Industries features an interlocking all-aluminum frame with no pins, “X” cables or braces. The fluted, round frame members have three keder tracks and come equipped with slide-in locking mechanisms that are designed to eliminate the need for pins. The system is engineered for 50-plus mph winds and comes in 20- and 30-ft. widths.
Anchor Industries, Evansville, Ind., was founded in 1892 as a riverboat supply company on the Ohio River. The former Anchor Supply Co. was a purveyor of oil, groceries, paint and supplies. Upon demand for waterproof covers, company founder Louis A. Daus added canvas goods to the inventory. The company has expanded four times since moving to its current location, buying the adjacent Burch Plow Works building, and also constructing a permanent canvas structure.
Currently, the company has more than 350,000 sq. ft. of production capacity, and about 300 employees. Many employees boast a number of years at the company, with several hovering around the 25-year mark.
In addition to pole, tension and frame tents, and clearspan structures, the company also manufactures shade structures, outdoor amusement products, awnings, safety pool covers, fire shelters, agricultural buildings, tent and fabric products for the military, as well as camp tents for Yosemite National Park and the Girl Scouts. Anchor also manufactures tent liners and has an
in-house custom graphics department. RM