Tab Tensioning: No Tension, Just Stress



I had to wonder, is it just me? Is it the cold climate in central Maine?

So I asked around. Have you had this problem?

Turns out, yes — just about everyone else had the same problem?

Then I had to ask. So, why has the problem not been fixed and why do we still buy these products?

Let me backtrack a bit. Many of the installations that I see use regular manual screens. On occasion we will use a motorized screen. Less often, we will use motorized tab-tension screens. We will probably have about 12-15 of these on our campus. They all have one thing in common.

Guess what?

The manufacturer? No.

The size? No.

The type of material used? No.

What they all have in common is that they are all broken. On every single tab tension screen that we own, the tabs are popping off.  These screens range from 10 years old to less than a year old.

The point of these tabs is hold the screen taught. They are glued to the screen and wrapped around a wire along side the screen. Two big problems occur when the tabs start to pop. First, the tension is lost, or worse yet, the tension is not even across the screen, creating wrinkles. Second, this tab start to stick to random places on the screen. This causes sticky spots on the screen that then collect dirt and end up being eyesores.  Last month we had a screen that got sticky from loose tabs, and it stuck to itself as it rolled down. The screen became permanently creased and therefore ruined! This screen was only a few years old.

After a few calls to the manufacturer, I decided to check around and see if it was just the air around Maine. Turns out that is not the case. I heard back from about a dozen people around the country. In all but one case the answer was the same. Yup, this happens to us as well. The one person who said they had some success with these screens pointed out it was only on a couple of screens that were larger than 10’ diagonal.

So, again, I need to ask: If these screens are such a problem, then why has a manufacturer come up with a fix for it yet? More importantly, why are we all spending money on a feature that does not work and likely causes more problems than it fixes?

These are not rhetorical questions. Someone, anyone, please answer me.