External roller blinds serve two basic functions. Primarily, they provide a high degree of protection against solar heat and glare, reducing the need for an air conditioning plant in the summer, and during the winter months they provide a degree of protection by retaining heat within the building. Savings in energy can be substantial, offering an attractive proposition in this ecologically aware age.
The other main function is that of aesthetics: on new buildings the blinds can be incorporated into the design at an early stage to give the architect or designer an exciting new medium with which to work. Use of external roller blinds on existing buildings can provide a highly functional, cost-effective and exciting new lease of life to even the most plain design.
Types and operation
- Rollscreen - standard, vertical hanging with either perlon cable or extruded aluminium guiding.
- Markisolette - offers all the exciting design possibilities of the rollscreen system with the added feature of a small fully retractable drop-arm blind. Aluminium guiding only.
- Façade - special guides allow the blind to be bent to follow the profile of the building or to provide a feature. Idling rollers on each bend allow the fabric to follow the guides.
- Tension Systems - where blinds are required to run horizontally, upwards, or where the slope angle is too low to allow the gravity systems to work. Single or tandem motors and tension cables or tapes are used to drive the bottom rail. Aluminium guides can be bent or even curved to follow pitched or vaulted roofs. Idling rollers spaced around the curve allow the fabric to follow the curve in facets.
- Manual operation - drive is from a gearbox connected to the roller through the building to an operating rod.
- Electric - with tubular motor within the roller either with simple switch, group control, solar control or infra-red
- Mesh material - generally of woven fibreglass/PVC construction in a wide range of colours, giving a high degree of solar protection and privacy whilst affording excellent outward vision.
- Acrylic - available in a wide range of colours. Particularly suited to tensioned blind systems.
- Darkening - opaque fabrics for room darkening.
- All fabrics are resistant to rot, ultraviolet degradation, are colour fast and, in many cases, flame retardant.
- Side guides rail - on rollscreen may be simple perlon cables or extruded aluminium “C” section. For other systems, special extruded aluminium guides are used. Aluminium guides usually incorporate neoprene anti-rattle strips.
- Roller - motorised or gear operated. In the case of tensioned systems, the use of a secondary motorised roller and/or integral tensioning spring is essential.
- Bottom/front rail - aluminium extrusion with end fittings to locate into side-guides. With the exception of tensioned systems, the rail is weighted and allowed to move freely in the guides to prevent wind damage to fabric.
- Top board or Headbox - aluminium in a variety of configurations to suit requirements. Roller may also be recessed into soffit if required.
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