Alitex in adverse weather

Thundery Scotney

Our customer in Germany has owned his Alitex for over 20 years. This year, following a horrendous storm, the greenhouse showed its true strength. A nearby tree was damaged by the storm and in its path stood the greenhouse which caught the tree's fall. Whilst most structures would collapse under the tree's weight, the Alitex greenhouse remained standing with only minor damage to the glass and smaller components.

Although greenhouses are not designed to catch a falling tree, this incident proves the robustness and engineering behind an Alitex. Whilst other products may have collapsed, ours suffered only minor cosmetic damage which will only need simple repairs before the greenhouse is back to its original state.

Before building a greenhouse there are many factors we take into account. We design all of our structures specific to the location to ensure they suit local weather conditions, focussing on wind and snow loads. When required, the glasshouse will also be built to comply with local standards and building regulations.

Whilst local conditions are important, we also have a full understanding of the properties and strength of our aluminium extrusions which enables optimum use in the greenhouse structurally. We only use structural grades of aluminium in our greenhouse. Aluminium has a high strength to weight ratio (light but strong), easy machining and excellent corrosion resistance.

To optimise the structure during the design process, the Alitex design team analyse the greenhouse framework using Finite Element Analysis. This analysis predicts how the structure will react to real world forces and ensures our structures will withstand certain conditions. We've also learnt that regardless of size, the use of portal frames provides structural integrity to the greenhouse. We have also incorporated structural cast brackets (spandrels), that have been physically tested to prove their capabilities, which bind framework together. Overall our glasshouses are designed, analysed and tested to endure their local environment, as proven with recent events in Germany.

Tags: structure, aluminium, greenhouse, germany, weather