W. L. Gore & Associates Helps Put an End to Lengthy Wimbledon Rain Delays

May 21, 2009

GORE(TM) TENARA(R) Architectural Fabric Featured in New Centre Court Roof

NEWARK, Del., May 21 /PRNewswire/ — This summer, W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc., the company best known for its waterproof and breathable outerwear fabric, will encourage people to take off their GORE-TEX(R) jackets at one of the world’s biggest sporting events –Wimbledon. The company announced this week that the new retractable roof over Centre Court is made of GORE(TM) TENARA(R) Architectural Fabric, a product that will lessen the impact of wet weather at the tennis tournament.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090521/PH21447 )

Gore’s fabric was chosen, in part, for its unparalleled ability to let light pass through while offering protection from the elements. Play will still feel like it is outdoors, even when the roof is closed.

On May 17 the roof debuted to a packed house at a special Centre Court celebration. During the event, spectators experienced a fully covered stadium still flooded with natural light. On the grass court, Andre Agassi, Steffi Graf, Tim Henman and Kim Clijsters showed that top tennis can be played in the new atmosphere.

“We’re extremely honored that our fabric is part of this structure,” Gore product specialist Thomas Kelmartin said. “Wimbledon is such a historic event, and this roof represents one of the biggest architectural changes ever to take place at the Centre Court venue. Our fabric will keep players and spectators dry during even the heaviest downpours, while preserving the traditional outdoor experience associated with the championships.”

As an outdoor tennis tournament, Wimbledon is sometimes affected by English summer rain, which has resulted in interruptions, delays and postponed matches throughout the event’s 132-year history. Such stoppages have caused headaches for players and fans, as well as the many television channels broadcasting the matches in more than 130 countries.

To address the problem, the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club decided to incorporate a sophisticated retractable roof over the Centre Court venue, which has played host to Wimbledon’s highest profile matches since 1922.

The roof, designed by the British architectural firm HOK and built by the British construction company Galliford Try, is composed of approximately 56,000 square feet of GORE(TM) TENARA(R) Architectural Fabric. Supported by 10 steel trusses, the structure spans 252 feet and is positioned 52 feet above the lawn. The covering can be deployed in just 10 minutes to provide prompt protection from wet weather.

Gore’s fabric features many properties that made it the ideal choice for the retractable structure. In addition to its superior light transmission, it is highly regarded for its flexibility and durability. Tests have confirmed that it can flex and fold repeatedly and remain undamaged. In fact, its ability to fold into a compact space contributed to a roof design that allowed the addition of 1,200 seats to Centre Court. Additionally, the fabric’s durable properties will prevent it from cracking or developing mold and mildew while stored.

The material is also aesthetically pleasing, earning it use in a number of eye-catching applications around the world. And because it allows 40 percent sunlight to pass through and reflects almost all of the rest, it has an extraordinary brilliance both inside and out, underscoring the world-class ranking of Centre Court.

About W. L. GORE & Associates, Inc.

GORE(TM) TENARA(R) Architectural Fabric is just one example of the high value innovations produced by Gore. The company is a leading manufacturer of thousands of advanced technology products for the electronics, fabrics, industrial and medical markets. Gore makes filters that destroy environmentally unfriendly compounds, implantable medical devices that treat life-threatening cardiovascular conditions, wire and cable assemblies that transmit data from outer space to earth, and numerous other market leading innovations.

The company is headquartered in Newark, Del., posts annual sales of more than $2.5 billion, and employs more than 8,500 associates in more than 45 locations throughout the world. Gore is one of only a select few companies to appear on all of the U.S. “100 Best Companies to Work For” lists since the rankings were introduced in 1984. Visit www.gore.com to learn more.

GORE(TM) TENARA(R) Architectural Fabric

Q&A with product specialist Thomas Kelmartin

Q. How much GORE(TM) TENARA(R) Architectural Fabric is used in the new roof over Wimbledon’s Centre Court?

A. 56,000 square feet. If you stretched out all of the yarn used in the structure, it would extend more than 12,000 miles, or halfway around the world.

Q. What makes this fabric an ideal choice for the Centre Court roof?

A. It is able to block out rain without blocking sunlight. Even when the roof is deployed, players and spectators will feel like they’re outdoors. An opaque fabric would have changed the look and feel of Wimbledon, but our fabric helps preserve the history and tradition of the tournament. It’s also extremely flexible, which allows it to fit in a compact storage space when not in use and deploy in just 10 minutes to prevent long rain delays.

Q. What other qualities make this a unique fabric?

A. It’s made of durable, high-strength fibers–known as expanded PTFE–that stand the test of time. Unlike many other fabrics, it is resistant to the damaging effects of ultraviolet rays, acid rain and saltwater. It’s also fire resistant. It can flex and fold numerous times without cracking or losing strength. Additionally, it is recyclable and can be reprocessed and used in other applications.

Q. Is this the same type of fabric used in GORE-TEX(R) outerwear?

A. No. Both are made by W. L. Gore & Associates and both are waterproof, but they are two different types of fabric with distinct properties tailored for their end use.

Q. Is the Centre Court roof the fabric’s largest application?

A. Yes, this project represents the single largest use of the fabric to date.

Q. How else is this fabric used?

A. It’s a very versatile product, used in entertainment complexes, historic buildings, tourist attractions, sculptures and numerous other applications around the world.

At a medieval castle in Austria, it is featured in retractable umbrellas that protect guests from wet weather without disrupting the aesthetic appeal. The fabric deploys so gracefully that the scene is set to music. At an award-winning children’s hospital in London, it is used in a canopy that covers a walkway between two buildings. Designed with the help of children, the canopy lets in sunlight to create a happy, upbeat environment. And in Germany, it is featured in an inflatable modern teahouse. These are just a few examples that highlight the fabric’s beauty, functionality and versatility. Visit tenarafabric.com to view a gallery of project images.



SOURCE W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc.

Source: newswire

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