Pump-up The Fun! Inflatables and Water Play Equipment to Suit Every Commercial Pool

By Rebecca Brennan
Tuesday, 05 March, 2013

Pump-up The Fun! Inflatables and Water Play Equipment to Suit Every Commercial Pool

Aflex Technology NZ Ltd specialise in the design and manufacture of both sealed and constant airflow inflatables for commercial aquatic facilities and open water. Pool + Spa spoke with Ian Radcliffe, Operations Director at Aflex Technology about the endless possibilities of pool inflatables.

PSR: What should commercial pool operators consider when selecting aquatic play?inflatables?

Aflex: The first area of consideration is the pools depth, all inflatables require a full risk assessment prior to purchase, we can provide the tools to assist with making the right choice of inflatable for each individual environment. All pools and communities are different so a one-size fits all approach does not work. At Aflex we work with our clients to provide inflatable solutions that are compliant with Australian Standards (AS 3533.4.5).

Most inflatables that we manufacture are unique as each facility has differing requirements for example, target age group of the users, where the inflatable is being used (from the shallow to deep end, deep to shallow, middle of the pool), where and how it is being anchored/fixed, lifeguard availability, indoor or outdoor use (wind loading), etc. There are many factors that need to be considered before making the right choice of inflatables, we guide our clients through the process to offer a fully compliant product with 100% peace of mind.

PSR: In a commercial application such as an aquatic centre, what sort of?aquatic play equipment would you suggest and why?

Aflex: There are two types of inflatables available to aquatic facilities. Firstly, constant airflow, these are structures that range from 3m - 25m+ and work by attaching a blower to an air inlet tube that keep the product inflated while it is in use. These types of products are sometimes called 'aqua runs' and work on the same principle as bouncy castles. These products work really well in aquatic environments because they attract children like bees to honey! They are intended to be supervised products, where children (and adults) form orderly queue's to wait their turn to complete the course. The difficulty levels vary depending on age groups, pool depths and obstacles on the inflatable. The airflow inflatable is the most popular product commercially.

The second is the sealed product. These are one off pieces or modules that can be attached together to create aqua runs. These work using a pump and valve system. You would blow up the product using the pump, once fully inflated you close the valve and the product stays inflated. The advantages of these products are that:

  • They tend to be easier to manoeuvre,
  • There may be one to several pieces in the pool at any time,
  • You can have lower water depths (within reason),
  • If you use a series of modules you can create a different look aqua run every time

The main benefit to this type of the system is that you can purchase one piece initially and then add additional pieces in the future, as your budget allows. Either way, children love them!

PSR: How user-friendly are the inflatables?

Aflex: Aflex supply an operations manual that covers everything from inflating to repairing. Inflatables tend to be tied off from the pool edges using rope and a bungee so that the product is secure but with enough flexibility to move so that it does not place too much stress on the anchors on the product. Repairs are relatively easy, you can glue on a patch of fabric that is supplied with the inflatable, alternatively, any good canvas company can help with repairs if necessary. Inflating and deflating is very quick and easy. All you need to do is roll out and inflate, then when you're finished, dry deflate, roll-up and store.

PSR: Have you recently completed any projects with a difference?

Aflex: We manufactured several products to create a play area and fun water park for the client. The products had to be sealed so they could be floated out onto the sea and they were joined using a unique system designed by Aflex.

About Aflex Technology:

Aflex Technology is a 100% New Zealand owned and operated company. Utilising flexible fabric technology and cutting-edge design and manufacturing techniques they produce high quality inflatable products; commercial pool inflatables, inflatable pool floats and open water inflatables, helibuckets, self inflatable marker buoys, inflatable sea cages, land based promotional products including arches and countless custom design inflatable products.

With over 17 years experience in the aquatic industry to draw from their extensive range of designs are not only innovative, challenging and fun for users, but also add an exciting visual element to any pool environment. With inflatables to cater to any budget and facility from giant constant air inflatables through to small sealed air inflatables or inflatable pool floats, their innovative design and manufacturing solutions mean that their team are often called on to produce unique promotional products and land or water based custom inflatable products for clients. Read more atwww.aflextechnology.com

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