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Roll-Up Shop Curtains Protect Machinery, Tools
ohn Imhoff, Swiss Bell Farms, Roanoke, Illinois, and employee Dave Kindig use the farm shop for a variety of wet, dirty and messy tasks like pressure washing, painting and sandblasting.
"Whenever we used the pressure washer to clean machinery before, our tools and equipment would end up wet. And we couldn't use the sand blaster because the sand would have pelted everything," Imhoff says.
The men decided there had to be a way to partition off part of the shop to contain the water, sand and paint. Solid walls wouldn't work. Curtains made the most sense but Imhoff didn't want anything that was going to be a lot of work to put up and take down.
"We decided what we needed was a curtain we could roll up or down automatically and store neatly up near the rafters out of the way when we didn't need it," he says.
"Our first version rolled up on a pipe mounted near the shop roof. We found we needed carrier bearings every 15 to 20 ft. to keep the pipe from sagging in the middle. That meant we had to have cuts in our curtain, so it didn't protect as well as we wanted," he says.
After a little more thought, Imhoff and Kindig came up with a design that rolls up from the bottom, using a DC motor with a special-built gear reduction system."There's no sagging. We control the motor with a toggle switch. It takes just a few seconds for the 15-ft. high curtain to roll up or down," he says. It works so well that he applied for and received a patent on the design.
Other farmers have looked at Imhoff's curtains and encouraged him to make them for sale. He's gearing up to do that. "We're hoping to be able to make curtains any width for farm shops and other applications, too," he says. "They hold heat in the work area on cold days and can be used as sound barriers as well."
He says the standard material for his automatic roll-up curtains is 13 oz. vinyl laminate. "They're available in a variety of colors, and are durable and fire retardant," he says. Heavier and lighter vinyl is also available.
He envisions his rollup curtains being used in shops, livestock buildings, auditoriums and maybe churches.
Imhoff plans to put together the pipe roller, the curtain, circuit box, controller and switch, and mounting brackets. He figures each curtain will need to be custom designed to fit the application, so prices will be determined by the height and length of span of the curtains.
He anticipates that most buyers will install their own curtains. "Hanging the curtains is not hard and wiring for them isn't complicated," he says.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, John Imhoff, Swiss Bell Farms, Inc., RR2, Box 52, Roanoke, Ill. 61561 (ph toll-free 888 817-5646; fax: 309 923-7845; E-mail: sbfarms@starband.net).

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2001 - Volume #25, Issue #5