New Winter Pool Cover Comes Without Straps

by Scott Webb July 11, 2011 9:00 AM

photo of strapless pool cover

Strapless Style

Innovation has come to the industry in the form of a new type of pool cover that eschews the traditional grid of straps across the width of the cover in favor of a welded single-piece design. This makes the cover more aesthetically pleasing to customers, says Bob Hotaling, inventor of the cover and president of Pen-Fabricators, Emigsville, Pa., and also lighter in weight and easier to maintain.

Most new products result from an inventor's dissatisfaction with the conventional version. Hotaling says he noticed that standing water on traditional covers had a tendency to leach through the sewn webbing and into the pool. "In addition, that wet webbing is heavy, and over time it can develop rotted threads — these are the threads that hold the webbing to the cover itself. If they rot they have to be repaired."

So Hotaling came up with the idea of welding the entire product — webbing and cover — together using the same radio frequency welding technology that fuses pool liners. In this case, it vulcanizes the strap material to the cover, fusing it into one piece.

"The cover does have straps," he adds, "just not the grid all over the cover above and below. In that traditional cover, they need the straps to go all the way across the pool to keep the overall integrity of the cover. In this case, by welding everything together, including the straps, it becomes all one piece. And it's much lighter in weight because the cover doesn't have all this criss-crossed webbing, which, once it gets wet, doubles or triples in weight. These new covers are impervious to water, and there's no webbing to hold water."

It's the first cover of its kind in the industry, Hotaling says, and the company has applied for a patent. It was introduced into a test market in late 2009, then expanded in 2010.

Jim Titus, an installer at Arnold Pools in Maryland, has tried the new cover and says his customers have been satisfied so far; they like the way it looks and Titus appreciates that "it's a little easier to put on and easier to line up. On the regular covers, sometimes the woven material comes apart on the cover over time. But the way they've made this, it's all made right into the cover."

Scott Webb has been with AQUA magazine in one capacity or another since April 2001; he now serves as executive editor. Scott has a degree from University of Cincinnati in Aerospace Engineering and lives in Madison, Wisc.

Comments (7) -

7/12/2011 9:01:54 AM #

Absolutely love the idea that there's no strapping showing. I presume that since the cover has the straps infused into the cover, that it will have the proper ASTM rating to be a "certified safe" safety cover?

Brian Lane

7/12/2011 11:59:56 AM #

And this is different from Anchor's Industry's solid covers with springs how?

Scott Bair

7/13/2011 3:51:27 PM #

So, I have installed so many Anchor 5-Star covers that this looks like, I can't count them,
And so now I rep for Anchor and I know this is just another knock off, a replica, a copy, surely not an invention. And notice he is not showing the needed cover pump.

Rich Westerwelle

7/14/2011 9:48:15 AM #

I completely agree with the opening statement of this article..."Innovation has come to the industry".  However, the article is unfortunately incorrect with regards to the timing and the company responsible for that innovation.  Anchor Industries has been manufacturing safety pool covers using the "welded" technique described in this article as a "new type of pool cover" for over 35 years.  

The article does accurately describe the significant benefits of this type pool cover.  Anchor has manufactured thousands of covers using this technology.  The Anchor "Five Star" and "Classic Solid" have been a great success and proven performers for many years.

Tim Lillpop

7/14/2011 8:47:48 PM #

I've been ordering Anchor's classic solid welded covers for over 26 years!  We also do a good bit of Anchor mesh covers as well.

Linda Wright

7/17/2011 8:53:11 AM #

This cover is different because it uses springs not bungie cords. And in the install I saw there were like 5 or 6 anchor points eliminated replacing an old style cover on a kidney pool. They have this batwing thing that spreads the load. So springs vs. bungie cords and less install time and less anchors = savings.

Bryan Todd

7/28/2011 5:11:17 PM #

Anchor's Five Star cover uses springs

Tim Lillpop

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