If the New York/New Jersey Giants reach the Super Bowl this season they’ll have to admit getting a little help from Air Structures American Technologies, Inc., Rye Brook, NY.
The 35-year-old company, which manufactures and installs air filled domes, recently erected one over the Giants new practice field beside the team’s East Rutherford stadium.
After missing many practice dates last season due to snow and sleet, the Giants decided to build a new practice facility with a dome. Seven stories high, the structure was installed in July. It features air conditioning and heat, and covers a Balsam synthetic turf surface.
General contractor for new facility was Joseph M. Sanzari, Inc. In May this year Sanzari placed the concrete foundations for the 1-½ acre structure, and prepared the sub-grade to receive the synthetic turf, which was installed by technicians from the Balsam Company.
Then it was time for Air Structures American Technologies, Inc. (ASATI) to bring in the special fabric and other installations and attached them to the prepared foundations in preparation for inflation.
“We manufactured the fabric in our plant in Miami,” said Donato M. Fraioli who founded ASATI more than 30 years ago. “Altogether we used 60,000 square feet of Tedlar-coated vinyl, fastened by our own patented cable harness.” He pointed out that the translucent vinyl-coated fabric used in the dome allows the penetration of natural daylight, thereby saving energy costs by day.
At night the structure will be illuminated by the Hanglite system, specifically designed for air supported fabric structures. This unique system of indirect lighting, which was invented and patented by Donato A. Fraioli, son of the founder and President of ASATI, requires no poles, tubes nor pipes. Its special configuration permits the light bulbs to be installed in the vertical position with the base down, to maximize lighting efficiency.
Speaking about the new Giants practice facility, Donato M. Fraioli, ASATI’s Chief Executive Officer said that an installation of this size takes the company about three days to complete. “Once the fabric has been laid out and attached to the foundations,” he said, “we are at the mercy of the weather. Wind, rain and snow will all influence the timing of actual erection, but once the structure is fully inflated it is weather resistant.”
ASATI used a King system to blow air into the structure, which went from flat on the ground to full inflation in about two hours, after being delayed for a day by a stiff breeze.
Despite more than 30 years of experience, ASATI is still very much a family business. Donato M. Fraioli, the founder is now CEO, and proud of the fact that he visits every installation site. President of the firm is his son, Donato A. Fraioli, while Rosemarie Fraioli, wife and mother, looks after the office and handles publicity.
ASATI’s years of advanced structural engineering experience enables it to provide state-of-the-art air frame supported fabric structures. Pre-engineered to meet exact design criteria for a variety of recreational facilities – in this case an indoor practice facility for the Giants, who last year were forced to travel 30 miles South to a similar type of facility at Rutgers University – the structures are becoming very popular with professional and college teams. “Careful and experienced engineering is essential,” Donato M. Fraioli emphasized, “if air supported structures are to withstand the same environmental conditions that test the quality, safety and durability of more conventional structures.”
To this effect, ASATI has its own 25-man crew of specialists who have worked on hundreds of air supported structures of various types all over the U.S. and in Russia, Korea and Japan as well. The company also has a full-service trailer constantly on the road ready to respond to emergency calls, and to deal with facilities that are erected and disassembled every year.
The development of a “Bias Net Harness System” some years ago represented a major advance that expanded the air fabric concept far beyond its previous 120-foot wide limits. Donato M. Fraioli considers this invention his greatest achievement because its modern application allows air supported fabric structures to cover many acres with maximum protection against wind and heavy snow loads.
ASATI’s patented sports domes have been tested and proven in severe climates from Abu Dabi in the Middle East to Alaska. In fact the company’s patented air structures were the only ones accepted for the Alaska Pipeline project, where more than 40 such structures were erected and provided failure-free service for pipe crews under winds of over 120 mph, and snow and ice loads of more than 40 lbs. per square feet.
Dimensions: 210’W x 250’L x 65’H
Size: 52,000 sq. ft.
The Facility is up: Year round
Purpose: Football Training Facility
Location: New Jersey
Number of Lights: 60
Type of Lights: G-1 1,000 watt Metal Halide Hanglite
HVAC: Heating and Cooling
Fabric: Translucent White with Tedlar coating
Insulation: R-4 Thermal Construction
Cable System: Full Bias Cable Net System