Paul Pringle is managing director of Solarglide, which has safely served maritime customers throughout the pandemic
Based in Newcastle upon Tyne in England, Solarglide designs and manufactures a range of window treatment solutions for the maritime industry, but there is one product that has become increasingly popular with cruise and ferry operators in 2020 – the SG Glider Solar Screen. CFR spoke with managing director Paul Pringle to find out why.
Please tell us about Solarglide and the products it develops for the passenger shipping industry.
We’re committed to protecting the health and well-being of the mariners, crew and passengers who are travelling the world’s oceans by providing aesthetically pleasing window dressings that improve the onboard experience and do not impede navigational safety. Consequently, we provide the very best innovative treatments and shading solutions for windows and glass, all of which are designed exclusively for the maritime industry. We offer various products including solar screens, blackout and dimout blinds, Venetian blinds, pleated blinds, window wipers and a range of adhesive window films. More recently, we’ve branched out into curtains, sheers and Roman blinds. Our bestselling product has always been our SG Glider solar screens, particularly in the cruise and commercial sectors.
What is a solar screen and how does it work?
A SG Glider solar screen is essentially a roller blind made of polyethylene terephthalate. It can be tailored to fit any window configuration and comes in four colour options, each with their own benefits. Our SG Glider solar screens are fully compliant with Safety of Life at Sea bridge navigational safety regulations and they reduce solar glare by up to 93 per cent and temperatures by up to 15C. Our solar screens are also able to retract back inside the cassette, which prevents them from becoming a navigational obstruction when the weather is poor or visibility is restricted.
Where can solar screens be installed?
Typically, they’re installed on the bridge of a vessel, but we also fit them in public spaces. Our screens are designed to be aesthetically pleasing, so they offer protection without blocking the view, which is perfect for passenger vessels such as cruise ships and ferries.
What are your most popular solar screens?
Our SG Glider solar screens range includes the more popular cassetted version, which is Lloyds Register Type Approved, as well as the Air (non-cassetted), Auto (Motorised) and Eco (solar battery powered) options. They are all available with various operating mechanisms to suit the operator’s individual requirements.
What trends have you noticed in the solar screen market?
We have seen a significant increase in demand for our Auto and Eco range from the cruise and ferry sectors, most likely because both industries are focusing on making their vessels more sustainable and our products help them to achieve that. All our solar screens are 93 per cent recyclable and our Eco range is powered by solar batteries. Meanwhile our Auto range is motorised. Both the Auto and Eco solar screens can be controlled remotely and independently, offering immediate shade to specific areas and eliminating the need for human contact, which will help to reduce the risk of Covid-19 spreading on ships when they are back in service.
What does the future hold for Solarglide?
Although our solar screens continue to be our most popular product, we’ve seen a huge increase in the requirement for our blackout and dimout screens and curtains. In 2021 we will also be focusing on increasing the motorisation and sustainability of our entire product range.