System Products

Novum has two popular systems for integrating membranes into buildings. The Novum AFP-System utilizes multiple layers of ETFE tensioned as an air-filled pillow, whereas the SSM-System typically uses ETFE foils as single layers often tensioned with cables. AFP Systems provide several benefits to designers and building owners such as thermal performance, shading and lighting. Novum ETFE foils can be tinted and/or printed (standard or custom) to individual needs and photometric and thermic demands.


learn more


learn more

ETFE Workflow

learn more


General Description Depending on project specific thermal performance requirements, ETFE pillows are comprised of 2, 3 or 4 layers of membrane which are edge welded into sealed units for inflation. The pillow edges are fed into “keder” aluminum edge profiles which mechanically hook to larger custom aluminum profiles with internal drainage secured to the substructure. Profiles can be supplied anodized or powder coated.

Pillow Sizes Air-filled pillows are physically large areas in comparison to conventional metal, plastic or glass cladding panels, allowing nominal structure and a lighter architecture with limited secondary framing. Therefore, integrated pillow and structure designs are faster to site, quicker to build and economical. A further advantage of our pillow system is that it readily adapts to warped surfaces. Conventional rectangular pillows can be very long over 60m (200‘) while widths depend on environmental loadings, typically in the 2-4m range. Pillows can of course be any shape, triangular through octagonal, and have been successfully used in complex freeform structures. As a rule of thumb, triangles to 7.5 m are feasible and squares to 5.5m.

Air Machines Pillows are air filled under low pressure by dual chamber pumps (for redundancy) and various sensors and controls are available. Dehumidifiers are considered standard and the air filters are renewable. Pumps might operate at different pressures winter and summer depending on climate and location. Continuous pumping is not required as the system is closed, yet some leakage does occur. Energy use is low. Novum Membranes can coordinate and supply the pumps and piping as required.

Thermal Performance Properties can vary due to orientation and the use of solar control techniques. As a general rule, a single layer of ETFE has a U-value of 6, a double layer pillow has a value of 3.0 and a three-layer pillow 2.0 w/m2K. More layers can be added, but with diminishing returns.

Solar Control Any layer can be printed for shading and a variety of prints and custom options exist. Print is protected by being placed on the surfaces within the pillow. Additionally, there are new foils available with enhanced infra-red management.

Variable Shade Climate control is also possible on rectilinear shaped three-layer pillows by making the middle layer operable with a reverse print, as compared to the outer layer print. Then, two pillow chambers are controlled independently to press the middle layer to the outside to darken the space or let it collapse to permit more light. If U value is important, then a fourth layer can be added.

Design Principals The pillow form and internal pressure resist applied loads. Pressures can be increased in the pillows by the pump detecting change via sensors. Three-layer pillows provide more avenues to design for different environmental conditions. Large wind suction loads can require cable straps and high snow may require tensioned middle layers or design for partial collapse. Drainage design is always important to guard against ponding. The thickness of each layer is determined structurally by finite element analysis and the foil are available from 100 to 500 microns. Novum supplies full engineering.

Novum Features Wrinkles are greatly reduced or eliminated via the use of Novum’s in-house developed software which predicts potential prone areas and adjusts the geometric form locally to avoid any wrinkles.

Lighting ETFE material allows light to migrate along its surface. Hence, introducing exciting ways to use lighting effects to change the entire architectural environment which is of great interest in public spaces, arenas, retail applications and more.

Green Plants thrive below ETFE due to its properties and our systems are designed with both recycling and corrosion resistance in mind.

Applications An infinite variety including atriums, roofs, canopies, walls, lighting/marketing displays for sports arenas, retail, medical facilities, schools, swimming centers, horticultural/garden centers, transportation hubs and more.


General Description Novum has several systems for membranes used in single layers. The SSM-System varies depending on material type, spans and panel sizes. We have systems for small and large ETFE panels, whereas for PVC and PTFE, we use different systems.

Small Panel ETFE An incredibly light single skin system uses a single layer of ETFE with biaxial tension applied to it by low force perimeter tensioning. The perimeters and panel intermediates are realized from small aluminum extrusions to make simple frames. The aluminum is typically powder coated. Panel spans are typically under 1m wide and the system is ideal for ribbon skylights and glass renovations where weight matters.

Larger Panel ETFE Single skin ETFE with low tension requires frequent support due to its lack of rigidity. Additional transverse support is provided using thin pre-stressed stainless cables in ETFE pockets on the underside of the weather surface. Cable spacing is determined from environmental loads, and the drainage needs very careful planning (especially the perimeters) as the ultra-light system is so flexible. Typically, the cables are one directional and spaced at around 600mm (2’). The weight is below 0.05 kpa (1 psf) making it arguably the lightest enclosure system on the market. Intermediates between large panels use internal guttering.

Thermal Performance ETFE in a single skin system has a very nominal thermal performance with a U value of 6 w/m2K. Shading is best accommodated by using tinted colored, solid or translucent material, as opposed to the normal clear. Print patterns can be applied, but with fewer choices as the print is exposed to environmental weathering over time.

SSM + Woven Materials The SSM-System for less translucent and more robust designs using PVC and PTFE materials which require higher and biaxial prestress which is constrained using heavier edge profiles and tensioning in two directions. Typically, the materials are stretched over spaceframe grids or stiff steelwork to limit membrane spans so that cables are not required and tension forces can be self-contained within the steelwork. Once stressed, clamping bars are applied as required to prevent uplift. PVC and PTFE materials vary in light transmittance or opacity, but are not transparent.

Design Services The Novum team is available to design the full system as needed. Alternatively, Novum Membranes can provide complete patterning and fabrication to your design work and specification.

Applications Unlimited. Typically, the products are suited to non-enclosed spaces such as canopies, small span ribbon skylights, screens, walkway covers, shade covers and green areas.

ETFE Workflow

Clients seek the value delivered by “Design, Time + Price.”

Novum Membranes delivers its commitment by on-time delivery of quality products at good prices all around the world. Critical to that success is our Comprehensive Workflow.