As temperatures plummet so too can the working environment in many warehouse situations. Heating costs can rocket. As businesses strive to not only improve energy efficiencies but also safety at work, we explore whether investment in high- speed doors for your loading bay area are worthwhile.

The HSE have documented that loading bay areas are among the most dangerous for workplace operations with fork lift trucks, heavy goods vehicles and long goods vehicles all in use. Operating in a world that continually demands shorter delivery lead times takes its toll; accidents inevitably happen. But what can you do to further safe guard against avoidable incidents and improve your loading bays’ efficiency?

Doors. There are a huge variety on offer to match application and budget; roller shutter, folding, high – speed versions but what advantages do the modern designs offer over more traditional styles? The cost of a high speed spiral door maybe initially more expensive, but once considered in the round, this capital investment can soon become an asset. For one, improved door opening speeds can significantly reduce energy costs since the desired temperature – whether that’s purposefully warmed or chilled – is maintained as a result of the fast opening and closing door speeds. Speeds of up to 4 metres per second ensures the loss stays low – you permanently save on energy costs. Examples of saving 4,600 litres of heating oil per heating period are not uncommon.

Couple opening and closing speeds with thermal insulation of the door’s laths for even greater energy efficiencies. EFAFLEX were the world’s first manufacturer to provide thermally insulated laths for their spiral range, the EFA-SST®. The laths achieve outstanding heat insulation between 0.66 and 1.52 W/m²K making them ideal for closing off large halls and loading bays.

Where high volumes of people, plant and machinery meet, incidents can occur but a well-designed loading bay can help mitigate these risks. Improving visibility and line of sight for the vehicle operative is a consideration. High – speed doors manufactured with crystal clear acrylic glass can be 70% transparent.

This not only provides the vehicle operative with improved visibility, a clear line of sight either side of the loading bay door, but also enables natural daylight to enter the immediate area for improved staff well-being and reduced lighting costs.

The door design itself is worthy of scrutiny. Traditional roller shutters when drawn up in the door open position, roll onto themselves with contact and wear. This is not so in the EFAFLEX EFA-STT® where the door blade is held apart in the patented contactless spiral design, ensuring next to no wear. As a result, the entire door ensures gleaming looks even in harshest working conditions.

Maintenance and service costs of the door should also be taken into account when considering the whole life costs of the investment. The quality, engineering and longevity of high speed doors do differ. At the research stage of your planning it’s key to study load cycles, that’s the opening and closing of the door blades that is achievable between service intervals. Some of the highest quality doors are capable of up to 250,000 cycles per year. Clearly that lowers the overall annual operational cost of the high- speed door, but also reduces the number of service and maintenance visits required which in turn minimises down time.

Here we have looked at just some of the advances in loading bay door technology to help drive energy efficiencies, reduce operational cost and improve safety. Every application is unique with its own set of considerations. The purchasing choice is important but hopefully here we have helped you to look beyond just the initial installation cost to consider the investment a long term asset to your business.