It might seem stretching a point to claim that industrial doors can support a company’s philosophy of treating employees as the most important resource but that is what a Bavarian company did when it replaced outdated, 50-year old external, steel-folding doors with four high speed turbo doors from Efaflex, but with an unusual modification. The new doors incorporate small doors for cycle and pedestrian traffic so that they would not have to use the large doors. The 70% transparent doors mean that cyclists no longer have to dismount and waste time opening the doors because radar recognition either side of them opens and closes the doors automatically.

Where there is, however, such heavy use of traffic, door quality is paramount so this emphasises the need not just to avoid the temptation to buy cheap but also to ensure a robust maintenance service regime. Door incapacity for long can have far more implications than just energy losses. In certain manufacturing environments, for example, temperature control to within very fine limits can be crucial, along with keeping out unwelcome pests from food, pharma and drinks establishments.

Powered, fast-action doors have been said to be costly but some companies, like Stertil, now offer such doors on a lease arrangement for as little as £90 a month. But whether considered costly or not it is key to conduct an ROI exercise, because in certain circumstances such doors can deliver paybacks within a few months through energy savings alone. This means conducting an energy audit, something most of the leading door suppliers would help out on.

A distinction should be made between installing just one or two doors and a new-build project where more than just doors are needed, like the full panoply of loading ay equipment. This is where it is important to consider using only ALEM members who should have the necessary track record of many large scale installations for blue chip companies. Such major contracts require a proactive approach, believes sara LBS, because in the real world there will often be design changes, bad weather, late deliveries and other disruptive issues so a pro-active approach, which would include pre-order and pre-start meetings, with the main contractor and sub-contractors should maintain smooth and efficient progress.

When choosing a door supplier it makes sense to look for the supplier’s willingness to make bespoke adjustments to the doors to meet the buyer’s specific needs, which may be very demanding. Packaging giant, Smurfit Kappa, is a good example, when it had sara supply a Sprint 355 fast-action PVC roller door at its depot near Glasgow. The door has a soft start and soft stop function to reduce wear and fatigue of the drive components, a useful feature if work cycles are very high. During the planning and installation engineers balanced fast opening and closing with a need to allow enough time for persons to walk through with a pallet truck or for a forklift to come through at a safe speed. The company also fitted vertical reinforcing stripes and strengthened edges in anticipation of a long, hard working life.

While price is always a factor when buying doors, you usually only get what you pay for, so it is important to ensure that buyers are comparing like with like. This also applies to after-sales support, which can vary widely. Again, for peace of mind, consider only using ALEM members for after-sales service or their designated service partners. For best results such service arrangements should be tailored to the expected work loads put on the doors.