How good should your industrial door quality be? The answer much depends on one’s sensitivity to production processes, particularly in relation to temperatures, dust and anything that could harm hygiene issues for the pharma and food industries.

The major theme running through all door selection exercises is energy conservation, as usually it is doors where the greatest heat loss and temperature changes can occur, so temperature control is vital not just for energy costs and comfortable working conditions but also, in many causes, the sensitivity of one’s production processes. Legislation also influences issues through the 2011 Energy Act which came into force in 2018, and this year’s new building regulations that require all industrial overhead doors to have a U-value of 1.4W/M2 or lower.

Trouble is, one must look to more than door quality. It is also important to choose a supplier for its innovation. A good example here is Hormann, one of the world’s largest industrial door suppliers, whose partnership with Panattoni, the UK’s largest speculative property developer, shows the need to adjust door solutions at loading bays to cope with the changing face of distribution centres driven by online shopping.

At Eastwood, Nottingham, Panattoni has developed 755,000ft2 of warehousing, spread over three sheds, designed as a cross-docked distribution centre that allows for a separate goods in and out facility. The 70 loading bays are supported by an additional eight double-deck shelter loading bays to support Panattoni’s customers further in maximising their operational output. It is in response to the continued increase for logistics companies to use vehicle fleets of various sizes to meet customer demand adequately. The double deck shelters will allow clients to transport goods in and out using large double-deck trucks as well as standard-sized heavy goods vehicles. Here is where the innovation comes in. To increase thermal efficiency the double-deck docks are fitted with secondary electric roller blind top flaps to provide an efficient seal on smaller vehicles when using the bay.

Most comprehensive loading bay equipment makers include fast-acting roller doors in their product line up but only one, namely Efaflex, focuses exclusively on high-speed doors. Speed and reliable operation can be critical in certain industries as at the new logistics centre for Budweiser in the Czech Republic, where 32 Efaflex fast-acting industrial doors play a key role in maintaining product quality. Other fast-acting door makes are restricted to 2.5mt/sec opening/closing speeds but Efaflex achieves 4mt/sec. “For us, flawless operation of the doors is vital,” says Dolibar Cap, Head of Technology at the Budweiser brewery.

Continuing, he says: “Part of the brewing process relies on our products being cooled, meaning that a door malfunction would result in an enormous economic cost. The door systems are placed under huge performance pressure with some in the logistics centre completing over 250,000 opening cycles per year.”

To avoid any disappointment when choosing a door supplier it is important to supply them with as much information about intended door use as possible, like the number of work cycles expected over the year and how much that is likely to change in the future. Consider your past experiences with your doors, noting the number of times there have been door collisions and other accidents, the number of unexpected downtime issues and your after-sales service response experiences. Your past experiences with door accidents may point to the need for improved safety features like traffic light controls and lasers that can sense horizontally ahead of the doors. Door crash-out facilities that allow quick re-instatement could be advisable. And for peace of mind choose only suppliers who are members of ALEM. Such doors may seem expensive at first sight but remember that they could deliver paybacks within 18 months.

Bill Redmond

Features Editor