Warehouse door maintenance is still very much a reactive issue because lack of preventative maintenance is still a sore point in the industry, claims Sara Loading Bay Specialists. Union Industries, supplier of the Hi-Speed doors, strongly concurs. This almost dismissive view of doors may derive from the fact that doors are an inherent part of any building and so can be accorded far less attention than frequently-moving machines like forklifts and conveyors which, generally, receive adequate maintenance attention. But that view is foolish, because over the last 30 years door technology has advanced from static closures to fast-acting machines with moving parts and integrated capabilities.

Apart from the reactive attitude to maintenance costing far more than preventative maintenance there is another complication with cost consequences — how to choose the right quality product because quality can very significantly along with after sales service. Many customers, for example, turn to Union Industries to replace existing rapid roll doors from other manufacturers, many of which have been in operation for a relatively short time. Door buyers must also be careful over whom they choose for maintenance. Sara says there has been a trend towards “inspection visits” (meaning low cost) where no work is carried out. All necessary work is carried out by a quotation and separate order. That is not good value for money.

Union Industries finds the same problem, compounded by users’ philosophy of : “if it’s not broken don’t fix it”. In their experience many so-called ‘door maintenance’ companies don’t actually carry out servicing of doors. In some cases they simply inspect the doors and their moving parts and only change components if they are damaged or are in obvious need of replacement. Union has found that their engineers are called out to service their doors not long after they have been allegedly serviced by a national door maintenance company as part of a service package.

To avoid these problems, many door users should approach long-standing manufacturers and see some of their customers’ applications in action and obtain their views. Secondly, they should seriously consider placing their maintenance contract with the manufacturer. This should dispel any doubts about costly breakdowns and call outs. Union offers an alternative to this for those companies wishing to do their own maintenance. They will train a customers’ engineers and show them how to carry out a full service. This training is a big benefit to customers as they can easily maintain their doors by using their own well-trained maintenance staff.

Maintenance costs can also be reduced by choosing the most appropriate door. Among the leading causes of rapid action door repairs are impact by forklift, damage caused by external wind loadings and neglect. Leading door suppliers, therefore, supply a crash out facility that allows easy reset. There is additional protection from protective posts, bollards and barriers. Damage to door blades/curtains caused by wind loadings or high negative/positive pressures can be a serious issue, resulting in high repair costs and lengthy downtime. To counter this, Union has developed its Ramdoor, with a class 5 rating for wind resistance, the highest available.

All of these maintenance packages direct from the manufacturers may cost a little more than packages offered by service only maintenance suppliers but they will pay back more in the longer term. As in all things, you only get what you pay for.

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