Behind closed doors

Though the modest industrial door does not often change in look or operation, there is certainly a wide range available: plastic curtains; strip doors; swing doors; rigid traffic doors; and high-speed (HS) doors, just to name a few.

According to local industry, an increasing number of door variations on the market – along with automatic doors becoming more cost effective – is forcing manufacturers to make an investment decision based on application rather than picking something that simply “goes up and down”.

Albany Door Systems NSW state manager, Les Davies, says industrial doors are becoming more application-orientated.

“In the past a lot of people would just settle for a door and now they’re specifically looking for a door to deal with a particular task,” Davies told Manufacturers’ Monthly.

He says although the HS automatic door is fast gaining popularity, manufacturers should first consider how many times the door opens and closes throughout the day.

“If the door is only opened five or six times a day then you don’t really need a high speed door. Instead I would suggest going for an ordinary roller door that can just be sent up and down,” Davies said.

“The next thing that needs to be considered is what the manufacturer wants to accomplish with it. If they want to keep the dirt and dust out; if they want to make sure it seals well.”

Application decisions

M.T.I. Qualos sales manager, Mil Lozanovski, also stresses the importance of investing in a door which is suitable for specific facility requirements.

“Do your homework and make sure you are getting the right door for the right application,” Lozanovski said.

“I have heard too many stories about people who have been sold an internal door for an external opening. It won’t do the job and it will either blow-out or break- down because of sun and wind- blow pressure.”

He says PVC curtains and strip doors are generally suitable for cool freezer and industrial ware houses where manufactures do not necessarily need to spend the money on automatic options.

“Curtains will do the same job [as automatic doors] but they’re subject to metal contact so it means you will therefore have scratches which can become a hazard because you can’t see through them anymore,” Lozanovski said.

“You might also have an area where you couldn’t have curtains because the food vans or trucks are unable to drive through as the doors will scratch the vehicle’s ducol.”

Lozanovski cannot deny howev er that an automatic door can provide a host of benefits over its manual counterpart including temperature control and securi ty. He says this is one of the reasons sales in the company’s automatic doors have more than doubled in the last five years.

DMF International export director, Stephen Fell, says a large portion of the company’s clients come from the food and beverage manufacturing industry which often depend on HS auto matic doors to keep cool rooms at certain temperatures.

“If a client is after very good insulation qualities then we can provide high-speed doors which use polyurethane or foam polyurethane as a core for the door panel,” Fell said.

“The printing industry also likes to have a temperature con trol to keep large printing machinery at performing.”

Albany Door Systems’ Davies also notes food and beverage areas are dominating the business. “People now require fresh er food and they need to get it to places quickly. This means you have to be able to store it and transport it quickly and that’s where our doors come into the distribution side of the food areas,” Davies said.

“Food processing is also getting more stringent so you have to have clean doors and clean environments.”

The future at-a-glance

Commenting on the future of the industrial door industry, Fell envisages key variations in materials and manufacturing.

“There will be slight material changes like using a glass-rein forced plastic rather than using aluminium, and manufacturing processes might also change which won’t alter the actual feature or look of the door but will reduce its manufacturing costs,” Fell said.

Davies agrees and says though steel roller shutters are still being installed because of the low price, the HS door is becoming increasingly cost-competitive.

“The door [HS] itself won’t change in application and the way that it operates but it will probably change in the way peo ple see it as far as not being something that they maybe don’t need into something that they probably do actually need,” he said.

As for Lozanovski, he says he can see the future fairly clearly.

“Definitely automatic, all the manual stuff is dying down.”

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