Door Openers for Roll-Up Doors

Cornell carries a wide selection of overhead door operators designed for use with our rolling doors, shutters and grilles. These openers each feature unique advantages, and there are styles and options available to suit any size door or budget.

Manual vs Motor General Reference

The table below provides an, at a glance, reference for what type of operator elements each listed products uses.
For more detailed information please review the categories above.

Push-UpChainCrankMotorTube Motor
Service DoorXXXX 
Insulated DoorXXXX 
Fire DoorXXXXX
Security GrilleXXXXX
SentryGate 4XXXXX
SentryGate 3XXXXX
CrossingGard Grille   X 
Counter DoorXXXXX
Counter Fire DoorXXXXX
1024 Door   X 
300 Grille   X 
MicroCoil Grille   X 
Smoke Shield Elevator   X 
StormDefender Door   X 


Roll-Up Door Operators

Roll-up doors consist of horizontal steel slats that roll vertically to coil at the top of the door. These doors are a great way to provide quick and convenient access to both residential and commercial garages, and they generally offer more security and durability than traditional sectional garage doors. Because these doors don't run on a horizontal track system, they also free up more overhead space in the garage.

Even if you're familiar with the basic concept of a roll-up door, you may not understand how they open. As there is no horizontal track system, you cannot use a traditional garage door opener to operate a roll-up door, but you can choose from a few other options.

How Do You Open a Roll-Up Door?

How roll-up doors work depends on the type of operator installed. One compatible opener type is a manual operator, which is a cost-effective option best suited for lighter, smaller doors or doors used infrequently. Another popular option is an electric operator, which is the most effective way to raise and lower your door. A third option is an opener for a fire-rated door, which requires a special motor to ensure the door creates an effective barrier against smoke and flames in an emergency.

Electric and Manual Roll-Up Door Operators

Whether you're looking for a manual or electric overhead door operator, we have options that provide the speed, value, and performance to match your specifications. We offer three main types of door operators for roll-up doors:

1. Manual Overhead Door Operators

Manual door openers for roll-up doors are the most cost-effective options available. A manual roll-up door operator is an excellent choice for smaller, lighter roll-up doors and doors that receive infrequent use. This type of system operates using no electricity and is suited for buildings or spaces without a primary power source. Manual options include:

  • ControlGard™ chain hoists: The ControlGard™ is our most advanced manual operator. It has a built-in braking system that stays in place unless someone actively pulls the chain for greater safety. Whereas earlier chain hoist designs would often slip away from their operator — requiring them to remain extremely vigilant during operation — the ControlGard™ allows users to operate their doors with ease and confidence.
  • Push-up manual operators: If your space is too small to fit a motor or your door will only be cycled a few times per day and isn't wired for power, a push-up operator is a good manual alternative. Push-up door operators are affordable and common for store-within-store applications. This type of operator is often found in retail spaces and concession stands.
  • Chain openers: Chain operators are simple yet smooth manual operators that go easy on your door. Like push-up operation, chain operation is also a good choice for doors in tight spaces where a motor won't fit or for a door that will be cycled just a few times per day and isn't wired for power. Chain operation is ideal for larger doors, grilles, and shutters. Apart from the cost-effectiveness they provide, chains also open doors more consistently and smoothly as compared to push-up operation, prolonging the lifespan of your door.
  • Crank openers: Crank operators are common for use with rolling counter shutters for bridging gaps over wide spaces. They are often found in pharmacy counters and lunchrooms. Rigid crank operation is the best choice for opening the shutters over these wide gaps.

Electric Roll-Up Door Openers

2. Electric Roll-Up Door Openers

An electric overhead door operator is the most effective way to raise and lower your closure. Cornell offers a variety of motorized roll-up door operators. Motors that run off single- and three-phase power are available, with options that include:

  • EverGard™ motors:Cornell EverGard™ roll-up door motors have self-charging battery backup systems that allow a door to be operated even if the power goes out. The backup system allows the door to operate 10 cycles over 48 hours.
  • SG super-duty motors: SG motors are compact, Underwriter Laboratories (UL)-listed door operators made to deliver up to 20 cycles per day. A waterproof model, which features a stainless steel finish resistant to corrosion, is also available.
  • MG industrial-duty motors: Cornell MG and splashproof MG roll-up door motors feature Gear-Head construction with a maximum 20-cycle-per-day rating. Their features include heavy-duty, lubricated gears, a maintenance-free, solenoid-actuated brake, and overload protection.
  • Concealed tubular motors: These coiling door operators require less clearance and fit into spaces with strict dimensions, perfect for shutters, grilles and gates. They operate quietly and smoothly and promote the ergonomic operation of counter door units without compromising aesthetics.

3. Fire-Rated Coiling Door Operators

Fire doors require specialized motors that help ensure your doors create the intended barrier to block flames and smoke in case of an emergency. Electric and manual operators are available:

  • Electric motors: We have several fire-rated overhead door operators with manual or automatic operation. Fire-rated options include the UL-listed AlarmGard®, AlarmGard® Plus and the low-profile AlarmGard® tubular motor. We also offer the FireGard™ motor — triggered when heat causes fusible links to melt, releasing the door.
  • Manual operators: If you prefer manual operation for your fire doors, we have two options available. AlarmGard® systems come in chain or crank configurations to operate doors or countertop shutters. In a fire, these doors have a slow and controlled activated closing speed that does not exceed 9-12 inches per second.
  • FireGard™ chain or crank systems are also available.

Can You Put a Garage Door Opener on a Roll-Up Door?

No. Traditional garage door openers are designed for sectional overhead garage doors, which consist of several jointed panels that travel along tracks across the garage ceiling.

These traditional garage door openers provide only a fraction of the power required to open and close the garage door. Most of the door's weight is actually offset by counterbalance springs connected to the garage door.

These garage door openers have a power unit that connects to a third track separate from the two tracks for the garage door. A trolley attaches to an arm that connects to the top of the door, and this trolley travels back and forth on the third track, raising or lowering the garage door.

Roll-up doors, which do not use horizontal tracks and instead coil up directly above the ceiling, cannot be opened and closed using these traditional garage door openers.

Request a Quote for a New Overhead Door Operator

Request a Quote for a New Overhead Door Operator

Visit the Cornell dealer in your area to see our products and get help finding a manual operator or roll-up door motor suited for your new design or building retrofit. To get more information about our commercial roll-up door openers or request a quote, contact us online.

Additional Resources