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We are continuing the adventures of Bob. Bob is a maintenance manager at a brand new widget factory, Awesome Widgets. They make more widgets in less time than any other widget manufacturer – so materials are constantly trucked in, and manufactured products are constantly trucked out. Awesome Widgets is based in the northeast – with snowy winters and hot summers. Because of this, and for security reasons, they close their rolling steel doors after every truck enters or exits the facility.
Six months in, Bob is frustrated. He’s had to pay for several service calls because parts on the commercial garage doors at the facility keep malfunctioning, and now the spring that drives the door open and closed has snapped on one of his most-used openings. Bob is convinced that commercial overhead doors are pieces of garbage. Bob is wrong.
Bob found out that all rolling doors are not created equal, that a good company with a proven track record, long history of high quality and a top staff of professionals will help walk him through what he needs and what product is best for him. He found out that it’s all about choosing the right product for the job. He found out what exactly a high performance overhead door is and how the door speed, maintenance cycles, durability, activation options and safety are all major factors. Now he must decide if a high performance door is right for him.
Now Bob needs to decide on what type of commercial garage doors he needs. Before deciding between a standard roll up door and a high performance one, he needs to ask himself these seven questions, easily remembered by the acronym PERFORM:
1) Productivity - Is passage through a secure opening a key success factor in the productivity of my business?
Often, when an overhead garage door component breaks due to heavy use, the opening is out of commission for hours, or even days, while the parts can be manufactured, shipped, and installed. Business owners, architects, and general contractors must understand how the commercial garage doors will contribute to productivity. If they’re in an area that requires closure after every pass though, or cannot stay open or closed for days at a time without a loss of productivity, then a high performance product must be considered.
2) Environment - Do I need to control the temperature of an environment, even while exposing it to the elements on a regular basis?
If your building is in a very warm or cold climate, but requires frequent outside access, making sure the roll up door can open and close quickly is paramount to maintaining the interior temperature. In cases with truly extreme weather, consider a high performance insulated roller garage door to cut down on air exchange during cycling as well as air leakage around the outside edges of the door.
3) Reliability - If this rolling door can’t operate, will I lose money?
Roll up garage doors are often installed in commercial or manufacturing applications. In these scenarios, the commercial garage doors are a vital gateway to materials in, or goods out. It is the way deadlines are met, contracts are fulfilled, and business is won. Who wants to extend their lead time because they can only successfully get product out of one door while the other three doors are broken, boarded up, and inoperable? Longer lead times can encourage customers to look elsewhere to get their products, meaning lost revenue for the commercial enterprise. Time truly is money, and if a roll up door is a vital part of that equation, a high performance product with virtually no maintenance required can be attractive.
4) Frequency - Will my daily cycles be in a short, peak time rather than spread out evenly throughout the day?
Total cycles matter, but as we said, timing matters more. Let’s say you have a commercial overhead door in a parking garage with 100 spots in a secure building that requires proof of clearance to enter and closes after each car passes through. There is only one way to enter, and staff that work in the building have shift times that start between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. and end between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. This means you’ll have 200 daily cycles, but the vast majority will be in two separate two-hour windows. Your commercial garage doors must be able to handle the high use in the short window of time without breaking down or wearing out.
5) Operating speed – Do I want the steel roll up door to open as quickly as possible?
As we discussed earlier, total opening time can make a huge difference in an operation. If you take your overhead door speed and factor in the placement of the activation device, you can calculate exactly how to make the opening experience flawless:
6 feet per second X 5 seconds = 30 feet
Vehicle Speed X Door Opening Time = Activation device distance from door
In our example, an average fork truck drives at a speed of six feet per second. The commercial garage doors that it drives through opens in five seconds. Therefore, the activation device should be placed 30 feet away from the overhead garage door to ensure a smooth experience.
6) Routine traffic - Is the traffic going through the opening vital to business operations?
If an overhead roll up door is optional, maybe a high performance product isn’t the right fit. However, if you’re an airport and need to move cargo quickly in freezing weather to achieve a shorter layover, or if you are Amazon launching Amazon Flex in a city and you need secure, reliable access from a number of parties coming into your warehouses for delivery, the overhead rolling door’s operation matters. The type of traffic going through the overhead doors – from forklifts to utility vehicles – can necessitate a high performance product.
7) Maintenance - Do I want to avoid ongoing maintenance expenses?
Ongoing maintenance can mean anything from routinely replacing vital parts of commercial garage doors – like standard-issue springs – or service calls when an overhead door breaks and is inoperable. While we’ve already highlighted the potential cost of time and productivity to the organization when a coiling door fails, one must also consider the downtime and expense caused by scheduled and unscheduled maintenance. While high performance products may have a higher initial price point than standard roll up doors, the absence of maintenance requirements (outside of daily use checks) can mean that the high performance product can have a lower total cost of ownership.
If you’ve answered yes to two or more of these questions, it is likely that you need a high performance roll up door.
Next, in the final part of this series, Bob digs into the costs of replacing his overhead doors with high performance overhead doors and what the costs are if he doesn’t.
Click Here to read Part 1!
Click Here to read Part 3!
Siva Davuluri serves as director of product strategy for high performance doors at CornellCookson Inc. He has been in his current role for five years at the Mountain Top, PA based company, which is the largest coiling door manufacturer in the USA. Davuluri has more than ten years of experience in design, development and commercialization of new products. He graduated from North Dakota State University with a Master of Mechanical Engineering degree and completed his Master of Business Administration degree from Cornell University. He is also a member of the technical committee for high performance doors at DASMA, North America’s trade association for manufacturers of garage doors, rolling doors, high performance doors and access systems.