Under pressure!

Published:  05 June, 2014

Warehouse and factory managers are under increasing pressures to reduce the overall running costs of their facilities. PWE reports.

With these pressures they could be forgiven for thinking that premium quality equipment, such as high speed roller shutter doors, are an expensive luxury. Ironically, in many cases the opposite is true. In areas with high footfall and busy production schedules, or where external temperatures differ from optimal operating conditions, high-speed doors are shown to reduce energy costs and increase productivity; which leads to maximum profits.

On the face of it an industrial door may seem like a fairly simple piece of equipment. So long as it opens and closes when necessary it is performing its daily duty, any additional features are simply added luxury. However, the truth is that they are a keystone in the daily operating cycle of most industrial areas. Whether their function is to allow access to delivery vehicles; separate different production environments; or even isolate machinery during operation, the steady flow of production is dependent on how well they operate.

Many sites operate on the principle of 'lean' (just in time) manufacturing to minimise losses through inefficiency. Such an environment must operate like a well oiled machine, with every production cell moving in time with the next. Doors which are slow to open and close and awkward to operate disrupt the momentum of production and cause bottle necks at vital areas throughout the site. Not only can these bottle necks slow down production, they can pose a health risk too.

Christopher Knollys, managing director of sara LBS, explains: "Where a slow door is causing a bottleneck it is creating an area of increased traffic. This means that machinery and personnel are bunching together, all in a hurry to get where they are going. It's at these bottlenecks that accidents are more likely to happen which, in a best case scenario, disrupt operation or, in the worst case, cause serious injury. Fast action doors are proven to ease these pressure points and contribute towards a fluid workflow across a site."

Once installed, high-speed doors are also able to contribute towards reduced energy costs. Some doors operate at up to 3.2m/s meaning that a cycle time is just a fraction of that of a standard door. This reduces the amount of energy required to operate the door, which can lead to noticeable savings, especially in a high footfall area. Temperature regulation costs can also be minimised by reducing the exposure of a room to external conditions. This is especially beneficial in warehouses that require cooling for food storage or where heating is provided for the comfort of employees.

Of course reduced operating costs and improved productivity are only beneficial so long as maintenance and servicing costs don't increase, so reliability is key. Many high-speed doors achieve their speeds to the detriment of mechanical sympathy, quickly damaging the curtains and springs with sudden shock loading on every cycle. However, premium brands have developed technologies which ensure that long lasting reliability is possible.

Sara says its Sprint range of high-speed roller shutter doors offers solutions for internal and external installation as well as specialised doors for applications including automated production lines, food production and cleanrooms. The company says safety is also enhanced thanks to the 'non-contact' safety beam, a travelling safety beam which runs in front of the curtain and prevents it closing in the event that there is an obstruction.

Knollys told PWE: "The sara Sprint range offers the fastest operating speeds on the market; yet our doors are more reliable, and offer more operating cycles, than traditional industrial doors. In fact, we have doors in operation that have logged over a million cycles and are still going strong. This is possible thanks to our patented MCC Vector control system, which ensures smooth operation and limits noise and wear vibration. In the majority of cases, so long as our products are properly maintained, our high speed doors pay for themselves long before they need replacing."

For further information please visit: www.saralbs.co.uk

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