Climate challenges boost protective shutter development

Published:  29 June, 2022

A ferry ride across Hong Kong’s harbour in the early stages of a typhoon caused Doug Hart, chairman of Hart Industrial Doors, to pause – just what sort of technology would be needed to create a secure, protective, shutter that could withstand the full impact of a typhoon he asked himself writes Chris Dobson*

Research shows that typhoons and their sister storm, the hurricane could generate wind well in excess of 100mph, enough at sustained levels to break any known shutter system. Doug Hart, chairman, Hart Industrial Doors., explained: “The issues when faced with such violence is to secure buildings and potential weak areas such as loading bays and other access points. We were dealing with exceptional weather up to the super typhoon level. The power would break a standard shutter system.”

Encouraged by Hart’s Hong Kong partner, Hart’s team re-worked on its existing Terror Screen, which is a large and heavy security shutter that offers protection for up to 20 minutes against cutting, drilling, crowbars, and axes due to its exceptional robustness, to create Hart’s typhoon shutter, many of which are now in service.

The development of this super shutter is timely given climate change and the likelihood of increasing storms. Indeed, the UK was hit by several storms in quick succession starting with Arwen last November with sustained strong winds generating gusts up to 110 mph. The devastation was considerable with evidence of damage to forests and property largescale and still evident today.

With climate change the culprit there is a rush to minimise the impact of fossil fuels by accelerating the transition to clean energy. One hundred nations pledged to end deforestation by 2030 at the recent COP but record numbers of trees have been recently plundered from Brazil’s part of the Amazon.

Despite best intentions therefore, climate change is going to rumble on. How does this global conversation impact on the mere mortal living, for example, in North East England? The late storms of 2021, which continued into 2022 have already been referred to. But with damaging storms likely to be a feature of our weather pattern it is best to be prepared. Melanie Rosby, marketing manager at Hart Door Systems, Newcastle upon Tyne, commented that the initial Hong Kong experience was an opportunity for Hart to develop a very strong shutter system. Just in time as storm Arwen swept across the UK causing significant damage to property.

A particular call to Hart involved a very large grain silo in Northumberland. Located in a shallow valley between the Cheviot and Kyloe hills, the storm barrelled its way south snapping or taking trees out of the ground and roofs off buildings in its track.

Rosby added: “The storm is well documented with widespread and serious destruction being reported across northern England where windspeeds reached frightening levels.

“The silo took the storm’s full force with six steel shutters, one in a machine store and five in a grain store, being damaged beyond repair. There was no other damage.

“We advised the client that the original 20g 65mm original shutters, where the wind-lock guides blew out causing irreversible damage, should be replaced with a heavier steel shutter comprising 18g laths and 100mm wind-lock guides.

“Five shutters measuring 5.7 metres wide x 5.9 metres high and one of 6 metres wide x 5.07 metres high have been fitted to the very large silo. This was our first installation as a result of the Arwen storm more of which are forecast to be a regular feature as a result of Climate Change.

“We were able to draw on our experience with our Typhoon shutter which is proven to be able to withstand violent storms. With more storms of the Arwen strength forecast we have the high-performance roller shutter which is a wind-resistant, robust and electrically operated roller shutter system.

“The shutter is perfect for high security in areas exposed to extreme winds from major storms and it complies with the current British and EEC safety regulations. Further during its development Hart third party tested the shutter which revealed it could withstand various high-pressure levels up to 4000 pascals.

“As a brand it is a perfect match for our Speedor range of high-speed, automatic doors. Just as the Typhoon shutter is about strength and protection, Speedor is about high-speed and frequent use in high-traffic situations, improving working conditions and saving energy.

“Typhoon is a result of climate change, with Speedor we are trying to do something about it.”

*Chris Dobson is a freelance journalist and photographer, editor in chief of ComPropNEE and a member of the Royal Meteorological Society.

Arwen storm damage

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