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Doors: Rolling, Bifold and Walkthrough

Custom solutions, controlled costs: Turnkey door systems offer all-inclusive and attractive alternative

When planning construction of an aircraft hangar, museum or amphitheatre, contractors may feel like they're on a game show. "What's behind the door?" they often ask themselves. Will the door system have additional component costs above and beyond the quoted price? Will the doors provide excellent function while also maintaining the building's aesthetics? Will the system be engineered to account for special demands and requirements of the building's operation?

Specifying a turnkey door system eliminates surprises that may be lurking behind the wrong door. A turnkey system includes all the necessary components-from the anchor bolts to the upper track hardware-at one price that covers everything. This type of door system greatly simplifies the quoting and bidding processes, with no surprises after the fact.

A turnkey system also brings a higher degree of cost efficiency to a project, because the supplier of a turnkey door system specializes in producing every component, tailoring each to complement the rest of the building. The turnkey manufacturer also can offer factory-direct pricing on the package.


The quality of a door system is heavily influenced by the engineering and design expertise provided by the manufacturer. A door system must combine aesthetics and function like no other part of a building. For the best project outcome, a contractor needs a door system manufacturer that can incorporate panel styles, colors, window styles and other architectural requirements that are compatible with the overall building design. In many cases, projects require the design and production of a unique custom panel from scratch.

For projects involving door system replacement, doors often require panel and window styles that match or complement older building styles. Designing with "retro" considerations is especially important when government or military regulations dictate specific requirements.

Case in Point

The door system manufacturer will provide optimal results if it develops the system within the project's overall design/build process. This engineering, which is synchronous with the total building development, produces a door system of maximum compatibility and superior operation. As an example, a new aircraft hangar in Hawaii was limited on space due to high land costs. Exterior door pockets for housing retracted door panels could not be accommodated on the small plot of land. Norco Manufacturing Corp. of Franksville, Wis., designed and produced a turnkey universal door system, which fully retracts the panels to inside the hangar. The space-efficient panel and track design also maintains nearly all the facility's interior room when the panels are retracted.

Engineering expertise by the door system manufacturer responds to unusual requirements while maintaining the structural integrity and user-friendly operation of the doors. One recent Norco project involved a hangar, which needed to house a jet that was longer than the hangar itself. For both ends of the hangar, Norco custom-designed door panels with openings for the jet's nose and tail. The panels fit around the ends of the jet while still sealing out the weather. The panels fully close when the jet is not in the hangar.

In another recent Norco project, the hangar door system required unique customizing of the lower track hardware. A railway system runs through the hangar facility, and the door system is required to traverse over the rails while also providing a weathertight seal. Norco engineered and produced the door system, which provides the unique mobility required.

Technology, Service

Automated controls are an innovative technology that leading manufacturers are offering to enhance the operation of their turnkey systems. These controls, located on an easy-touse control panel, ensure smooth operation that is free from noisy banging when doors are opened and closed.

A first-rate manufacturer of turnkey door systems also is committed to providing the final essential component: service after the sale. The reputable door system manufacturer is accessible to the contractor and building owner via telephone and e-mail. If problems occur or if questions arise regarding routine maintenance, the door system manufacturer should be ready with helpful support. The door manufacturer who is truly committed to its customer will make an on-site support call if necessary.

A turnkey door system, when designed and engineered with excellence, opens up limitless ways to enhance a metal building project.

David Eberle is the president and CEO of Norco Manufacturing Corp., Franksville, Wis. Visit for more information.