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Doors: Rolling, Bifold and Walkthrough

Save space, achieve grace: Custom overhead door systems accommodate unique needs (CASE STUDY)

As pre-engineered metal buildings continue to evolve, so does the need for

innovative door systems. Combining aesthetics and high functionality, the door

system often must be the smartest link in the project chain.

The door system is the perfect companion for the pre-engineered metal building when it's designed and manufactured to the same high-quality standards building system manufacturers use. A door system manufacturer with integrated capabilities uses best practices through all phases, from computerized project design through CNC machining and state-of-the-art welding. As a result, the door system enhances the project's pre-engineered integrity in many ways. Door panels complement the building's wall panels, matching paint colors, finishes and ribbing of the main wall panels. An integrated manufacturer of door systems also can incorporate the building's window styles into the door panels to increase natural light inside the building and enhance exterior aesthetics.

Door systems that complement architecture also can bring a higher level of quality to retrofit, replacement and renovation projects. The architect and contractor can achieve top-flight results by specifying a door system with panels and windows that complement the existing building's design. In some cases, longstanding codes and regulations may dictate style requirements for the exterior. A door system manufacturer with proven expertise in customization can meet the requirements with eyepleasing results.


Hanging Around

In addition to bringing sizzle into a project, an integrated manufacturer of door systems provides the structural and technical expertise that results in systems that erect simply, operate smoothly and provide rugged reliability. This is no small achievement considering the unusual demands an application can place on a door system. Aircraft hangars, for instance, often require that door systems accommodate large aircraft in a tightly confined space. The hangar's overall size may be limited because the availability or prohibitive cost of land. Innovative engineering is required to achieve large-scale capabilities in limited space. In Hawaii, where land costs are very high, every square foot is critical. To enable an aircraft hangar to fit onto a small plot of land, Norco Manufacturing Corp. of Franksville, Wis., designed a Universal Door System that fully retracts inside the building on a curved track. No exterior door pocket was needed to house retracted panels, saving the critical square footage.

Other Factors

As the hangar in Hawaii demonstrates, when a door system manufacturer offers in-house design and manufacturing of the upper track and lower rolling hardware, higher levels of customization and cost efficiency are possible. Another such recent project involved a hangar that has a railway entering the building. Norco designed a door system with lower rolling hardware that traverses over the rails while also providing a tight fit and sound closure around the railway. Well-engineered upper and lower hardware is important for many reasons. Hardware design must account for factors such as wind uplift forces and, in colder climates, snow and ice buildup. Quality weather seals are important for door systems in all climates.


A high degree of structural customization often extends to the door panels. In another recent hangar project, the door panels on each end of the hangar required custom-shaped openings to accommodate the nose and tail of an aircraft that extended beyond the perimeter of the hangar. Expertise in all phases from design engineering through panel manufacturing enabled Norco to satisfy the unusual application.

Taking Control

Automated controls are opening up door panels to the future. Variable speed drives provide smooth, controlled movement of doors that is free from noisy banging when doors begin and complete their path. A door system manufacturer with design and engineering expertise can tailor automated controls for the many door panel configurations.

For an aircraft hangar, industrial facility or an architectural structure, such as an amphitheater, a well engineered door system can be one of the highlights from both an aesthetic and functional viewpoint.

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