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Doors: Rolling, Bifold and Walkthrough

Watch Costs Roll Away: Vinyl Roll-Up Dock Doors Get Traffic Through Faster

With energy costs on the rise and at the forefront of businesses discussions, "going green" is more than just a corporate mantra these days. Crude oil is inching toward $160 a barrel and may have shot past that figure by the time this article appears in print.

Electric prices between 2007 and 2009 are expected to increase by at least 6.5 percent. It's no wonder businesses are turning over every stone in an attempt to reduce the bite energy is taking from their bottom line.

Out the Door

For many commercial and industrial buildings, that dock door represents real bleeding to the energy budget, enabling hundreds of dollars to escape if it is not closed properly or if the door does not sufficiently seal the doorway.

Opening and closing sectional doors as traffic moves in and out is a costly practice, but it's one that is repeated in industrial buildings. Worse, the cumbersome process prompts employees to rationalize keeping the doorway open between usages.

A comparison study was performed using normal 14- by 14-foot (4- by 4-m) sectional overhead door with a travel speed of 3 inches (76 mm) per second against a 14- by 14-foot vinyl roll-up door with a travel speed of 36 inches (914 mm) per second. The study showed that for a doorway separating two areas with a 20-degree temperature differential, based on current energy costs, a faster door could show savings of 50 cents per use.

Four high-speed roll-up doors used 10 times a day would save an estimated $5,200 in energy costs annually; this is in addition to the increased efficiencies found when drivers do not have to wait for slow-moving traditional doors. Plus, by using remote control devices from the forklift cab, the vehicle can roll through the open doorway without stopping.

Pick Your Piece

A fabric roll-up door would not replace a solid panel door on an exterior doorway. The solid panel sectional door offers security and greater insulation during times when the doorway is not in use. However, a doorway can have both a sectional door and a roll-up door to use at different times of the day.

The effect of temperature differentials separated by the doorway can have an impact on interior rooms, as well. For example, a facility could have a temperature-controlled production area accessible by a doorway that leads to an ambient-temperature warehouse section.

In addition, vinyl roll-up doors offer a better seal than solid sectional doors, sealing the doorway at these points along the full perimeter:

  • Top: Double baffle under the valence and a valence panel prevents wind from blowing into the building.
  • Sides: Rugged, custom-extruded guide track traps the rollers to prevent them from blowing out of the door frame. EPDM seals on both sides ensure a tight seal at vertical edges.
  • Bottom: Soft vinyl safety edge conforms to the floor's contours.

These doors, despite their vinyl curtains, are ready for these heavy-duty applications. The curtains can be 18-ounce coated vinyl and can meet NFPA 701 standards for flame retardancy.


Added Benefits

All doorways are moving targets for the vehicles passing through them. A door knocked out of action is often a door left open until it can be repaired.

Roll-up doors include breakaway capability. When the door is hit by a moving vehicle, the curtain releases from the side guides and can be quickly and easily reset in the guides, minimizing doorway exposure to energy loss.

Roll-up doors also can feature mesh curtains, which keep pests out while letting fresh air in, further reducing air-conditioning costs. On the flip side, the 65 percent shade-screen factor offered by mesh curtain doors keeps productivity up while keeping non-air-conditioned plant space cooler for longer periods of time. Doors like this can keep the air conditioning off an extra 10 to 20 days a year, depending on the location/climate.

Finally, tensioning systems allow roll-up curtains to withstand winds of up to 70 mph without blowing out of their guides.

We can't do much about energy prices, but lower cost roll-up doors offer a step toward increasing productivity while keeping heated or chilled air in its place.

Tony Goff has been president of Goff's Enterprises Inc., Pewaukee, Wis., since 1987. The company is an innovator in vinyl room separation products for industrial and commercial uses. For more information, go to