Garage doors figure in the equation

Rubber roll-up doors save time and money

By Kurt Angerrmeier

Bus maintenance management rightfully pays great attention to the quality of the technicians and the equipment operating within the walls of their building. This level of scrutiny is important in ensuring that their fleet operates reliably to meet route schedules and optimize on-time performance. However, if the maintenance staff fails to pay proper attention to the doors to the maintenance facility itself, they may inadvertently be putting these schedules at risk.

Typically, the doors to older garages are made of steel. Though these doors provide rugged doorway coverage, roll-up doors with flexible yet tough rubber panels are an almost trouble-free alternative.

The UTAH Transit Authority (UTA) recently replaced two of their steel doors at their Orem bus storage facility with rubber panel roll-up doors to help handle the 100 buses that enter and exit this temperature-controlled facility daily. The new doors offer the UTA benefits over their steel door predecessors.

Continual doorway coverage — According to UTA maintenance, buses coming through the doorway have clipped the old steel doors, causing damage to both the door and the vehicle. As steel doors open and close slowly, drivers tend to misjudge doorway access at times.

Disabled doors also leave the doorway uncovered, leaving the technicians and sensitive maintenance equipment inside exposed to the weather. During colder months, crippling a door means the Orem facility heating system has to work harder to keep the technicians comfortable and productive, costing the operation more in HVAC costs. A disabled door also forces management to deal with the hassle of diverting buses to alternative doors.

Slow operating steel doors hamper buses leaving for their routes. Faster rubber roll-up doors save time and better protect personnel and equipment inside.

A high-speed roll-up door generally keeps its panel out of the way of approaching buses. Should the door get hit, its ¼-inch engineered styrene butadiene rubber panel is as tough as the tires on the bus. In addition, these doors offer no resistance to the impact, preventing damage to the bus. When hit, the panel releases from its side guides and can be easily reset when the door rolls up and then rethreads back into its guide.

Efficient operation — A slow operating steel door burns the clock for buses waiting to leave the garage and get to the route. Faster operating rubber roll-up doors not only cut the waiting time, they also better protect the technicians and equipment inside from inclement weather.

Sealed doorway — Because all doors get hit from time to time, banged-in steel doors often become misaligned to the doorframe, creating gaps that enable costly air infiltration. On roll-up doors, the flexible rubber panels ride along guides that also provide a shield against energy loss. A gasket seal at the bottom of the door conforms to the contours of the floor.

Confining maintenance to the buses — Parts on a steel door wear out frequently from the strain of handling heavy panel weight and operating torque. Door parts such as door springs, counterbalance parts and drive motors need constant replacing. The height and hazards of replacing the torsion springs often used on these doors can be a safety issue.

Roll-up door design eliminates many of these parts. The designers of these doors use electronics to replace the functions handled mechanically on earlier models and on steel doors to provide more responsive operation. On-board programmable input and outputs interface with motion sensors and other actuation sensors when a bus approaches, in addition to providing smoother motion to lengthen mechanical door part life.

Pedestrian safety — These same responsive electronic systems on roll-up doors contribute to greater doorway safety, being better able to detect the presence of people in the doorway. Just the weight of the 12 foot by 14 foot doors the UTA had at the Orem facility would pose a safety hazard for their employees in the path of the closing panels.

These advancements in design on roll-up doors mean that bus maintenance doorways can be covered and protected, and the door panel can get out of the way so that buses run on schedule. BR

Kurt Angerrmeier serves as marketing vice president, Rytec High Performance Doors, Jackson, WI.

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