37 seconds sold me - Door Speed can make the difference
Obviously a guy doesn't spend several thousand dollars for a big hydraulic door because it opens and closes in 37 seconds. But surprisingly 'door speed' is a bit of a factor, at least for Terry Albright, Renville County farmer who also runs a fleet of 'over the road' semi rigs.
"Yes, I was looking for door speed. We're out here in the wide-open Minnesota prairie and this challenging winter was a prime example. When I'm running rigs in and out of our heated shop, you want a quick opening/closing door when its 10 degrees below zero with 20-30 mile per hour winds blasting out of the northwest," said Albright, a conscientious guy when it comes to production efficiency.
He's talking about a big 42' x 17' tall Red Power hydraulic door recently installed by Schweiss Doors into the west end of his 44' x 100' pole shed/maintenance shop, an older building with 16' sidewalls. "I needed to maintain my ceiling height but realized if I hung a bifold I'd lose about 18-inches of headroom," explained Albright." Instead Schweiss built a steel header and matching I-beams for each end of the header to support the 3800-lb. hydraulic door.
Normally a 2 h.p. electric motor powers such a door; Albright wanted speed so his unit is powered by a 5 h.p. electric motor. He's also powering his hydraulic door with automatic transmission oil rather than conventional hydraulic oil. Why? "Hydraulic oil is just that much slower. If in the winter I'm not using this end of the building that hydraulic oil would be cold, and slow. This door with transmission oil is definitely faster."
That big new hydraulic door supports three windows plus insulation panels for an R19 value. Why the windows? His matter of fact answer, "I like the free, natural light nature provides. Plus as we get older we don't see quite as good so windows just brighten the total building. He also installed six double panel windows into the south wall.
Windows in that big hydraulic serve another purpose too. "When you open a door this big you want to make certain there's nothing sitting outside."
His new hydraulic also has three high-intensity lighting fixtures fastened midway up the door providing 1200 watts of additional lighting power should he or any of his farming/trucking crew be doing some late evening work on a piece of farm machinery or a truck. "This extra lighting just provides a bit more convenience for the entire building. Even when the door is shut down, we now have more interior lighting for the west end of the structure."
Making the door and building even more functional, especially during winter 'snow' conditions is a new heated concrete ramp, 64' wide and 15' deep. "Any farmer or trucker will tell you that having to start up a tractor or skid loader to move snow so you can open a door just isn't an efficient situation."
Albright bought into the 'drive-through' convenience of farm shops a few years back when he built a big 80' x 150' pole building machine shed with 18' x 50' Schweiss strap bifolds at both ends. With this new hydraulic on the west end of his older maintenance shop which already had a roll-up door on the east end, he again has drive through convenience. "It's not an absolute, but in the total scheme of operational efficiency this does make your buildings that much more functional."
Big doors are always a safety concern be they bifold or hydraulic. For his new hydraulic door, electronic photo-eye cell units installed at the base instantly stop the door in an emergency. If the beam is broken by a person or an object in the doorway, the door automatically stops. Albright knows about OSHA rules and regulations which require the open/close button to be held down during operation. This electronic eye sidesteps that issue.
"And if a hydraulic line should break, or a cylinder pops, it stops the door in place. It's not going to come crashing down," noted Albright. He had the hydraulic pump system mounted ceiling high midway through the building saying that if he decides to put a new door in the east side the same system could serve both doors.
He now has four Schweiss doors in his farming/trucking operation. Three of the doors have free standing headers. "Sure, you spend a bit more but they really lessen the structural stresses that a big door can put on a building, especially if you have the door open in windy conditions," concluded Albright.