Rapid roller doors keep indoor heat from escaping.

Rapid roller doors keep indoor heat from escaping.

In the late 1960s, managers at the Swedish company Nordic Felt (now Albany Door Systems) were getting complaints from employees about cold drafts between various production facilities as people and vehicles entered and exited. Searching for a solution, the company began experimenting with the wire gauze sheets used to dry paper during manufacturing. It turned out that these sheets could be fashioned into a flexible door that opens by rolling onto a cylinder.

The new doors were constructed for quick opening and closing with a unique balancing system that was both stable and quiet. A local problem was solved, and the world’s first high-speed roller door was born. Market demand drove the development of “RapidRoll” industrial doors, and by the mid-1970s Albany International had established a door division and an entirely new industry.

Combining function and design

Doors are important to efficient operations of any industrial building. How much air flows through an open entrance depends on three factors: differences in indoor and outdoor air pressure, temperature variations inside and outside, and wind speeds.

Doors that are left fully open, or that open and close slowly, waste energy and can lead to unwanted drafts, noise and exhaust fumes. At the same time, inefficient doors can impede the flow of people and goods, and may even be a safety or hygiene hazard.

Ancient and simple, door technology is nonetheless ripe for improvement in an age of energy consciousness, including automatic opening and closing, sealed gaps between door and frame, better insulation, plastic curtains to reduce air leakage, and systems that move an “air curtain” across the opening to stop the mixing of indoor and outdoor air. And of course technology that opens and closes doors faster.

Energy savings and improved work environment

Albany Door Systems offers a variety of high-speed industrial doors, for instance outer doors that open often, indoor partitions to stop drafts, or dividers used to separate areas with different temperature requirements. The company’s doors are used in heavy industry, equipment protection, storage, airports, fire stations, pharmaceutical plants, food processing facilities, supermarkets and parking garages.

Albany Door Systems notes that a fast roller door provides faster opening and closing, reliable operation, improved safety, more efficient movement of people and equipment in the workplace, a better working environment and reduced energy consumption. The door covering is made from durable materials, and frames and components are manufactured in steel and aluminum. The company claims that some of its doors are still operational after more than one million opening and closing cycles.

Article published in December 2009