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Tall High-Performance Doors Keep New Cold Storage Facilities Moving Efficiently


very tall fabric doors

In recent years, cold storage operators have realized that it’s less expensive to build facilities taller than to invest in additional real estate to build a larger horizontal footprint. That, in turn, has driven growing demand for taller doors to service these mega-facilities.

The requirements for these big doors are, shall we say, a tall order:

  • They must open and close quickly, to help keep the flow of material handling equipment and personnel moving – and to prevent air incursion into refrigerated and frozen rooms.
  • They need to seal well and provide high R-value insulation for excellent energy efficiency.
  • They need to be self-repairing, so they can be put back into service quickly if they’re struck by a forklift or other vehicle.
  • Installing a large door can be a logistical challenge. So the management of the facility needs to be confident that it will provide a positive return on their considerable investment in installing and maintaining it. That means door reliability is a must!

James Sylvester, a longstanding Rytec dealer/installer who has managed a significant number of large door installations, explains: “For starters, these installations require special lift equipment that can reach the elevation of the top of the door opening – up to 24 feet, in some cases – plus two scissor lifts instead of one. You also need a lot of floor room, between 18 to 25 feet deep on either side of the opening,” he points out.

“Larger doors require more manpower and additional hardware: more conduit, more electrical and three to four times as many anchors to support the weight of the door and the header. Everything takes more time and effort to complete the installation,” he adds.

Sylvester also emphasizes that the working environment can be very challenging – with temperatures as low as minus 10 degrees. “That means your installation crew must take frequent breaks to warm up. That makes the overall installation take longer.”

He also notes that costs for the typical tall door installation in a cold storage facility can run significantly higher than “average”-sized doors – often up to twice as much as a normal-sized door opening.

With that much at stake, the door must be efficient and reliable, able to handle hundreds or thousands of cycles a day for many years.

Fortunately, Rytec’s high-performance doors are up to the task.

One cold storage operator’s experience

One regional maintenance manager for an international warehousing and logistics management company recently chatted with us about his experience with Rytec’s tall doors.

Rytec: You’ve been using Rytec doors in your cold storage facilities for many years, haven’t you?

Regional Maintenance Manager: Yes, some of our facilities are using Fast-Fold® doors that have been in service for over 20 years – well beyond their life expectancy. Several of them have over 2 million cycles on them. We’re now in the process of upgrading them with newer versions.

Rytec: How big are the door openings in your facilities?

Regional Maintenance Manager: 16 feet is not uncommon for us. We also have many that are 12 and 14 feet tall.

Rytec: Which doors do you use for the tall refrigerated or freezer room openings?

Regional Maintenance Manager: We use Turbo-Slide® bi-parting doors where they make the most sense. They’re typically a little more expensive than roll-up doors. But they have better seals than other doors we’ve tried. That means we don’t have to run blowers on them to prevent frost build-up. That makes a significant difference from an energy standpoint. They’re also more reliable. And they come with a five-year panel damage replacement warranty. For other non-refrigerated rooms, we often specify Turbo-Slide® doors.

Rytec: How do you decide when to replace your older doors?

Regional Maintenance Manager: In some cases, they’ve got a lot of wear and tear on them, or parts are getting hard to obtain. The curtains have seen their fair share of wear. Because of the large door openings and the weights of the curtains, we think long and hard before replacing them. They have quarter-inch thick plastic rolls – very heavy.

I often specify Rytec doors for these replacements because of their durability and their self-repairing mechanisms. After a forklift-door collision, they can be back in service in less than a minute. I know other manufacturers are working on this capability, but they require more preventive maintenance and don’t work as well in the tall door configurations. Also, they don’t seem to seal quite as well.

Contact us today to discuss your tall door cold storage needs.


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