Roller doors
Deconstructing Industrial is a series that breaks down Industrial sites into its core components and asks - how should we look after them? This week - roller doors.
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Terry Dartnall from Commercial and Industrial Doors

Terry has a love of diving - this HUGE cray was caught in Foveaux Strait.

We sat down for coffee to talk about his day-to-day work with roller doors around New Zealand.


Roller door must-knows:

  1. Roller doors are often made to measure and their design life is approx. 15-25 years.
  2. Key components include the motor, slats and controller - these should be checked at least every 6 months for faults.
  3. Major developments in roller door technology are likely to be in remote fault monitoring of key assets. There has also been a lot of development in combining motors and control units.


SPEAKERS: Georgie Fenwicke, Terry Dartnall

Georgie Fenwicke  00:00

Industrial zones are the powerhouse of cities.  

This series, Deconstructing Industrial is brought to you by Frankie - Industrious Property Software.  

Over the next few weeks you'll hear from some of the best in the business as we break down Industrial sites to their core components.  

I'm Georgie Fenwicke, your host.

Today's topic - roller doors.  

We're joined by Key Account manager, Terry Dartnall from Commercial and Industrial Door Services.

Mechanical Engineering at its best, roller doors are used throughout industrial sites today and can be specified for security, truck and forklift access and in cold stores to retain the heat or cold.

Doors will typically have a lifetime of between 15 to 20 years if well maintained.

Terry and I met up at a cafe in Auckland to talk about roller doors.

Hi, Terry, how are you today?

Terry Dartnall  

Yeah, not too bad.

Georgie Fenwicke  

Very good. Very good. Now we met last year at the FMANZ conference. What do you do? And how did you get into the industry?

Terry Dartnall  

Well, it's been 15 years, I've been on the door service industry. And I met the owner of current place , Commercial Doors at a conference. We just got talking. And here I am four years later.

Georgie Fenwicke  

So the roller door industry is, particularly interesting because you've got both bespoke products and then you've got off-the-shelf products. What are the major things we should know about when we think about roller doors in the industrial space?

Terry Dartnall  

So you've got a whole mixture of different ones - you've got roller doors, rooms, sectional doors, high speed doors, rapid rise doors, refrigeration, so all depends very much on what somebody wants. There's a lot of variation.

Georgie Fenwicke  

Terry, how long do roller doors typically last and what sort of warranties are we talking about?

Terry Dartnall  

Commonly asked question. How long does a roller door last? There are so many variables on there, but if you're talking on industrial door that goes up in the morning, down at night, you should be expecting 15 to 25 years and they still along 10 year gap and that is all environment.  Warranty? Generally you get a one year warranty when it's brand new, but the reality is the doors either gonna play up as soon it is installed or it's just gonna run for years so yeah, warranties are one year.  

Georgie Fenwicke  

What factors do people usually consider and what do you consider when you decide to repair or refit a door entirely?

Terry Dartnall  

Yeah, so no black and white answer to that one.  Something we say would be great if a roller door had a use by date on it and then you'd know for sure when to replace it.  But so many factors, as mentioned a minute ago, about how long a door will last - where its location is exposed to the elements, the use of size, how poorly or how well it's been looked after.  Your question is based on if you've got to do some repairs to your door - when is it when is it a choice between repairing it or replacing it? And one of the first things we look at into the repair is is why does it need repair? It might be the motors blown. And you think, well, if it's just the motor, that's fine, I can replace the motor. But maybe the motors blown because all the slats are torn and backwards and keep jamming. So you replace the motor and you're going to have to same issue crop up in a couple of years time. So a lot of it is around why does the door need repairs? And if the overall condition is not good, your miles or throw it away and replace it?

Georgie Fenwicke  

I've seen some interesting photos of of a roller door jamming and buckling - is that kind of a surefire reason to sort of throw it away and start again?

Terry Dartnall  

Not necessarily. It happens all sorts various reasons why it might jam. We quite often will just panel beat it back into shape, and that door can last for any number of years. But again, if the condition of the slats is poor. Yeah, that's your overriding one. But sometimes it's just a matter of somebody backed into a door and you just beat it back into shape.

Georgie Fenwicke  

In the industrial space, when we're talking about a warehouse or a yard, what are the key things to do to look after it on an annual basis.?

Terry Dartnall  

So the main things we were checking doors and maintain them, you want to check the fixing are all secure.  Obviously, you don't want to come loose and drop off the wall.  Lubrication of the guides so the door actually opens and closes smoothly.  The motor, the motor shouldn't leak oil or make any excessive noise.  Limits on the door important that the door stops where it's meant to stop when I say the fully open or fully shut, and also very important.  The safety beams - make sure that if your doors got safety beams and they're actually working was one of the biggest issues. Vehicles items parked in the doorway the door comes down and whoops. There's your issue.

Georgie Fenwicke  

Talking about what a complete door install looks like - how long does it take you guys typically and how many people?

Terry Dartnall  

Yeah, so if you're looking to replace the door, the first thing we look at when we go to is access, how easy is it going to be to get into the site to replace the door, head room with excetera.  So if you replace you're looking roughly 10 days minimum, sometimes four weeks lead time to get a new door depending on how busy everything is at the time.  The actual day itself. If it's a straightforward one, you get the whole thing done in about four hours. You're going to have to have a truck and a lifting equipment and probably three guys, but there are ones obviously a lot more complex where guides that are welded and you got to grind off the welds well and weld new guides so there's a lot of variables that straightforward for us.

Georgie Fenwicke  

Obviously when a door kind of gets to the point where it needs a complete refit, and it's really Interesting to understand Okay, what does it look like to do a complete door door install? Could you take us through how long it takes the steps that our listeners are going to need to know about and process.

Terry Dartnall  

Yeah here from our point of view - the first thing we do is go and measure up what is the daylight opening up with the doors going. We'll get the daylight measurement, we'll prepare a quote. When the quotes accepted, we then get the installers to go and do a second measure.  So it's the usual one - measure twice, cut once.  And the installer looks at things with a different set of eyes than us and sometimes picks up things we may have missed. But between us, yeah basically two site visits, confirmation, and then just scheduling the install date at a time and date that works for everyone.

Georgie Fenwicke  

And how long does the install typically take?

Terry Dartnall  

Yeah the install if a straightforward one can I get it done in about four hours, but there are many there's other factors guides grinding off and then re welding. So, yeah, minimum four hours, three guys, truck lifting equipment.

Georgie Fenwicke  

And final question for you, Terry. Um, what's the latest that we can expect in the technology of roller doors?

Terry Dartnall  

Yeah, so everyone, with their roller doors, they want them all to be faster, quieter, more economical. So there's always development going on. The biggest thing we've noticed some technological changes is in the motor and controllers are becoming more integrated. They are allowing remote monitoring of operation and going forward will have a lot more faultfinding capacity so you can identify and prevent faults actually happening. Interfacing facing with alarms. But yeah, technological as many around the motor and controller today.

Georgie Fenwicke  

Do they tend to come with cycle counters? That's particularly interesting because a door is, or where the same doors installed on the same day and you have a high use vs a low use obviously the repairs are going to be required earlier for the high use one.

Terry Dartnall  

You know if you've got an up-spec controller if you like, they will count cycle counts. If you've just got a basic controller, it probably won't count your cycle counts at all but yes if you want it that is available when you can get cycle counts.

Georgie Fenwicke  

Is there a typical timeframe  where repairs are required after a particular cycle count?

Terry Dartnall  

That is very relevant to your high speed doors. They have components that will wear out after - it's huge one preventative maintenance e.g. cambelt in your car replace it after 100,000 kilometres? Similar things with belts? springs? Yes, they have a certain number of cycles where they recommend that you replace them. So yes, your your higher technology ones will have cycle counts and will have pre determined recommendations for when to replace parts.

Georgie Fenwicke  

Now thank you very much for your time today, Terry. Tt's been an absolute pleasure talking to you about roller doors. Anyone who's been stuck in stuck in a warehouse after five o'clock with a bit of an issue will appreciate just how important getting repairs and maintenance of a roller door right are.  Looking forward to talking further in future about the latest technology and some of the some of the IoT movements in future. Thanks for your time.

Terry Dartnall  

Thanks very much, pleasure

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