All sorts of doors are fitted within horticultural companies. These can be automatic doors such as overhead, high speed and sliding doors, but also non-automatic, such as strip curtains, swing doors, rolling curtains and dock shelters. An annual overall check, as well as regular maintenance, is necessary to prevent problems arising in future.
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In many countries it is required by law to inspect all industrial doors, both mechanical and electrical, annually. “It is not only compulsory but also highly recommended,” say Bart and Wim van Leeuwen of VLP (flexible partitioning) in the Netherlands. “If a part of the door breaks it can lead to dangerous situations and a considerable amount of damage.”
The risk is greatest with an overhead door because this can fall from its highest point. And this door, due to the horizontal panels, is much heavier than a high speed door that is made of polyester fabric.
The cables and fittings on overhead doors, also known as sectional doors, will at a certain moment need replacing. Otherwise a fault could lead to the door falling from a height. Van Leeuwen: “If you replace a part on time you don’t incur so much damage or repair costs later.”
In new doors a safety system is fitted in the rail to prevent it from falling. In the event of the door suddenly falling a hook flips out that holds it in place. As a result, the risk of accidents is smaller. Maintenance is also important to ensure the bottom of the door is adjusted properly. If the door is slightly ajar it leads to significant heat loss.
High speed doors
It is important that the interval time on high speed doors is set properly. When the door re-closes quickly it saves a lot of heat loss or entry of cold air. Also, if the door meets more resistance the parts often wear out faster.
Maintenance is needed to ensure the timely replacement of parts, for example, electrically driven operating systems or sliding profiles on a self-resetting door. If these don’t function properly the door sheet wears away: The replacement of a complete door costs much more than a single element.
With sliding doors it is necessary to check that there is a good freewheeling in the rails and the door closes properly. In addition the correct adjustments, lubrication and safety tests are necessary, such as the pre-tension and release mechanisms.
For all automatic doors, it is important that parts that are subject to wear are lubricated with the right substances. Further, all fittings on the wall need to be properly attached. During the inspection all safety elements need to be tested or given some impetus.
Non-automatic doors are operated manually. Regular cleaning of strip curtains, swing doors (drive-through doors) and windows in other doors is needed in order to see oncoming people or vehicles on the other side. If there is insufficient vision then cleaning or replacement of the window is imperative to prevent dangerous situations.
“A grower should be careful about which cleaning agents he uses because they can affect the pvc-material. Don’t use oil-based substances, just mild soap products. If in doubt contact the supplier,” advises Van Leeuwen. The cleaning of partitioning walls is not compulsory but it is recommended so that plants receive the maximum amount of light.
Docking shelter in loading bay
The replacement of damaged rubber strips and flaps on docking stations is necessary to ensure a good connection with the lorries. During loading and unloading the door is open, and so where there are broken strips, cold air can escape from the (cooled) area. The connection is also important to prevent insects flying in. Replacing damaged flaps is not compulsory but it is advisable.
Text/photos: Harry Stijger