Ed Wilks, Operations Manager at loading bay equipment specialist, sara LBS, looks back over sara’s developments in 2011 and discusses what is next for the industry.
Two new additions to our popular sara LBS Sprint range of high-speed internal and external doors have seen sales grow considerably in the food processing and clean room sectors; offsetting the general slowdown in the construction of new warehouses that require complete new loading bay solutions including doors, scissor lifts, dock levellers and loading bay sealing pods. Retrofit and upgrade work on both internal and external access systems has also remained strong. The company specialises in hard wearing, but technically advanced solutions that improve safety, and reduce energy use, both of which are key issues for the industry going forwards.
The Sprint Cleanroom Door is the first roller-shutter door to be tested by the Fraunhofer Institute for clean room suitability. It is classified to EN ISO 14644-1 Class 5 meaning that it is able to maintain 10 (5) = 100,000 particles per m3 consistently in clean rooms with a pressure difference of up to 50 Pa. The door’s motor and barrel cover, frame and bottom profile are all constructed from stainless steel to aid washdown operations and all components are well sealed to help increase air ingress protection.
The Rapid Food Door has been designed to meet the specific requirements for hygiene and temperature stability found within the food industry. It is designed for fast opening and closing to ensure constant temperatures can be easily maintained in sensitive areas. The entire door is made of V2A stainless steel which is compatible with the cleaning agents employed in the industry; the smooth surface areas also help to ensure that dirt and debris does not accumulate. The side frames are hinged to enable thorough cleaning and a gutter on the bottom profile prevents liquids from the curtain dripping into the clean opening.
In common with other doors in the Sprint range, both of the new releases are capable of high opening and closing speeds; maximum speeds of up to 2 m/s are achievable. The high speed is made possible by the inclusion of sara’s MCC Vector Control system that can deliver a wide range of speeds extremely smoothly. sara's patented non-contact safety beam is also available on both doors as an optional extra, reducing the risks of touch contamination.
New UK headquarters
As well as increasing its product portfolio, sara LBS has completed a merge with IDS Industrial Door Systems (Southern) Ltd. and invested in a new, custom built facilities in Hemel Hempstead. The two companies, who have been part of the same group for a number of years, were joined to provide improved levels of efficiency and service to customers; giving them direct access to sales, service and technical experts. The new building has improved operational functionality for sara, helping to ensure lead times are kept to a minimum, and created a number of new jobs.
As markets continue to change and new technologies emerge, it is important to consider loading bays and industrial doors. We are seeing more and more specialised projects where customers require bespoke equipment for their applications. This is good for the industry as it encourage investment in development and product improvement; sara LBS believes for example that the future will focus more and more on safety and efficiency, as these are the key features of our latest products, developed as a result of market demands and will continue to be so.
As doors begin to open at faster speeds it is essential to develop technology that protects personnel, equipment and goods from damage due to collision.
Technological innovations such as the non-contact safety beam found on the Sprint range help to reduce these risks by using pre-running photocells to detect objects that are causing a potential obstruction in the doorway. The improved safety also allows for development of automated systems that can operate without risk of failure or damage.
With energy costs rising and operational budgets coming under stricter review, there is more pressure than ever for warehouse and facilities managers to ensure that their buildings are as energy efficient as possible. Investing in the correct insulating technologies, such as doors, during build can help to reduce CO2 output by 16%; so companies looking to reduce carbon footprints and increase sustainability should be interested in their doors.
A number of recent projects have been won on the basis of sara product’s insulation technologies, an eco-brewery and an airport extension are good examples where automatic doors are working with different buildings to retain either heated or cooled atmospheres, and having a hugely positive effect on running costs.