Getting the most out of a plant building can take some creative thinking, especially as the needs of the business change. In the case of Duratrack, Inc., a Chicago area-based manufacturer, dealing with a dock area that is too small for the trucks ship and deliver to the company meant using a flexible door solution from Goff's Enterprises.
Duratrack is the developer of the overhead track and trolley systems for use on industrial curtains to door manufacturers worldwide. The company goes back to 1949 and during that time up to today Duratrack has seen steady growth, compelling them to make several moves to locations. The latest move in 1997 was to their current site just north of Chicago's O'Hare Airport in Elk Grove Village, IL
Occupying an existing building cuts costs but always requires the operation to do some thinking and adapting to fit their unique needs. The Duratrack plant has an indoor dock area. Trucks back into it for both delivering the metal stock and shipping out tracks, door parts and other customer fabrication jobs performed in their shop.
The problem for Durtrack is the flat bed trucks that carry their raw material and finished product are longer than the enclosed driveway leading up to the dock. The floor of the plant is three feet above ground level.
This interior driveway leading to the dock has been cut into the floor, making the bed of the trailer level with the plant floor. This design might have been fine for the trucks stopping in for the former owner, but now as these trucks back up to the dock the nose of the tractor extends past the doorway, preventing the door to close.
Certainly cold air and rain would blow into the building around the parked truck. Originally the protrusion was not much of an issue and Duratrack lived with it. The area inside the plant near the dock was mostly storage racking and even with the cold Chicagoland winters most of the employees worked far enough away from that area to be comfortable. But not for long.
Eventually shifts in the workflow and the demands of increased business pushed production closer to the dock. The combination of precision machining and numb fingers was not desirable.
According to Product/Marketing Manager DeWitt Krumm, "as sales grew our floor plan was getting tight. New equipment acquisitions were pushing production to the front of the shop."
"We had to address that problem of the dock not fully enclosing the trucks. These trucks pulling into our building five, six, seven times a day or more exposed us to the cold air and winds that can be very disruptive to our shop employees and our productivity."
The open doorway made them open to alternatives. They considered, but didn't try, strip curtains. Krumm said the verdict was "we realized the curtains would contact the exhaust stacks on diesel trucks, creating a smoke and fire hazard."
They thought about and then ruled out air curtains. An overhead crane used for loading/unloading trucks limited mounting access.
The answer however was right in front of the Duratrack management.
"Turns out we make the side mounting brackets for Goff's DRAWTITE II powered roll-up door and so we played with the idea of using it for our dock doorway," relates Krumm.
The DRAWTITE II door turned out to be the flexible solution for employee comfort. Though no door can fully seal the Duratrack doorway when a truck is in it, the DRAWTITE II door limits exposure as much as possible.
The logic in the control box is programmed so that as the door closes it the door esdge senses the presence of the truck, the door stops its descent and the vinyl panel drapes around the hood of the tractor. The combination of the vehicle and the door cuts doorway exposure to just 10% for improved room comfort and to reduce energy costs.
When the truck leaves, the door's 36 inches/sec. operating speed totally seals the 14' x 10' doorway in less than five seconds, minimizing outdoor exposure. A 110-volt external motor powers the door and is capable of 4,000 cycles a day.
The original solid panel door remains on the doorway for off-hours lock-up. During the high traffic workday, the DRAWTITE II door sufficiently blocks cold air and winds, containing heating and cooling energy within the building.
The DRAWTITE II tensioning system keeps the door rollers within the guide track, even if winds reach 70 mph. At the same time the reinforced track traps the rollers within its custom extruded cavity.
At the top of the panel, an EPDN dynamic seal blocks the entry of bad weather, pests and debris. Backing up the top section is an 18 oz coated vinyl valence panel that also protects the door roller tube.
EPDM seals along the sides ensure a tight seal at the vertical edge. The pultrusion pockets are reinforced with additional 18-oz coated vinyl and double lock stitched for durability. At ground level the soft door panel edge completes the seal by draping to the contours of the driveway.
Goff manufactures the door panel to handle the rugged conditions at this plant. Goff's coated vinyl is designed to stand up to the harshest of weather. The 18-oz coated vinyl meets NFPA 701 standards for flame retardancy.
The clear window on the door panel allows sunlight and a view of approaching traffic. This 40-mil double polished window meets California fire marshal standards.
"What caught our eye," notes Krumm, "is the DRAWTITE provides a solid barrier to make a tough to solve problem livable and economical for the company and our employees."
Closing on truck inside - The Flexible DRAWTITE II wraps around the hood of the truck parked at the Duratrack dock to minimize the cold air a precipitation coming inside their manufacturing plant.
Closing on truck outside - Exterior view of the DRAWTITE II wrapping around the truck hood.
Opening - At the Durtrack facility the DRAWTITE II allows rapid access to the dock to minimize interior exposure yet provides a tight seal around the doorway.
Please send inquires to:
Goff's Enterprises, Inc.
1228 Hickory St.
Pewaukee, WI 53072
Telephone: (800) 234-0337
Fax: (262) 691-3255