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Hangar Door Safety is Paramount

Safety considerations when deciding on a replacement hangar door

Schweiss Sept18 1

Everybody wants to get the most out of their hydraulic or bi-fold door. But there are things to consider when deciding upon a new or replacement hangar door. First off, make sure your door manufacturer is heavy on safety.

A hydraulic, one-piece door swings outward when opening. So that means you should have a “no-park zone” in front of it that extends out about equal to the height of your door. The taller the door, the further it will swing out. For hydraulic doors it is recommended to have windows in the door or a walk door with a window to look out of when you are opening it to make sure there is no obstruction outside.

Liftstraps and Sensors

For bi-fold doors, liftstraps are far better than outdated cables. Polyester straps are stronger with a tensile strength of 29,000 pounds each, and won’t snap, rust, get tangled or wrap around like cables have a tendency to, and they safely distribute the load on a door. They are also quieter and lift your door faster than cables. Cables and liftstraps should be checked frequently to make sure there is no damage visible to them.

Patented Schweiss liftstrap doors have top override jiggle switches that disconnect power to the door if the upper limit fails or if limits are overridden. This safety feature is designed to prevent the door from traveling beyond its recommended clear opening height; it stops the door automatically.

Electric photo eye sensors (just like a garage door) can be mounted near the floor level to prevent or stop the door from closing when an obstruction breaks the detection beam. Door base safety edges on the bottom of the door protect the entire width of the door opening; if it comes in contact with an obstruction it will send the door to the fully open position.

Doors can be fitted with warning lights and a horn to alert persons in the area that the door is in operation. This feature is recommended for doors that will be equipped with remote radio controls.

A two-button constant contact dead man switch will prevent the operator from leaving the control panel while the door is in motion, either up or down. When the operator takes his finger off the control the door will stop at whatever level it is at and the motor will shut off. The push button wall control should be mounted out of reach of children.

Every door we manufacture is furnished with an electrical safety disconnect that allows the operator to disable the doors for service, maintenance and emergency backup operations. Emergency backup systems are also available to open or close your door in case of a power outage.

Doors should be properly labeled with warning signs and warning labels that are required to be placed as indicated on the door. They should be delivered with the door along with a manual that directs where they are to be placed. We wind rate doors to meet standard local codes in all 50 states and abroad. Extra heavy wind loading requirements are often ordered by customers in hurricane areas. Wind pins and wall pins are available on the door frames to increase wind load.

Type of Hangars

Another thing to consider is the type of hangar you are building. It should be properly designed to hold the weights and moments of either door. Make sure you are getting the spec sheets from the door manufacturer that shows the weights and moments that the builder will want to see. That should include the weight of the cladding you are planning to put on the outside and inside of your door, whether it be sheet metal, glass, wood or whatever. You don’t want to buy a door and then find out your building wasn’t built strong enough to hang your new door.

Pat Schmidt is technical and feature editor at Schweiss Doors, Hector, Minn. To learn more, call (507) 426-8273, email or visit