Bifolds Withstand Hurricane Ike

Hurricane Ike didn't destroy Bifold Door

The traditional sectional roll-up doors are history for Houston area manufacturer Powell Electrical Manufacturing. Their new choice: bifolds manufactured by Schweiss Doors, Fairfax, MN.

Because this firm, in business since 1947 and now employing about 2,000 people, is a manufacturer of very large electrical enclosures (up to 40' x 60' for example) it requires large doors exiting the assembly floor area on both ends of the huge 100' x 600' facility. But the roll-ups were high maintenance.

Explains Franz Wagner, a manufacturing engineer with Powell Electrical, "The roll-ups were very susceptible to damage if struck by fork lifts. And in a crowded assembly area, mistakes do happen."

Two years ago they became aware of the Schweiss bifold door and decided to give it a try. They installed a 31'6" wide bifold with 21' vertical clearance. "And it has worked admirably," reports Wagner. Soon Powell Electrical installed their second bifold, this one 31' x 24' and it too has been "a maintenance free, totally dependable closure system."

Hurricane Ike visits

Big doors in the Houston area got tested severely September 12 when Hurricane Ike came crashing into the Galveston Bay area

"At one point during the storm, directional winds completely tore out the two sectional doors in the east end of our building. Then even stronger winds on the other side of the Hurricane came blasting in from the west. That's where the two bifolds were installed and they don't have a spec of damage," relates Wagner.

Learning from Experience

Learning from experience, Powell Electrical is about to install two more Schweiss bifolds replacing the destroyed sectional doors. Wagner says the Houston area is a Zone II wind stress area so construction codes dictate facilities must be able to withstand up to 130 mph winds. Hurricane Ike delivered winds in excess of 100 mph.

"So not only from risk protection from storms but also from a maintenance abatement issue, we're totally sold on the bifold product from Schweiss," says Wagner. Thanks to the bifolds, the interior of the Powell building wasn't saturated with corrosive rainwater so the manufacturing process was only slightly impacted by this huge, destructive storm.

The Powell Electrical structure is steel framed with R paneled roof and siding because it is air conditioned, vital for factory workers in the hot, humid Houston area. The installer also added insulation to the Schweiss bifolds.

Sums up Wagner, "The headache that these bifolds have eliminated in our day-to-day operation is simply a small credit to the quality engineering of these unique doors. Granted the price is more than the sectional roll-ups but the life-time cost of ownership is a fraction of the maintenance costs of roll-ups."

At 9% interest rates, the life-time costs for the two new Schweiss bifolds figures to be $64,000 over 10 years, whereas life-time costs for the roll-up doors would be double that figure according to Wagner. He chuckled about an employee-information brochure referring to a million dollar door which was a particular roll-up door so battered over the years that they estimate it has cost that amount in maintenance.

Bifold and Hydraulic Doors of Texas - Installing Top Rubber Seal on a Schweiss Bi-Fold Door

Bifold & Hydraulic Doors of Texas Hired for Door Replacement

Bifold and Hydraulic Doors of Texas Inc, Brookshire, TX, did the installation of the Schweiss Bifolds at Powell Electric. Specializing in airport hangar construction, this firm also is experiencing an expanding business opportunity doing specialty doors in the commercial world. They are now a distributor and installer of the Schweiss product line.

"One of our hangar customers 7-8 years ago said he wanted a Schweiss bifold. That was our first introduction to the bifold door concept and since that time we have installed nearly 40 in our area," notes Roy Weisinger, who with his son Roy Jr, owns and operates Bifold and Hydraulic Doors of Texas

Their firm specializes in the construction of pre-fab metal buildings designed by Whirlwind of Houston, TX. They do everything from concrete to completion of the building, or any part of the building a customer desires. And thus their entry into the bifold door world.

"We like the ease of installation of the Schweiss units. Plus the smooth, trouble-free operation is a hit with everyone," notes Roy Jr. also mentioning the ready assistance from Schweiss people whenever his crew has a question.

With the recent introduction of one-piece hydraulic doors, Weisinger says over 80% of new hangar jobs are still bifolds but the hydraulics are gaining in favor. "In hangars where zero loss of headspace is a factor."

His firm builds according to area wind codes so their Schweiss doors are always 'wind loaded' for the particular buildings in which they are being installed. That means meeting code for 90 mph to 120 mph for most of their projects. The biggest Schweiss bifold for Bifold and Hydraulic Doors of Texas's to date was a 76' wide x 18' vertical hydraulic hangar door.

Despite the slowdown in the overall U.S. economy, Bifold and Hydraulic Doors of Texas is staying busy says Weisinger. The quality of their work is apparent when Roy comments, "All of our work is from referrals. We don't do any advertising and we've been at this now since 1969." And the introduction of the Schweiss product line into their market area only adds to the quality of their total portfolio summed up Weisinger.

Bi-Fold Hangar Door Opening at Houston Manufacture


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