Every year, hundreds of new and remodeled automotive dealership facilities open across North America. Automobile brands are introducing eye-catching building image designs to compete for buyers’ attention.
New building designs need to stay consistent with the desired corporate image, and that includes all of the building’s doors. The modern appearance sought after by auto brands requires more attractive and efficient doors that provide functionality and dependability needed for high-traffic service doors as well as other shop doors around the facility.
Up until 15 years ago, these door openings were commonly equipped with traditional overhead doors that had been around for decades; doors that were slow, loud, required a lot of maintenance and were not as effective at maintaining desired temperatures between controlled work spaces.
Advances in the door industry have revealed that a new breed of high-performance overhead doors offered the desired improvements designers were looking for:
• Aesthetics: Vision and anodized aluminum door materials match corporate image packages. Custom RAL colors are available to match any building color scheme.
• Speed: High-performance doors open up to 10 times faster, offering increased productivity.
• Activation: Doors open and close automatically when vehicles approach and clear the opening.
• Durability: Designed for 1M cycles plus life. Extended warranty periods.
• Insulation: High “R” and “U” value ratings.
• Acoustics: Better sound deadening of noise infiltrating from the exterior of building.
• Safety: Redundant safety devices create a safe area for vehicles and pedestrians.
• ROI: Investment payback usually within one to three years as compared to cost of repairs and upkeep of traditional sectional doors.
Beyond re-imaging the front side of automotive retail facilities with modern facades and high-performance doors, new shop designs are aimed toward increasing productivity and creating a comfortable environment for all workers.
Reducing the number of entry and exit doors helps create a more comfortable, climate-controlled workplace, but requires a new style of door for those openings — one that matches the aesthetics of the doors specified for the drive-through service lanes and can accommodate a high number of cycles. These are considered the workhorse doors of the facility. Some shops can see thousands of cycles on these two service doors every day, so reliability is critical. Choose doors that are specified for maximum performance and cycle reliability.
The “Wow” Factor
High-performance doors have been in existence for 40 years and were originally developed for extreme industrial applications. In some cases, high-performance door models were over-designed for use in commercial facilities such as retail automotive dealerships. Popularity for the aesthetics and, as some people say, the “wow” factor, launched the use of high-performance doors throughout the retail automotive facility, beyond just the service shop. Realizing this, top door manufacturers began offering a complete line of door models specifically designed for the retail automotive dealership.
By using common/matching model platforms and curtain styles such as rigid or fabric, it is possible to have a high-performance/high-speed door with all the standard features and aesthetics of a high-speed roll-up door, installed beside a high-performance lower speed/basic feature door and not see the difference between the two models from the exterior of the building. Aesthetically, the doors appear to be the same model; the advantage being the cost-point difference between the two doors, which could be as much as 50%.
Up until recently, to achieve the desired building image aesthetics with a completely clear/full-view panel, upward acting door, only a couple of choices existed and the price difference among the choices was minimal. That is no longer the case. Now, companies are able to tailor the style and appearance of the door to the exact requirements for that opening and location, achieving a uniform look around the building, but without overspending for a door with additional and unnecessary features.
Keys to successfully selecting the right high-performance doors for your facility:
• Evaluate the current door opening activity and consider future use• What are the anticipated cycles per day?
• Activation method
• Level of pedestrian traffic, employee and public
• Climate control system
• Vision requirements
• Electrical power available
• (New facility) Image requirements
• Local service provider
• What happens if the door is damaged; How long will it be out of service?
Building owners and design teams are encouraged to request a meeting with a high-performance door professional that specializes in retail automotive doors. You’ll discover that high-performance doors are more affordable than you think.
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