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The three F's of Freezer Doors -  Which one is right for me?

In this day and age, selecting the right Freezer door for your facility can be more complicated than ever. There are a wide range of doors available on the market now, so it’s easy to understand how choosing the right one for your needs can cause more headaches than relief. 

We're here to help.

Firstly, it's important to understand the needs of your facility and what you're trying to achieve. Whether that be reducing your exorbitant energy costs, improving temperature control between different thermal environments,  enhancing efficiencies, productivity and safety, or perhaps it's something entirely different. Whatever the case may be, identifying this should be your very first step. Take a look at what you're doing currently in terms of door designs and whether or not it's working. You should also review how much use each door is getting, as well as the amount of damage they are subject to. To get you headed in the right direction, here's a few points to consider.

(If you already know what you need and you're simply interested in your options, feel free to read ahead😉 )

There's often a challenging balance between enabling fast and safe traffic movement while maintaining critical temperature control and reducing ice formation within the facility. While doors are open to allow access for staff, vehicles, forklifts etc, warm ambient air enters the facility. This mixes with air conditioned air and creates a fluctuation in temperature, which is not good news for your frozen or cold storage goods.

Seals & Insulation

It almost goes without saying that the better a door seals, and the better the insulation factor, the more savings you'll get on cost of ownership. This is because you're going to be able to recoup some of the upfront cost of the door over time, due to energy savings. If you have a door that doesn't seal well, you're going to get ice building up wherever the seal is bad - it's a sign of lost energy.

Operating Speed

The biggest cost in a freezer door is really when it's open. Do not under estimate how much moisture enters the cold store every time the doors are opened. If you can reduce the number of seconds the door is opened for you will significantly reduce the amount of moist air entering the cold store. This is why faster moving doors are critical in a freezer situation. The faster they move the less chance they stand of being hit by a moving forklift and having their seals compromised, and the less energy is lost while it opens and closes. And remember, ice is money! 

Durability & Impactability

The durability of a door can be determined by the following criteria: performance, impactability, maintenance needs and service support. Choose a door which is designed to meet your durability requirements. In almost every facility, the door is going to get hit at some point. It just depends on how abusive your situation is. If your doors get a beating every day, look for a door that has some kind of impactability built into it, meaning should the door get hit as it's opening, it can repair itself again on the way up. Plus doors with this feature also have lower maintenance costs as an added bonus!

Right, now that we've got all that clear, let's get into the comparison of our most common High Speed Freezer Doors!

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Ulti Frigo 2

The Ulti Frigo 2 is a unique, dual curtain freezer door, and is a great solution for a wide range of applications from supermarkets to large freezers.

 

Key Features:

This innovative double curtain design ensures double the insulation and of course, double the energy savings and it's thermal transmittance rating of 1.5W/m²k is an achievement in itself. The curtains have a 290mm air pocket between them, into which hot air is emitted, to facilitate effective insulation between the inside and outside temperatures of a room. That warm air will find it very hard to travel through all of this!

In terms of versatility, it is able to be applied to almost any entrance from a -25deg Cold Store to a heated processing room making it ideal for most applications ranging from Supermarket Freezers to Coldstorage and Logistics Coolrooms and Freezers. It can also be made larger than the Ulti Flex and Fastrax FR, and its relatively compact design due to the curtain rolling up rather than following a track which can use up precious space, often allows it to be incorporated into restricted building designs.

Other Benefits:

In today's volatile supply chain environment with so much uncertainty around pricing and timing, what's more attractive than a door that is locally manufactured right here in NZ, where we have stock on hand ready to make your doors and enabling us to provide you with shortened leadtimes?!

With an opening speed of up to 1.8m/second, fast cycle times mean the door opens quickly, and remains open for the minimum time required, maximising productivity, significantly reducing energy loss, and minimising the chance of impact damage from forklifts.

Safety and durability haven't been skimped on with the Frigo 2 either. With multiple safety sensors to prevent it from coming down on anyone or anything in it's path, it is inherently safe. And in the event of an accidental impact, refeed slots allow the curtain to be reinserted in the tracks and the door can continue operating again.

Things to be aware of:

The Frigo 2 does require a reasonable amount of headroom despite being so compact in other aspects, and is only able to be manufactured down to 2m x 2m. For most of you, this isn't likely to present a problem however it is always good to bear in mind. 

As the curtain is manufactured from insulated PVC rather than standard PVC, in order to provide greater insulation properties, this does limit the colour range however unless you were hoping for an outrageous colour scheme, the colours on offer will more than likely satisfy!

Investment:

An Ulti Frigo 2 can cost anywhere between $25,000 for a small door with no additional upgrades, up to $35,000+ for a larger door, supplied and installed. Quite a large range in price I know, but as all doors are custom made, the price varies dependent on size, activation, plus any other upgrades or optional additions you would like or need, and how soon you need the door. Essentially, any deviation from standard manufacture will incur an additional cost, unless you would like to remove features that aren't necessary for your application.

All things considered, if you're looking for a versatile high speed freezer door that ticks all the boxes, you'll get great value out of the Frigo 2. 

For more specs and a shop drawing, check out the product page here.

 

Ulti Flex

Reliable and rugged, efficient and energy saving, speedy and safe. That's how "NZ's best Coldstorage Door" is described, not just by us, but by those who've experienced it for themselves. 

 

 

Key Features:

Arguably the biggest advantage of the Ulti Flex is the fact that due to its insane insulation rating, it completely removes the need for an igloo saving you valuable ELA or corridor space.  The 150mm thick panel makes this ideal for applications right down to blast freezers at -40deg C, with a seriously low u-value of just 0.23 W/m²k!

The typical bi-parting configuration of an Ulti Flex also enables an opening speed of up to 2.0 m/s which in case you were wondering, is fast. Very fast. Maintaining temperature control in your facility at all times has never been easier.

Other Benefits:

In today's volatile shipping environment with so much uncertainty around pricing and timing, what's more attractive than a door that is locally manufactured right here in NZ, where we have stock on hand ready to make your doors and enabling us to provide you with shortened leadtimes?! And a bonus fact, this door is also our only door where the design is owned by us!

You may be wondering what happens when the panels are impacted? Well, thanks to the innovative design of the Ulti Flex, the panel can flex and twist to absorb impact and yet still return to its original shape after an impact. 

Thirdly, it is considerably safer and reduces impact damage due to a full line of sight being available immediately when the door is open enough to enter. Moreover, this also allows the doorway to be entered sooner for enhanced productivity and shorter cycle requirements, as the forklift operator only has to wait until the door is opened enough for the widest part of the forklift.

Things to be aware of:

The Ulti Flex is limited by size and requires quite substantial siderooms, at least half the opening width on each side. Although if you perhaps have very little sideroom on one side, but plenty on the other, you could opt for a single slide Ulti Flex. It's essentially the same thing, just not quite as fast.

Investment:

An Ulti Flex can cost anywhere between $42,000 for a small door with no additional upgrades, up to $50,000 for a larger door, supplied and installed. Again, the same principles of pricing apply where there are so many different factors that could impact the price from size, to activation, to application requirements (for example whether additional thermal insulation may be required), to the distance to install. 

Ultimately, if it's an extremely energy efficient door, coupled with proven durability, look no further than the Ulti Flex!

For more specs and a shop drawing, check out the product page here.

 

Fastrax Fr

When temperature control is important, speed and insulation are key. And the real test of any freezer or cold storage door is how long it lasts in these extremely harsh environments. The FasTrax FR door has long proven to out perform any other similar option in the busiest applications in the industry. 

Key Features:

Energy savings can be guaranteed with the robust, patented InsulMax® insulated curtain system coupled with an industry leading thermal perimeter seal. These combined benefits lead to the impressively low R-4 (or 0.25 W/m²k) thermal resistance rating helping you to eliminate ice build up in your freezer, reduce defrost cycles and provide large savings on clean up labour costs. Plus the superior full-perimeter seal reduces the need for heat lamps and air curtains which can be costly to operate.

With operating speeds up to 2.5m/sec the FasTrax FR is one of the industry’s fastest doors (even faster than the Ulti Flex!😯), shortening cycle times, maximising productivity, ensuring energy savings and making it the perfect freezer door solution for very high usage applications. 

Other Benefits:

With multiple track configurations, including custom tracks, this door is the most versatile freezer door, able to be fit into tight clearances around existing building infrastructure.

Capable of a minimum size of 1m x 1m, it is also ideal for conveyor openings in a chilled or frozen environment.

Things to be aware of:

Whilst the Fastrax Fr can be made very small, it is limited by how large it can go in order to maintain all of its key features. And if you are looking for a door that you can customise the look of, the Fastrax Fr is also not your best bet as it only comes in a Blue Curtain option, with Black Frames (looks very nice though we think!).

Leadtimes are also a big factor when considering the Fastrax Fr as this door comes from overseas so extra lead times must be taken into account with the likelihood of shipping delays, as well as potentially high freight costs. 

Investment:

The Fastrax Fr costs between $42,000 for the smallest door, to $48,000 for the largest door, supplied and installed, and any upgrades or add-ons are extra. For a typical opening of 4000 H x 2500 W, you could expect to pay around $46,000. Whilst this may seem expensive, thanks to the robust components and long-life, it actually ensures the lowest whole of life cost which is the real measure of success.

So if it's long-term reliability in a demanding environment that you require, the Fastrax FR is likely the door for you. 

For more specs and a shop drawing, check out the product page here.

 

Now after all that, perhaps you're not after speed with your Freezer Door. Never fear, there's literally a solution for every need so check out our other Hinged and Sliding Freezer Door options or our Insulated Sectional Doors, perfect for Loading Docks.

Always, and we mean always, do your research before settling on a door. 

We have a wide range of different options available, and are always happy to help. Reach out to one of the team and we can guide you through the selection process.

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