High-speed doors help control temperatures

Grocery distributor sees energy and maintenance savings with fully automatic insulated doors.

By ·

SuperValu is the third-largest food retailer in the United States, operating 2,500 stores and serving as primary distributor to a 2,200 more. To separate grocery products from refrigerated and freezer areas, the company installed fully automatic high-speed doors that are approaching their five millionth cycle.

Prior to installing the new door in 2001, the company’s 324,000-square-foot distribution center in Fargo, N.D., had been using flap doors and quick doors with pull ropes to separate the 60,000-square-feet freezer space and 130,000 square feet of coolers containing perishables from the rest of the facility.

“With our old system, we were doing so much maintenance,” says Dwight Heuer, facilities manager. “Now, it’s a lot less hassle and a better seal. The other products would cut down on air flow, but they wouldn’t seal it very well, whereas the new doors can maintain the temperature.”

The new doors (Rite-Hite, ritehite.com) are used to separate groceries from dairy and meat, while a more robustly insulated version enables quick access to the freezer. The doors operate at up to 100 inches per second, contributing to energy savings. Safety features include a soft edge technology, thru-beam photo eyes and motion detection. Since installing the doors, Heuer says maintenance costs and time have been reduced.

“Compared to our previous doors, they run pretty maintenance free,” says Heuer, who adds that personnel keep a close eye on cycle counts and perform the necessary maintenance at regular intervals. “We did some before-and-after testing with an infrared gun. The temperature loss was a lot less with the doors. Our freezer temperature is not only controlled, it also doesn’t have frost problems.”

About the Author

Josh Bond, Senior Editor
Josh Bond is Senior Editor for Modern, and was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and associate editor. He has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce University.

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