In the past three plus decades I’ve literally sold tens, if not hundreds of thousands of sliding doors as well as steel sectional overhead doors.
At Hansen Pole Buildings, we get hundreds of new inquiries every day – many of these are for people who are requesting sliding “barn” style doors, for the most part with the idea they will be less expensive than overhead doors. In some cases, and some sizes, the sliding doors can be significantly less expensive.
However, in most cases I have convinced clients to order overhead doors rather than sliding doors, because, “You can’t put an electric opener on sliding doors”.
At this year’s National Frame Building Association (NFBA) show, someone built a better mouse trap…..
For those who have sliding barn doors on their pole buildings, if they added up all the time spent opening and closing sliding barn doors, they might be surprised (and saddened) at how much those sliding doors actually cost.
Before getting equipment or vehicles out of the building, it takes entering through a walk in door (sliding doors only latch from the inside), unlock the sliding doors, undo the jamb latches and slide the doors open. Hop in or on your conveyance of choice, drive out of the building, get out into the weather, slide the doors closed, set the jamb latches, lock and leave the building, and climb back in your vehicle.
Returning after a long day, repeat the entire process all over again – only in reverse. Sometimes it’s easier just to leave the doors open and hope nobody steals something.
This is only one day! Multiply this by day, after day and it sounds like less than fun. And time, is money. Make $20 an hour? If you spend only 15 minutes a day, five days a week and take two weeks off, it cost you $1250 in one year!!!
We all go through life putting up with little hassles and wish someone would come up with a solution. Sometimes those hassles have been around so long we assume it’s just a part of life.
But wait…. Now there is a patent-pending system which automates the opening of sliding doors! It controls the doors so they can be easily opened and closed, even when the wind begins to blow. Plus, with bi-parting (or split) sliding doors, they always meet in the center. Every time.
The electric garage door opener was invented in 1926 but didn’t become popular until after World War II. And now very few people would even think of not having an electric garage door.
So why weren’t the sliding doors on pole barns and machine sheds automated? There are a few reasons – mainly wind, size, weight, and harsh conditions. An electric motor could be slapped onto some track and somehow attached to the doors. People have done it. But without controlling the doors, the wind will yank them off the track and wreck the system. Care needed to be taken so the force of the motor wouldn’t tear the doors apart. While these were difficult obstacles, a solution was possible.
Back in 2009 one of our suppliers started working on a system which would accomplish many things. It would keep bi-parting sliding doors under control from the time they left the center mullion until they were fully retracted. Be self-cleaning so it wouldn’t become clogged by dirt, rocks, seeds, and debris. Keep the entire system, including the motor, inside the building and out of the weather. Maintain the vertical and horizontal clearances required by large farm vehicles and equipment. Take advantage of the latest improvements in door safety. And most importantly – be affordable.
After more than a year of design work and prototype development, the patent application was submitted to the US Patent Bureau. It was quite a celebration when they were awarded “Patent Pending” status.
Now, the “You can’t put an electric opener on it”, is no longer a reason to not have sliding doors on your pole barn.