April 6, 2010

Sliding-door roller assembly permitted by fire and building codes

Fire and building codes were modified a decade ago to permit the use of horizontal sliding door systems in many applications. A key factor determining this change of code was the realization that modern sliding door systems could provide easer passage in an emergency than conventional swinging doors, so long as they ensured an effective barrier to fire and smoke.

The International Building Code elaborates on this issue. Section 1008.1.2 of the code states that “egress doors shall be side-hinged and swinging,” but offers an exception: “In other than Group H occupancies, horizontal sliding doors complying with Section 1008.1.3.3 are permitted in a means of egress.”
Specifically Section 1008.1.3.3 of the International Building Code requires that the horizontal door systems:
* Shall be power operated and shall be capable of being operated manually in the event of a power failure;
* Shall be openable by a simple method from both sides without special knowledge or effort;
* The force required to operate the door shall not exceed 30 pounds…to set the door in motion and 15 pounds…to close the door or open it to the minimum required width;
* The door shall be openable with a force not to exceed 15 pounds… when a force of 250 pounds…is applied perpendicular to the door adjacent to the operating device;
* The door assembly shall comply with the applicable fire protection rating and, where rated, shall be self-closing or automatic closing by smoke detection, shall be installed in accordance with NFPA 80 and shall comply with Section 715;
* The door assembly shall have an integrated standby power supply;
* The door assembly power supply shall be electrically supervised;
* The door shall open to the minimum required width within 10 seconds after activation of the operating device.

As long as the horizontal sliding-door systems meet those performance standards, they are allowed. Notwithstanding, these doors can be extremely heavy requiring a trolley and roller system capable of carrying the load smoothly and free of noise. Intech designed a swiveling trolley for a 500lb door panel with two load carrying Power-Core rollers to ensure that the load to each roller is distributed evenly. Two of the trolleys carry the door panel. A third roller, mounted independently on this custom design was used to prevent the heavy door panel from swinging sideways.

Swiveling two wheel trolley resized 600
Swiveling-two-wheel-trolley with third guide roller for heavy sliding door panel

Intech guide rollers are used in sliding doors on ships, trains and airplanes as well as in many architectural installations, and find their origin in demanding industrial applications. Intech Corporation is constantly striving to improve its roller designs and help our customers extend the life their products in heavy duty applications.
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