PROVEN SOLUTIONS: Pressure Differentials Are Hard On Doors – And Workers

It’s easy to forget how important atmospheric pressure can be to the proper and safe function of doors in a commercial facility. Businesses such as power plants and mines, for example, must take extra care since there can be a dramatic pressure difference between two adjoining rooms. When this happens, doors can be very hard to open (as the user pushes against the pressure in the room they are trying to enter) or swing open with dangerous velocity (as air rushes into the room with less pressure). Situations like this are dangerous for workers, obviously, but they are also punishing on doors. In fact, doors that aren’t built specifically to handle industrial pressure differentials quickly succumb to the rigors necessary to operate.

The Facts:

The pressure on either side of a door can be drastically different as a result of a number of phenomena, like wind, but some of the most pronounced cases take place where fuel is burned to generate power. For example, a coal fired boiler requires significant air to burn and combust as coal is injected into the boiler to generate steam (to turn the generator). The result of burning all that oxygen isn’t just high temperatures – it’s a pressure differential that subjects doors to incredible stress.

The Challenge: 

Standard swing doors simply cannot deal with the relentless strain of high pressure differentials, and maintenance teams find themselves changing out hardware and locksets continuously. These doors put workers at risk by slamming violently or being extremely difficult to open, and eventually the structure of the door begins to collapse and must be replaced.

In the interest of worker safety and door longevity, it’s necessary to build and install purpose-built doors that operate properly in spite of high pressure differentials.

Traditional door at a power plant

The Solution:

Sliding Doors, Sliding Egress Doors and Special Purpose Doors from PS Access Solutions™ are manufactured specifically to withstand the abuses of industrial environments. Unlike standard hollow metal doors, doors from PS Access Solutions feature durable construction that stands up to continuous use – even when challenging pressure differentials exist.

Before – Traditional Door
After – PS Access Solutions Door

Sliding Doors / Bi-Part Sliding Doors
Sliding Doors from PS Access Solutions are made to withstand rigorous, industrial environments, and unlike swinging doors that are forced open or closed by air as it rushes from high pressure to low, these doors slide sideways, ignoring the phenomenon altogether. This significantly reduces maintenance and improves employee safety. In addition, these doors meet the requirements of local fire marshals and the NFPA Life Safety Code. They are perfect for power plants, mines, mills and manufacturing facilities.

Sliding Egress Doors
These doors have been designed to be an effective combination of both a swing and sliding door. Sliding Egress Doors from PS Access Solutions provide the best of both worlds. Operating in a sliding fashion during normal operations allows for easy accessibility in areas of negative pressure between rooms. In the case of an emergency, Sliding Egress Doors can also swing outward to allow for an immediate exit. These doors are available in single and bi-part variations.

Special Purpose Doors
For nearly half a century, PS Access Solutions has custom built doors for power generation and industrial applications, including mines, power plants and other challenging environments. In situations with especially problematic pressure differentials, PS Access Solutions designs and custom manufactures extra durable sliding doors with features added that specifically address the special needs of the situation. The result? Doors that operate more easily, require less maintenance and create fewer hazards for workers – in spite of inhospitable surroundings.

If you deal with extreme pressure differentials in your business, you owe it to yourself to speak to PS Access Solutions about the benefits of Sliding Doors, including:

  • Reduced maintenance
  • Improved safety
  • Flexibility to fit virtually any application

Contact us today.