Mid-Panel Adds Versatility to Monumental Doors

Mid-Panel Adds Versatility to Monumental Doors

Our SL-14 and SL-15 are aluminum monumental or stile and rail doors used to create memorable and robust entrances. Whether you choose the standard (SL-14) or wide stile model (SL-15), you have the option to add the SL-484 mid-panel. Why would choose this option?  Simply put, do it for the branding potential.
This 12″ wide mid-panel has a closed-cell foam core, two tie-rods for added strength and an aluminum or FRP skin.  Further, this skin can be branded with your chosen identity—corporate, collegiate, and more.
For example, consider what Drexel University did with their mid-panels.  The university emblem is the dragon.  It finds its way onto all identity materials and takes the form of the school mascot, Mario the Magnificent.  So, why not put it on the entrance doors as well?
Drexel University SL-15 Entrance with mid-panel
What branding ideas do you have in mind?  Share them with us and let’s see how your vision can look on your entrance system.

25 Do’s & Don’ts For Effective Selling at Trade Shows

25 Do’s & Don’ts For Effective Selling at Trade Shows

I’m not sure I’ve ever met a sales professional who really enjoyed working a trade show or related event. But we have to do them. So we might as well learn to do them well. Here’s my list of 25 do’s and 25 don’ts that I have compiled over many years.
  • get yourself mentally set for a positive, dynamic selling experience. Trade shows are exciting events full of selling opportunities.
  • get yourself physically fit for standing while you are on duty. Select footwear carefully.
  • get a good night’s sleep. Leave the late-night partying to others.
  • get thoroughly briefed on your staff assignment—attire, work schedule, handouts, visiting VIPs, lead management, etc.—well in advance.
  • rehearse your facts and figures so you can make convincing presentations.
  • formulate some open-ended, qualifying questions.
  • practice the art of continuing to probe with qualifying questions. This technique shows genuine interest and is very informative.
  • ensure that your on-duty wardrobe is in keeping with your booth presentation.
  • look your best when you step on to the show floor—hair groomed, shoes shined, clothes neatly pressed.
  • arrive for your duty several minutes ahead of schedule so you don’t create unnecessary worry for your fellow staffers.
  • stand straight in a relaxed pose with hands clasped or at your side.
  • project a warm personality by wearing a smile and using non-threatening conversation.
  • extend a friendly greeting and initiate a good business-like handshake.
  • be courteous to all visitors, gracefully disengaging from those who are not qualified prospects.
  • concentrate on good eye contact throughout the qualification process.
  • listen actively and intently for hidden needs. Let the prospect do most of the talking.
  • be sincere and honest in your presentation. MOST people can see through inflated claims.
  • display genuine enthusiasm for your organization, its products, and services.
  • put all leads and business cards in a secure place with other leads.
  • keep the booth clean, uncluttered, and well organized.
  • take a short break after every two hours of booth duty. A stale staffer is an ineffective representative.
  • be a good neighbor. Make an effort to get to know the staffers in the booths around you and explain your reasons for attending the show. They may send you prospects or be prospects themselves.
  • take time to walk the show, surveying competition and observing other exhibits and exhibitors.
  • make mental notes of how your company’s participation could improve and share appropriately.
  • be on your best behavior throughout. Remember, you and your company are on display 24/7.
  • come to the show with a negative attitude. Instead, take the view that is a positive change of pace.
  • expect your exhibit to sell your products or company. Your job is to use the exhibit as a stage for your presentation.
  • forget your name tag. Pin it on your right lapel or side so it’s easily read while shaking hands.
  • let anything in your personal appearance, such as extreme wardrobe, distract your audience.
  • block access to your booth with people or exhibitry.
  • fold your arms across your chest, put your hands in your pockets or lean or sit on the exhibitry.
  • act like a robot with no feeling about what you are selling.
  • fidget, frown, or look impatient, bored, or tired.
  • eat, drink, chew gum, or comb your hair in the booth.
  • allow literature, briefcases, coats, sales leads, or business cards to clutter the booth.
  • be afraid to initiate a discussion. Attendees expect this.
  • assume anything about the visitor to your booth.
  • be patronizing to any attendee, regardless of age, gender, race, or any identifying characteristic.
  • ask general, dead-end questions such as “May I help you?”
  • disappear from the booth for any reason without explaining your absence to a fellow staffer.
  • talk too much, especially about yourself or company.
  • pass out business cards, literature, sample, or novelties (SWAG) without first qualifying prospects.
  • be tempted to talk at length with poor prospects.
  • waste the time of good prospects. You’ll make a much better impression by respecting their valuable time.
  • hesitate to encourage the prospect to compare your products to others at the show. This sort of confidence usually prevails.
  • forget to close your conversation properly with a qualified prospect by asking a leading question such as “when do you plan to move forward with your purchase?”
  • miss an opportunity at the end of an important discussion to suggest an exchange of business cards or to swipe their badge to the lead management system.
  • put leads or business cards in your pocket where they can get misplaced or not shared with team members.
  • fraternize too much with your competition.
  • underestimate the power of trade shows.

PART 3 of 3 – Bullet Resistance (Ballistic) and Blast Resistance & How to Choose a Level of Protection

Bullet Resistant (Ballistic)

It is sad to think that we live in a time where we need to design entrance solutions for keeping our families and property safe, but we must continually innovate to overcome the threats that present themselves in daily life. Bullet resistant doors or ballistic doors and complete ballistic-rated entrance systems are an important part of this innovation. (We previously discussed in Part 1 the reason we don’t use the term “bulletproof door” when referring to these products.) What makes a product bullet resistant? There are several ratings that could describe the level of bullet resistance in a product. The most common are:
  1.           UL 752
  2.           National Institute of Justice (NIJ) 0108.01
  3.           State Department SD-STD-02.01
  4.           ASTM F-1233
  5.           HP White Laboratories HPW-TP 0500.02
  6.           European Standard DIN EN 1063
  7.           British Standards Institution BS 5051
  8.           Councils of Standards Australia/New Zealand AS/NZ 2343
A certified test lab performs these tests in a controlled environment. The range of weapons varies from handguns to rifles, and the ratings are quite different depending on the standard to which you are testing. For example, you may hear someone refer to “Level 3”, which has a different meaning depending on which testing standard you are talking about. Level 3, UL 752, calls for a .44 magnum handgun. National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Level 3 calls for the use of a 7.62mm (.308 Winchester) rifle. So, as you can see, there is a difference. I have worked on several projects developing bullet resistant doors using a fiberglass pultrusion process. When deciding on a bullet resistant opening solution I strongly recommend exploring the pultruded ballistic door options that are available. Believe it or not, steel is not always the answer to solving these complex entrance problems. When used properly, fiberglass has excellent ballistic properties without the concern of deterioration due to rust or corrosion.  

Blast Resistant

In some cases, such as in government installations, there is a blast requirement for most if not all exterior entrance systems. There are a couple of different approaches to achieve a blast rating for a blast-rated door specification.
  1. Arena Testing- This is obviously the most fun. As you can imagine by the name, this testing occurs outside in a controlled area, by setting off explosives to achieve the desired load and duration. The entrance system is instrumented to record the forces felt during the explosion. The advantage of using an arena test is that you’re not limited to certain dimensions on the product you’re testing. The downside with this method is that it is more difficult to obtain a specific pressure and duration due to the variation in explosive behavior.
  2. Shock Tube- The shock tube is an instrument used to replicate and direct blast waves at a sensor or a model to simulate actual explosions and their effects, usually on a smaller scale. The advantage of using the shock tube is that you can repeat the test more accurately than arena testing. The disadvantage is that the size of the shock tube restricts the size of the specimen.
An Entrance Ready for Shock Tube Blast Test
Shock Tube

How do I know what level of protection I needed for an entrance?

To be successful when ordering these types of systems, I strongly recommend that you take the time to understand the science behind the products that will protect you and your customers. Understanding the requirements of your state or local jurisdictions and having all the information ensures that you and your customer have on-time deliveries and products that meet the requirements for the project. For example, the load results for HVHZ approved systems are calculated in pounds per square foot. With ballistic systems, you need to understand the caliber of bullet that your entrance must withstand in an attack. This information will dictate the level of protection required. For blast-rated protection, you will need to know the blast load the product (in this case, a blast-rated door) needs to withstand, calculated pounds per square inch (psi), as well as the impulse calculated in pounds per square inch and milliseconds (psi-ms). For intrusion resistance, you need to know the amount of time that you want to hold a perpetrator at bay and if you want laminated glass or polycarbonate glazing.

More From this Series:

Part 1 of 3: Proof vs. Resistant and Intrusion/Forced Entry Resistance Part 2 of 3: Hurricane and Storm Resistance

Related Articles:

Doors + Hardware Magazine | May 2017 | Proof vs. Resistant: The Truth is in the Test  What is Fiberglass Pultrusion? A Win for School Security: Ballistic Door Wins New Product Award

PART 2 of 3 – Hurricane and Storm Resistance

Billions of dollars in damage occurs in the U.S. annually due to natural events, the majority caused by Category 3, 4 and 5 hurricanes. Hurricane Andrew caused more than $25B in just Dade County Florida. Hurricane Katrina caused more than $100B in total economic loss. Fueled by this period of destruction, the science behind hurricane-rated products and building structures to withstand these storms has evolved considerably.

What does Hurricane or Storm Resistant Mean?

Let’s begin with looking at hurricane ratings. Most hurricane resistant doors are required to meet at least one of the following standards:
  • ANSI (American National Standards Institute)
  • ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials)
  • TAS (Testing Application Standard)
  • IBC (International Building Code)
  • IRC (International Residential Code)
Refer to the AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction) to determine which one to refer to for your area.

Hurricane Testing

What makes an entrance hurricane rated? Most test protocols will include static loads, cyclic loads, air infiltration, large missile impact, water infiltration and forced entry.   The most stringent of these requirements is an approval in Miami-Dade County. If a product can make it through Miami-Dade’s NOA (Notice of Acceptance) protocol (TAS 201, 202 and 203), we can generally submit it in other states or regions (such as the Florida Building Commission and Texas Department of Insurance) with a high degree of confidence. Product testing requires a lot of homework to determine how a product will perform under test conditions before sending it to the testing lab. This upfront work reduces the likelihood of a failure during testing. Water infiltration is an excellent example. Water is not your friend in the test lab. One drop of water that infiltrates a test specimen results in a failure. Through many trials and tribulations, we found that all-fiberglass or fiberglass/aluminum doors perform exceptionally well during this type of test. Furthermore, due to their resistance to humidity and salt water, they are great options when considering new or replacement doors in the coastal regions of the U.S.

Hurricane-Rated Special Requirements

Hurricane-rated products come with stricter requirements than some other types of tested and rated products. One important thing to remember is that the size of the product that you intend to sell or install cannot exceed the size of the specimen tested– although it can be smaller. The hardware and seals must be consistent with the configuration the approval states. You can deviate from the approval only with permission from the AHJ. This is why a manufacturer will sell a complete hurricane rated entrance: door, frame, hardware, seal, etc. in exactly the configuration tested.

More from this series:

Part 1 of 3: Proof vs. Resistant & Forced Entry (Intrusion) Resistance Part 3 of 3: Bullet Resistance, Blast Resistance, and How to Choose Your Level of Protection

Related Articles:

The University of Florida is Set to “Judge” Building Architectural Products and Entry Systems The University of Florida’s Website: Multi-Axis Wind Load Simulator  

PART 1 of 3 – Proof vs. Resistant & Forced Entry (Intrusion) Resistance

There is a growing need to create entrances in our schools, businesses, and government facilities that are blast, bullet, intrusion, and storm resistant. It is sad to think that we live in a time where we need to design entrance solutions for keeping our families and property safe, but we must continually innovate to overcome the threats that present themselves in daily life. Within this growing segment of the industry, we find a new set of labels, terminology, and testing standards. At times these can get quite confusing and misleading. However, they do not need to be if you have a good understanding of a few key terms.

Proof vs. Resistant

Have you ever heard someone say that an object was Something Proof and in reality, it should have been Something Resistant? According to Webster’s Dictionary, the definition of proof is: “Able to withstand something damaging; resistant.” Ok, that makes sense… until you look up the definition of resistant in the same dictionary. That definition goes something like this: “Opposed to something; wanting to prevent something from happening.” So, proof or resistant, tomato or tomato? They should mean the same thing, not exactly. The “proof” is in the pudding. Yes, bulletproof sounds more impressive than bullet resistant. Using the term bulletproof is an absolute statement and not an entirely factual statement. At the end of the day, if someone or something wants in, the laws of physics will work against you. If something is big enough, powerful enough, hard enough, wet enough, fast enough– you get the picture– it’s coming in. For this reason, I would rather see the term “resistant” used in all descriptions having anything to do with bullet, blast, intrusion or storm rated entrance systems.

What is Intrusion Resistance?

If you are looking for solutions that would slow down a perpetrator from gaining access to your building, one of the options is to add intrusion resistant glazing to your entrance. The definition of intrusion is; “the act or an instance of intruding; an unwelcome visit.” Intrusion resistant products are also commonly called attack resistant or forced entry resistant.

Intrusion Resistance Testing

There are several test standards used depending on the approval. The most common are ASTM and UL (Underwriters Laboratories), and the U.S. State Department forced entry test. Also, some state correction facilities utilize their own set of standards. Some companies are trying to “update” the current standards that would better represent current conditions. Depending on the data that you look at, the national average for the police to respond to a 911 call is between 6 and 10 minutes. The goal of an intrusion resistant entrance system is to delay intruders from gaining access until the cavalry arrives. These systems may or may not be bullet resistant but remember the object here is to delay the intruder from gaining access to the facility not to stop a bullet.

Intrusion Resistant Glass and Glazing

There are two innovative variations of intrusion resistant glazing that can be utilized for this requirement. One option is a patent pending product that slows down intruders up to twelve minutes before gaining access. The laminated glass comes in 5/16″ and 1″ insulated. This glass is a bit more expensive but provides all the benefits of a glass vision lite that an end user may prefer. The second option is a clear polycarbonate that has a scratch resistant coating. I strongly suggest packing a lunch if you are trying to break through this material. You can literally go after it with a sledgehammer and not break it! This polycarbonate is an inexpensive solution for intrusion resistance.

A Complete Forced-Entry Resistant System

It is important to note that the glazing material is only one aspect of an intrusion resistant system. The doors and vision lite kits used to hold this glazing material are just as important. They must all work as a system to counteract the threat. When selecting intrusion resistant products, it is important that you choose intrusion-resistant doors, frames, glazing, and vision lite kits. Manufacturers typically reinforce vision lite kits with more fasteners and material to allow the system to withstand a threat. I know what you’re thinking: More fasteners? No one is going to buy that! Well, just because there are more fasteners doesn’t mean you have to see them! Some companies have developed ingenious ways of disguising their intrusion resistant glazing kits so to the average person it does not look reinforced.

Stay Tuned

Read the rest of this blog series to find out why it’s important to direct attention to testing standards when explaining the levels of protection or comparing products!

More from this Series:

Part 2 of 3: Hurricane and Storm Resistance Part 3 of 3: Bullet Resistance, Blast Resistance, and How to Choose a Level of Protection

Elephant Doors: Swing Open Frame Units

elephant doors

Extra Large Doors Big Enough for an Elephant!

Do you have large equipment you need to move in or out of your building? Do you have a showroom where you regularly rotate large promotional items, such as trucks or cars? Will you need to occasionally move a large animal, like an elephant, from one building to another? If you shook your head YES to any of these questions, Special-Lite has your solution! We celebrate Special-Lite’s dedication to bringing engineered solutions to you. Does this mean we employ entrance designers and skilled craftspeople? Oh yeah!  We know that our customers sometimes need something out of the ordinary. Is there any better way to communicate to you our unique skills than to show you? Just look at how we solved this customer’s need.

The Showroom’s Entrance Solution

Would it be possible to bring massive products in and out of a beautiful building without huge roll up doors? Does function have to trump aesthetics? Working with Special-Lite, a showroom found the perfect solution. Collaboration between building owner, sales representative, installer, and Special-Lite resulted in a custom designed, large commercial opening, with all of the functionality and design appeal desired. The design uses an aluminum frame system that can swing out of the opening for ‘moving’ day, yet have man doors for everyday use! The side hinged frame sections and doors are equipped with continuous gear hinges for ease of use and durability, eliminating the need for trackways and side clearances. The frame units are locked down with flush bolts on top and bottom when closed to provide added security. You have the option for removable center posts for rigid support in securing the doors.  

Beautiful Doors with Secret Superpowers!

Special-Lite® Elephant Doors provide a brilliant solution for accommodating the passage of large objects in and out of a facility. They are perfect entrance solutions for shopping malls, convention centers, sports arenas, dealership showrooms, zoos, and museums.   elephant-doors-swing-out-storefront-frame Intrigued? Meet with one of our Special-Lite Reps and find out what we can do for your building!  

Open the Door to Saving Energy

How to find Thermal Performing Doors to meet your Climate Zone

You have many opportunities to save energy. Take advantage of these opportunities and use your power and desire to conserve when choosing building products. You may find this especially relevant if you are in commercial construction, due to your State likely adopting their own Building Energy Codes Program. All but 8 States within the U.S. (according to BCAP) have adopted programs for public building exterior energy performance (as you can see below). The most common building energy code adopted by the States is ASHRAE 90.1.
bcap energy codes map
Via: Building Codes Assistance Project
ASHRAE 90.1 breaks the United States into climate zones, each with its own energy performance standard. Look at the Climate Zone Map below and find your location’s climate zone.
ashrae commercial building energy zone map
Via ashrae.org
ASHRAE 90.1 specifies commercial, exterior doors and frames comply with the following independent, standard testing: Air Leakage:        AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440, NFRC 400 or ASTM E283 U-Factor:             NFRC 100 SHGC & VT          NFRC 200 Important Test Notes:
  1. NFRC specifies that non-residential door assemblies, less than ½ glass, meet Opaque Doors Swinging performance requirement; and non-residential door assemblies, more than ½ glass, meet Fenestration Metal Framing & Entrance Door performance requirements.
  2. Most noteworthy, NFRC sets a minimum test assembly size (single door in a frame) of 37 ¾” x 82 3/8”. Why? The larger the test assembly, the better the performance will appear to be. As a result, a standard test size ‘levels the playing field’.

If you are ready to Open the Door to Saving Energy, first discover your Climate Zone and purchase exterior doors and frames that meet the ASHRAE 90.1 Energy Standard. Let’s make it even easier for you to begin. The toughest to meet performance requirement climate zones are Zones 6, 7 & 8. All 3 of these Zones have identical requirements: Ashrae door zones test results Special-Lite’s Mission Statement for 20 years has included the statement, “Don’t hurt the environment”. As a result, our most popular exterior door and frame meets and exceeds the ASHRAE 90.1 Energy Standard for Zone 6, 7 & 8. Furthermore, we continue to independently test all of our entrance products to bring you more solutions to ROCK YOUR WORLD. So, if you don’t see your favorite Special-Lite product on the graph below, call us! We may have the testing completed already! special-lite ashrae thermal performance testing u-value

Some Background Information

What is ASHRAE? From the website: “ASHRAE, founded in 1894, is a global society advancing human well-being through sustainable technology for the built environment. The Society and its members focus on building systems, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, refrigeration and sustainability within the industry. Through research, standards writing, publishing and continuing education, [we] shape tomorrow’s built environment today. ASHRAE formed as the “American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers” by the merger in 1959 of American Society of Heating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHAE) founded in 1894 and The American Society of Refrigerating Engineers (ASRE) founded in 1904.” ASHRAE 90.1 Finally, ASHRAE 90.1 is also an industry standard referenced by the USGBC in the LEED building certification program. It is frequently used as a baseline for comparison during energy retrofit projects or any project that employs building energy simulation.

How to Measure an Opening for a New Entrance

Measuring an opening for new framing and doors is simple in theory, but it is all too easy to make small and avoidable mistakes that can lead to big headaches later.

There are two basic approaches to sizing new entrances: measuring the opening and letting Special-Lite determine net frame (and door) sizes, or providing Special-Lite with net frame sizes. If providing net frame sizes to Special-Lite, it is important to provide tip-to-tip frame dimensions, because our doors and frames are not manufactured to be field adjustable. We will not make the frame undersize to allow for shim space, so the accuracy of the sizes you provide is critical. For retrofit installations, it is important to adhere to the following recommended best practices when measuring openings.

To Measure for New Doors and Frames:

Inspect the entire opening, both interior and exterior, noting differences in:

  • Floor heights and conditions (rough or finished)
  • Opening width dimensions and wall conditions
  • Header or ceiling heights and conditions
Measuring Width Measuring Height

It may be necessary to remove a piece of trim to determine the exact nature of the rough opening. This will ensure you take correct measurements from masonry to masonry. Getting accurate measurements of the rough opening at this stage should avoid any nasty surprises when removing the old entrance.

Measuring the Opening (Figure A):

  • Measure interior-side opening width (horizontal) at top, center and bottom.
  • Measure exterior-side opening width(horizontal) at top, center and bottom.
  • Record the smallest of these six rough opening width dimensions.
Figure A Measuring Opening

(Figure B)

  • Measure opening height (vertical) from underside of header to floor at left and right jamb and center locations. Be sure to allow for final floor height if floor is still in rough condition. Account for any header height differences, interior to exterior.
  • Record the smallest of these six dimensions as the rough opening height.

Figure B Measuring Opening

Completing Special-Lite Estimate/Order Forms:

  • Use a consistent format for recording dimensional units (decimals vs. fractions).
  • Record rough opening sizes, remembering it is better to err on the small side.
  • Be sure to note whether dimensions provided are rough opening or net frame size.
  • Use separate forms for each opening.

The Special-Lite Estimate/Order Forms make a great checklist to ensure that all required information has been provided. They also eliminate guesswork and help to reduce order lead times.

One Last Tip:

Finally, always carefully inspect and measure new entrance products to ensure everything is sized correctly before demolition of the old entrance. Following these guidelines should greatly reduce the likelihood of problems and frustrations at installation.


Infographic: Fiberglass Reinforced Polyester FRP Door

Learn More About How Fiberglass and Aluminum Innovations Can Benefit Your Facility

Your building’s first impression is its entrance doors and all who enter touch those doors. Is your visitor’s first impression one of cleanliness, safety, and welcome? Traditional options for schools, universities, and government entrances show the abuse they receive. These doors waste maintenance hours. They need frequent repairs, repainting, and replacement, and often have hardware malfunctions. Are your traditional hollow metal or wood doors eco-friendly? Do they lack the thermal performance to save on heating and cooling costs? These reasons may have you contemplating the investment of a more modern solution for a long, maintenance-free life: FRP. You may also hear them called Fiberglass Reinforced Polyester doors or FRP Aluminum Hybrid doors. These doors deliver the ideal combination of benefits which we’ve detailed in this FRP Door Infographic (select image for PDF): frp-school-door-infographic
  The SL-17 fiberglass door has swept the education market, becoming synonymous with “school door.” Special-Lite has also met the demand for custom options to suit aesthetics desired by many different industries! Our doors prove to be an excellent value for building owners. As a result, many door companies try to imitate, but never replicate, the design and materials. Contact us today about the unique construction and proprietary materials that make Special-Lite the most specified FRP door!