Article on Fiberglass Pultrusion Wins 2017 DHI Robert G. Ryan Award

Pultrusion Technology Delivers Performance Enhancement won Second Place in Technical Articles

Special-Lite’s VP of Sales and Marketing, Roger Stempky won the 2nd place award in the Technical Article category of DHI’s 2017 Ryan Awards, for his article “Pultrusion Technology Delivers Performance Enhancement.” This article appeared in the November 2016 issue of Doors + Hardware Magazine. You can read about all the 2017 DHI Achievement Award Winners in the June issue!

About the Award

DHI presents this award to the best volunteer authors of any article in Doors + Hardware Magazine written from January 1 through December 31 each year. Articles cover either technical or business-related topics. Congratulations to Roger! We are very proud to win this award, especially given the number of excellent articles that appeared in Doors + Hardware Magazine in 2016!  

Read the Article:

pultrusion-article   Blog Adaptation & Video  

Special-Lite Releases New Wood Grain All Fiberglass Door

Introducing the AF-219-1 All Fiberglass Composite Contemporary Wood Grain Door

DECATUR, MI, May 26, 2017–  Special-Lite, Inc. introduced a new door model to their All Fiberglass Composite Door series, adding the warm look of a wood door. Special-Lite will manufacture the new AF-219-1 Contemporary Wood Grain Composite Door in their Marshall, Arkansas facility. It features the same construction method as the All Fiberglass Composite door series. Constructed by factory bonding FRP face sheets to pultruded fiberglass stiles and rails, this method produces doors that are lightweight, strong, impervious to moisture, and resistant to rust, rot, and corrosion. The addition of the AF-219-1 adds a wood grain texture to Special-Lite’s existing FRP face sheet texture options: This contemporary wood grain FRP face sheet first gained popularity when Special-Lite released the SL-19-1 Contemporary Wood Grain FRP/Aluminum Hybrid door. The FRP face sheet has a realistic wood look featuring authentic cherry species replication in four standard stain colors:
  • American Cherry
  • Dark Cherry
  • Dark Walnut
  • Light Maple
  • Custom paint colors also available
 

About Special-Lite, Inc.

Special-Lite manufacturers engineered, made to order architectural products, including commercial entrance systems, interior aluminum framing with swing or sliding aluminum framed doors, and FRP restroom partitions. Complete entrance system products are fiberglass or aluminum flush doors with many door face texture options including wood grain, aluminum monumental (stile & rail) doors, and fiberglass or aluminum framing. Special-Lite’s products are used in new construction and renovation projects for educational, commercial, institutional, industrial and municipal applications. Founded in 1971, the company pioneered the use of fiberglass reinforced polyester (FRP) material for door skins. Today, Special-Lite is the largest volume producer of commercial FRP doors in the United States. pdf-press-releaseview-on-websitesales-sheet  

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.
   
blast-test-doors
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

What is Fiberglass Pultrusion?

Is your building in a wet area and prone to rust and deterioration? Are you processing food, serving food, or needing to sanitize doors? Do you need easy care and maintenance in a beautiful, smooth finished door and frame with a long life expectancy? If you are asking any of these questions, your answer is FIBERGLASS. Now… how do you choose what type of FIBERGLASS door and frame? Let me explain… There are many different commercial fiberglass door and frame manufacturing methods, but the one that is proving to be one of the best – if not the best – is the Pultruded Fiberglass Door and Frame. Many are familiar with fiberglass pultrusion manufacturing process from its history in producing pultruded products such as FRP door frames.  Today, we use this high fiber-to-resin ratio approach in the production of the toughest fiberglass doors on the market.

What is the Fiberglass Pultrusion Process?

Pultrusion is a process where raw materials (in this case glass fiber reinforcements and resins) are drawn into a profile die by a mechanical pulling force.  These fibers are injected with resins while under tension where they are combined and cured. This technology is used to create an entirely pultruded door panel.  A high-density, closed cell polyurethane foam core accompanies the woven rovings, woven knits, veil and resins into the die.  This core reduces the weight of the door without diminishing its strength and delivers outstanding thermal performance. fiberglass-pultrusion-process Multiple layers of glass fiber reinforcing fabrics envelop both sides of the core panel as it moves through the process: a woven layer for impact resistance, two layers of random continuous filament for flexural strength, and a thin veil top layer to provide a smooth surface finish. Glass reinforcements wrap around the panel edges from both sides to improve the door’s structural properties.  This combination of reinforcing fabrics is necessary to consider, as it is this high fiber-to-resin ratio that gives the fiberglass door such impressive strength.   An FDA- and USDA-compliant resin fully saturates the glass fiber fabrics before the door enters the profile die. Here, the die compresses reinforcements around the core panel.  The resin fully cures around the core as the panel passes through the heated portion of the die.  This process produces a hermetically sealed, incredibly durable door panel free of voids.  The FRP has as much as a 65% glass content and provides excellent impact resistance and screw holding strength.  

Performance Beyond Avoiding Rust and Rot of Metal and Wood Doors

While fiberglass doors have gained favor in both the commercial and residential markets, it is important to point out key opportunities for improved performance that a fiberglass pultruded door delivers. The benefits go far beyond the avoidance of rust, rot, and the replacement cost of using wood and steel doors.  

Constructed with Materials that Last

There is no door built to last like a fiberglass door.  Fiberglass boasts impressive strength to weight ratio. Lighter weight allows the hardware attached to have a longer life.  All fiberglass doors, so long as they are sealed, are impervious to moisture, chemicals, seawater and salt solutions.  A fiberglass pultruded door delivers extraordinary performance.

No molds – No Gel Coat

The pultrusion process works without the use of a mold and therefore does not require the use of a gel coat.  A fiberglass pultruded door is prime coated and finished with a two-part urethane finish that delivers superior UV protection.  This 5 mil thickness finish is resistant to corrosive airborne agents and is not susceptible to chalking, discoloration, or leaching. The color maintains a high gloss appearance and flexibility for many years, even in full sun exposure and corrosive environments. This aliphatic polyurethane coating allows for easy surface damage repair. Pultruded doors with this finish are FDA and USDA compliant.

Hermetically Sealed – Really

A manufacturer can feed various core materials into the die. There is a bias toward the use of a closed cell polyurethane foam core to enhance its structural performance.  This process allows doors, in constant contact with water or high humidity, to avoid constant expansion and contraction. Continual expansion and contraction quickly deteriorates a metal or wood door and damages the physical properties of a fiberglass door.  Since pultruded doors are hermetically sealed, they avoid this damaging expansion and contraction. pultruded-door-diagram

Above and Beyond

Finally, pultruded fiberglass doors can use alternate cores adding scalable protection performance. You can order these doors manufactured with fire or ballistic cores adding safety performance to entry ways where needed. You even can order oversized doors pultruded in very long lengths without any seams! Click below to read the original article by Special-Lite VP of Sales and Marketing, Roger Stempky, as published in DHI’s November 2016 Doors + Hardware Magazine: pultrusion-article    

Fire-Rated Doors 101: Learn More about Commercial FRP Fire Doors

If you love one or all of our Special-Lite fiberglass doors, did you know we have a harmonizing fire-rated model available too?

Special-Lite is the manufacturing leader for fiberglass doors. In 35+ years, we migrated from the first and best fiberglass school door into many markets and industries – all having unique door needs. One of those needs is a fire-rated fiberglass door to use in rated entrance locations to match our door products. We solved this need through engineering and by challenging our expert craftspeople to manufacture fire-rated fiberglass doors and frames. They are perfect for new construction or retrofit projects.

We offer two fire-rated fiberglass door types: FRP/Stainless Steel & Fiberglass

What? Yes, both construction types use FRP face sheets, but the construction method and design are different. It is important that you understand the unique construction methods so you can select the type best suited to your location.

FRP/Stainless Steel Fire-Rated Door

Special-Lite builds FRP/Stainless Steel fire-rated doors using a fire-resistant mineral core in 30, 45, 60, and 90-minute rated versions. We chemically bond FRP face sheets to this mineral core. We screw-apply the stainless edges, then weld and buff the corners. Stainless steel vision lite kits are also an available option!

Our fiberglass fire doors are hand measured throughout the entire process to ensure we meet specifications. Custom-built punches used by skilled craftspeople deliver precision edge preps on the stainless steel edge pieces. These punches prep for hardware such as mortise locks, strikes, and flush bolts.

collage_fotor

Below you can see a graphic representation of the FRP/Stainless Steel fire-rated door’s construction. Fire-rated cores are ordered to fit specifications and are reinforced on the top, bottom, and hardware areas. The stainless steel door edge is durable and protects the door edge from damage involving gym bags, suitcases, hospital beds, and equipment.

fire-door-wood  

Fiberglass Fire-Rated Door 

Our other fiberglass fire-rated door construction does not utilize stainless steel door edges. We construct these doors with a fire-rated mineral core featuring edge blocking for superior screw hold performance. We again chemically bond FRP face sheets to the mineral cores. You can order these fiberglass fire-rated doors in many size variations, with fire ratings from 20 to 90 minutes.

  all-fiberglass-fire-01 cross-section-01  

In the drawing above notice the pultruded fiberglass fire-rated door frame! When you combine this pultruded fiberglass fire-rated framing with our fiberglass fire-rated door, you will enjoy a beautiful, complete and cohesive entry system!

Both the Fiberglass Fire-Rated Door and the FRP/Stainless Steel Fire-Rated Door construction uses our .120” thick fiberglass face sheets giving our customers many options:

fire-door-chart
  1. AMP Wood Grain (Fiberglass) Face Sheet We are very excited to offer you a faux wood grain fire-rated door, the Fire-Rated AMP-Clad SL-22! A wood grain look presents many design opportunities for a warm and home-like feel without sacrificing the durability of FRP.  This door is perfect for hospitals, long-term care facilities, retirement residences, hotels, educational housing, places of worship, and traditional education buildings. If your design team has chosen to use our SL-19 flush or SL-18 colonial doors, the SL-22 is the fire door for you! Below is a photo featuring a hotel with this door!
amp-fire-door-woodgrain
  1. Pebble Grain SpecLite 3® FRP (Fiberglass Reinforced Polyester) Face Sheet Our most popular FRP face sheet is used on both the SL-21 and the FR-20P/45P/60P/90P fire doors. The pebble grain FRP face sheet, our proprietary SpecLite 3®, unlike competitors’ pebble grain FRP sheets has a mylar coating. This coating provides scratch and graffiti resistance, as well as making doors incredibly easy to clean. This face sheet is available in 12 standard thru-color options. This option is the perfect choice for any location experiencing hard use or abuse. Also, this is the same face sheet used on the SL-17 and the AF-217 non-fire-rated doors so our customers may coordinate as required.
  2. Sandstone Textured FRP (Fiberglass Reinforced Polyester) Face Sheet You’ll find the sandstone texture FRP face sheet on both the SL-23 and the FR-20S/45S/60S/90S fire doors. The sandstone textured FRP face sheet provides a smoother look than the pebble grain for applications such as schools, childcare centers, hospitals, and industrial buildings. This face sheet is available in all 9 standard thru-color options. Also, this is the same face sheet used on the SL-20 and AF-220 door non-fire-rated doors so our customers may coordinate as desired.
  3. Smooth FRP Face Sheet We use our smooth FRP face sheet on only one of our fire-rated doors – the FR-20/45/60/90. This option provides a beautiful, sleek, modern, and easily cleanable surface. Hermetically sealed with no cracks or crevices, these fire doors are impervious to moisture, chemicals, and bacteria. Standard color selections include 10 standard colors, and the option to use custom colors. All finishes are industrial two-part aliphatic polyurethane, which meets USDA qualifications for incidental food contact. These fire-rated doors are perfect for food prep areas, schools, fitness centers, and pharmaceutical applications. We also think you could get creative with the modern look and color selection and use this durable door for a variety of industries or buildings. Gloss black in an upscale hotel, anyone? This smooth fiberglass fire-rated door works seamlessly with the AF-100 and AF-200!

Our fire-rated doors are compatible with a wide variety of hardware. Particularly relevant is the ability to have surface vertical rods less bottom rods on our FRP/Stainless Steel models, which is preferable by hospitals. Hardware compatibility for both fire-rated constructions is listed below:

hardware-compatibility-fire-rated

Complete Fire-Rated Entrance (Door & Frame)

Complete your fiberglass fire-rated entrance with a pultruded fiberglass frame that cannot rust or corrode! If you cannot replace the existing fire-rated frames, ask about Special-Lite’s insert frame and capping system for your retrofit project. Confused? Don’t be. Just call and let us help you select the perfect door and frame for your fire-rated location.