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

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  

Special-Lite Names Ken Bowditch as Vice President of Engineering

“…I am confident in Ken’s ability to lead us forward and drive these current and future initiatives.” –Henry L. Upjohn II, CEO

  DECATUR, MI, May 8, 2017– Special-Lite, Inc. announced today that Ken Bowditch will assume the position of Vice President of Engineering. Special-Lite’s Board of Directors approved this promotion on April 20th, 2017.

Accomplishments at Special-Lite

Bowditch joined Special-Lite in 2007 as a Research and Development Engineer and was promoted to Director of Research and Development. His accomplishments at Special-Lite include extensive research and testing for hurricane products, including doors for high-velocity hurricane zones. In 2014, Bowditch and Henry L. Upjohn II, CEO of Special-Lite, designed an air cannon for hurricane door testing. They designed the cannon to deliver large missile impact testing to doors used in high wind areas. The team can use the cannon for both hurricane and tornado testing. Bowditch also led the Research and Development Team to develop and test the first ever pultruded fiberglass ballistic door. Since 2009, Bowditch simultaneously serves as a Department Associate for the University of Florida, Engineering School of Sustainable Infrastructure & Environment. Special-Lite and the University of Florida partnered to design and build a pressure simulator. The pressure simulator enables engineers to research the impact that hurricanes have on architecture in high wind areas of the country. Bowditch, as a member of a team with the University of Florida Research Foundation, received a patent earlier this year for the Dynamic Wind Velocity and Pressure Simulator. Henry L. Upjohn II, CEO of Special-Lite, Inc., commented on Bowditch’s promotion, “This is an exciting time at Special-Lite, our continued growth in our core educational market remains strong and is driven by the market’s demand for scalable safety, security and environmentally responsible products. We continue to invest significantly in maintaining our market leadership position with our focus on these priorities. In addition, we continue to broaden our product offering, especially in the interior products segment. This all places significant demands on our Engineering team, and I am confident in Ken’s ability to lead us forward and drive these current and future initiatives.”

Prior Experience

Prior to joining Special-Lite’s team, Bowditch, a graduate of Lawton High School, worked for Stearns-Stafford, Inc. as a machinist for 19 years. He then joined Stryker in 1995 where he began his career as a machinist and was promoted to Manager of the Experimental Shop. Bowditch’s career also includes 19 years of voluntary service to the Lawton Fire Department.

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, fiberglass and 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. View PDF Sign Up for News Releases

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

A Win for School Security: Ballistic Door Wins New Product Award

ballistic-door-award

About the Award

College Planning & Management announced the winners of their 2016 New Product of the Year Awards in Mid-December. They state,
“The New Product Award program honors the outstanding product development achievements of manufacturers and suppliers whose products or services are considered to be particularly noteworthy in their ability to enhance the learning environment. An independent panel of judges from the industry selected 15 Platinum and 26 Gold winners in the second year of this contest. Twenty-nine additional products were awarded an Honorable Mention.”
We are excited to announce that Special-Lite’s AF-100BRwon the Platinum New Product award in the category of Doors for educational door and frame safety. We are so passionate about school safety and school security, and we continue to develop new products to meet these needs. You can read more about the award and other winning products here.
bullet-resistant-door-school-security

About our Ballistic Door & Frame

The AF-100BR3 Door is the first ballistic door manufactured using fiberglass pultrusion technology. This process produces a smooth-faced, corrosion and bullet resistant fiberglass door. This door is incredibly strong and is also fully sealed for easy cleaning. Special-Lite developed this bullet resistant door to support the need for increased security at educational, government and military facilities. You can read the details on our ballistic products here.

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