How do hydraulic doors work? You push a button and the door opens. You push it again and the door closes. Pretty straightforward, right?
As effortless as it is to operate a hydraulic door, the technology that powers it has taken millennia to perfect. In fact, the first automatic door was created all the way back in the first century by Greek mathematician Heron of Alexandria, who used water pressure to open massive city gates.
We’ve come a long way since antiquity, but the principles of hydraulics remain the same. No, you don’t have to call on your city’s temple priest to heat water, wait several hours and hope the door lifts when you want it to — but a fluid is still doing the heavy lifting. If you’ve ever found yourself wondering how hydraulic doors work so smoothly, read on to see what makes it all possible.
Opening the Door
Initiating the opening or closing of a hydraulic door sends a signal to the hydraulic power unit. To prevent malfunctions, Schweiss units use standalone electrical control boxes that house all electrical components separate from the motor itself. This ensures simple component replacement when maintenance is required.
A signal reaches the motor, which uses a single gear driven pump to adjust pressure in the door’s hydraulic cylinder. Schweiss motors are completely enclosed and fan-cooled to ensure continuous reliability. What’s more, overload protection helps to prevent a sudden door failure. As the motor adjusts hydraulic pressure, the cylinder reacts accordingly, extending or retracting as needed.
Using Cylinder Strength
Think of the cylinders as the biceps of the door. As hydraulic pressure increases, they lift and support the large door in its open position. The reverse is also true — less pressure means less support, which closes the door. Schweiss doors incorporate spherical bearings at each end of the cylinders to reduce pressure from the doorframe and prevent bending.
When it comes to hydraulic cylinders, size matters. Just like a larger bicep lifts heavier weights with ease, so too do larger cylinders. If you’re thinking about installing a hydraulic door system, this is an area where you do not want to cut corners. Most hydraulic doors are massive and react to the winds around them. It takes a large and powerful cylinder to support a door that reacts like an airplane wing to its surroundings.
Not all doorframes are created equally. You can predict the lifespan of a doorframe simply by looking at its construction method. Some frames mix wood with steel, which is a recipe for structural failure. Schweiss doors are made completely from steel, which adds to their reliability and structural integrity. All-steel doorframes feature strong fastenings and zero material shrinkage — things that can’t be said about wood frames.
So what to do about wooden doorframes? Many buildings have them, and you might think you’re out of luck if that’s what’s in place at your facility. Fortunately, Schweiss doors come with pre-assembled steel frames that make installation simple. No on-site welding is necessary, and you never have to worry about subpar building materials leading to structural issues down the line.
Find Your Door
There are plenty of engineering tricks that go into how a hydraulic door works, and when they all work in tandem, it’s a sight to behold. Improving automatic doors might seem like reinventing the wheel, but there is a huge difference between a consistently unreliable door and one that rarely fails.
When you need a door that won’t let you down, contact our experts. We will set you up with a custom bifold or one-piece door for your building. Schweiss’ hydraulic door technology leads the industry, and you can depend on our team to equip your structure with state-of-the-art solutions.
Need some inspiration? Check out our gallery of completed projects to see what we can do for you.