Specialty Doors Require Special Consideration

by Howard Schrier,
General Manager, Specialty & Integrated Solutions

Specialty doors are, for lack of a better word, specialized. What I mean is that this line covers such a wide range of robust door types, applications, and technical details, including ratings and certifications, that it can be intimidating and challenging to navigate.  

As you might expect, specialty doors can also be expensive due to their distinct designs and higher degree of performance. Subsequently, it’s important to be judicious in determining the most appropriate and economical solution, and wise, if not critical, to lean on us for guidance. Our team of nearly 20 consultants has nearly 300 years of specialty door product and market expertise, and they can be a tremendous help in simplifying the overall decision-making process by carefully identifying needs and recommending the right cost-effective fit.

As noted above, ASSA ABLOY specialty doors run the gamut, making us unique in our breadth of products and solutions. Others might offer some nice stainless-steel doors, but they don’t meet acoustic ratings or aren’t bullet or blast resistant. Or they might be intruder resistant but aesthetically lacking. At ASSA ABLOY, not only do we build many specialty door products, but we also strive to create a product that features multiple specialty attributes within a single assembly when applicable and possible.

A partial list of our specialty options includes doors, hardware, and integrated solutions that are designed to be intruder-resistant, windstorm-resistant, fire-rated, STC acoustically rated or decorative, or a practical combination of some or all of these attributes.

The Most Sought-After Specialty Door Solutions
Our attack-resistant, bullet-resistant, and blast-resistant door assemblies, which are comprised of the door, hardware, and accessories, can withstand incredible forces of impact. These amazing products help shield those inside, discourage and outwear intruders, and buy valuable time for first responders to arrive on scene.

On the decorative side, our RITE Door product line comes in a huge palette of colors and selection of laminate textures and can even be pre-finished to match existing paints. We also offer flexible design styles for our sliding door solution - RITE Slide.

In addition to their aesthetic appeal, RITE Slide doors save a significant amount of space since they don’t require the footprint of a traditional swinging door. They’re also third-party certified with an STC 34 rating to ensure privacy wherever acoustic protection and optimization is a priority, such as hospital and exam rooms, offices, recording studios, and hospitality guest rooms.  

With such a variety of applications and indoor environments requiring more sophisticated and ergonomic acoustic solutions and our ability to provide a complete range of Sound Transmission Class (STC) rated steel and solid wood door options, it’s not surprising that 60% of specialty door requests are for our acoustic products.

Not only is sound attenuation a concern but so is radio frequency (RF) interference, especially for the government and military sectors. Eliminating RF is a critical factor in stamping out cyberattacks. Fortunately, ASSA ABLOY has had RF/EMI Shielding solutions in place for a while and will be rolling out assemblies that far exceed our current product offerings in the coming months. . The need is growing rapidly and we’re responding to this demand by obtaining the necessary certifications and creating the innovative products to meet it.

More on Intruder Resistance
Another area where we’ve seen an uptick has been for bullet-resistant solutions. While it’s unfortunate that places like schools must even consider the technology, it’s part of the world we live in today. A school district in the state of New York, for example, has taken the extra precaution of installing ASSA ABLOY bullet-resistant doors in every one of their several hundred classrooms.

But many districts don’t have the budget to invest in such extra measures nor does every situation require doing so. That’s why we provide alternative solutions like our attack-resistant doors. While not as hardened as our bullet-resistant doors, they do provide extremely robust resistance for school settings as well as other locations. They’re also purposefully designed to be lighter in weight to make them easier for everyone to use. This is an important consideration for schools with younger children.

Another advancement that we’re very proud of is our retrofit glass kit that can be installed into existing doors, sidelights, and/or window frames. It’s an extremely effective solution for fortifying existing daylighting openings and keeping perpetrators from breaking in.  Our glass solution can also withstand a four-minute attack against various hand tools. So can our attack-resistant locks and door hardware. With the average time of 3-minutes, 45-seconds that it takes first responders to arrive, this strong level of deterrence helps protect occupants, thwarts an intrusion, and most likely will cause the assailant to give up and, hopefully, be overtaken.

Shorter Lead Times and Lean Manufacturing
Coinciding with our selection of specialty doors and continuous innovation, it’s also exciting to see how our manufacturing techniques are evolving. Years ago, lead times were 10-12 weeks. We’ve been able to cut that in half in many cases due to improvements in the use and flow of materials. It’s very gratifying to see what ASSA ABLOY is doing with our own sustainable, lean manufacturing and how those processes allow us to produce better products faster with safer, fewer materials.

Speaking of lean, never hesitate to lean on us for consultation. While we’re able to deliver specialty door solutions quicker today, we’re also mindful not to overtax our manufacturing capacity with orders that could be unnecessarily complex and costly or the result of over-specification. That’s why we always urge distributors to collaborate closely with us to size up applications and installation requirements thoroughly well before finalizing selections.

After all, the valuable expertise and guidance we offer is just as much of a unique ASSA ABLOY specialty as our wide array of resilient specialty doors.