Why choose an industrial high speed door over a conventional warehouse door?

Typically, clients need some level of expert advice and guidance when looking to incorporate industrial warehouse door solutions within their facility. They want to make sure that the high-speed industrial door is appropriate to the application, capable of the demands and operating cycles, and fit for purpose. It is a capital investment that should be an asset to the business.

Here we explore the key differences between a conventional warehouse or roller shutter door versus a high-speed warehouse door. We outline the key differences to help provide information to support your decision-making process.

When and where should I use a high-speed industrial door system?

The term ‘industrial door’ relates to conventional door types, which are typically electrically operated. They were known as ‘roller shutters’ or ‘sectional doors’ and often featured some insulation properties and windows for improved visibility. Generally, they are operated and opened using a simple control. Typically, they are slow to open and close, leaving buildings exposed to the elements. Due to the build quality and design engineering, they have relatively low life expectancy or operating cycles.

The term ‘high-speed door’ is misleading as it only refers to one capability – the speed…

The term ‘high-performance door’ is a better description. In reality, a high-speed door covers much more, including a variety of different performance parameters and characteristics, including their speed. Typically, a roller shutter opens at speeds of around 5 – 10 centimetres per second, whereas sectional doors are much faster at approximately 30 centimeters per second. When we refer to a high-speed or high-performance door, opening speeds are up to 4 meters per second, while closing at around one meter per second.

Due to the speed of opening, high speed warehouse door systems need to be able to manage much greater forces using stronger and faster motors. Additionally, all the components of the drive system, hinge chain, drive shafts, and rollers must perform up to 250,000 operating cycles per year.

Simple, conventional warehouse doors often use a ‘dead man control’ without any automation and safety systems. High-speed industrial warehouse doors, on the other hand, require a level of automation and safety guarantees due to their operating speeds. A combination of safety edge and safety photocell is the legally defined minimum equipment, while premium products will be equipped with touch-free safety systems like infrared light grids.

In general, you will find that industrial high speed doors offer more options, alternatives and functions compared to conventional door systems.

We will give an overview of some of the fundamental differences, including the performances of each door type.

The requirement profile is often based on the following criteria:

  1. Intensity of usage
  2. Activation and safety (automation)
  3. Economics
  4. Sustainability

The intensity of door usage

The usage intensity is one of the most important criteria to consider; how many times per day or frequency of shift does the warehouse door need to open? This results in the annual number of opening cycles.

While a warehouse sectional door has an overall life expectancy of circa 50 to 75,000 cycles, a high speed industrial door can easily do several hundred thousand opening cycles per year. Industrial high speed doors with more than 5 million cycles on the counter are not a rarity.

Door activation and safety

The required level of industrial door activation and safety (automation) defines the necessary safety and activation systems.

Various activation devices are available, ranging from simple, mechanically operated to automatic sensing devices. In other words, it is not only about function but also about comfort and economics.

The same is true for the safety systems; again, a variety is available to match the application’s needs.

This is even more true when we start thinking about requirements for “smart-factory”, “industry 4.0”, or “product digitalisation”.

Power cuts may be a rarity in the UK, but not so for some parts of Europe or the rest of the world.

But this is only the case in some regions of Europe or the world.

In such a case, the emergency opening of a standard roller shutter is completed using an uncomfortable manual hand crank. The operator is often positioned on a ladder, and the opening of the door can take several minutes.

Opening a sectional warehouse door with an emergency chain-hoist is more accessible in this comparison but still consumes much more time and effort than a high-speed industrial door

A high-speed warehouse door, is equipped with a counter balancing system, meaning the emergency opening is completed by flipping a lever on the door frame.


The intensity of usage massively influences the economics of any warehouse door system.

Therefore, when you calculate profitability analysis, you should consider the annual number of opening cycles and the total life cycle.

The lifetime number of opening and closing cycles of a warehouse sectional door is to be considered 100,000 maximum.

The purchase price of a EFAFLEX high-speed door might be three times higher initially. but it can realise 50 times more opening cycles during its life expectancy, meaning the costs for one-door opening are, therefore, 16 times higher with a conventional door.

If we now factor in energy efficiencies, we will see this:

Because of the significantly higher grade of automation, combined with the much higher operating speed, the ‘keep open’ times of high-speed doors are much shorter, reducing energy loss and improving efficiencies.

It’s a fact – efficiency of our industrial door speeds reduce energy costs.

This results in immense cost savings on the energy bill and CO2 savings, which pushes the results of the profitability analysis even more towards the benefit of the EFAFLEX warehouse high-speed door.

When you factor in the cost of waiting times for employees such as truck drivers or forklift drivers waiting for doors to open or close, you will find the result even more pushed to the negative side of conventional warehouse doors.

The picture is apparent if we now look at the result from a perspective of the total cost of warehouse door ownership or lifetime value.


Sustainability is defined as covering requirements for current resources without putting future generations at risk. This consideration has been and will continue to be significant.

In our scenario, this means sustainability begins with planning, design, and production and transmits through operations until, ultimately, the end-of-life disposal and recycling of the used commercial door systems.

Compared to conventional warehouse doors, EFAFLEX high speed doors show a much better ecological balance, as they keep energy consumption low and minimise energy losses of the building.

An EFAFLEX high speed industrial door realises massive energy and CO2 savings based on much longer lifetime performance and significantly reduced waiting times, improving the door’s sustainability, being more environmentally friendly, and increasing your operation’s profitability.

You will find proof of this in the Sustainability Certificate from the ift in Rosenheim.





Opening Cycles

Low Medium


Degree of Automation

Small Amount


Energy Balance

High Energy Losses

Low Energy Losses


Small Amount


Lifetime Cost


Small Amount


Small Amount


When we now compare the outcome of the previous warehouse door considerations, we come to the following results:

High speed warehouse doors and conventional doors will fulfil the requirements towards the new industrial door differently.

According to the prioritisation of the different requirements, your choice could be affected.

A conventional warehouse door is not automatically a wrong choice, but does it fulfil your requirements towards performance?

Choosing a high speed industrial door is a sensible decision starting with a moderate up to a high intensity of usage.

The EFAFLEX portfolio covers the full range of high speed industrial doors for commercial applications.

The product finder on our website offers a handy tool to help you choose the best door solution for your application and environment.

We offer matching solutions for a wide variety of commercial door applications. 

From industrial spiral and fabric doors to folding and activation warehouse doors. We have all industry sectors covered with our expertly engineered commercial door solutions.