The simplicity and ease of maintenance have made hydraulic shop doors increasingly popular for Canadian farmers.
“The whole concept behind the Powerlift Hydraulic Door, or any hydraulic lift door, is to get away from moving parts,” said Mike Aleman of Powerlift Hydraulic Doors in southern Alberta.
“So there are no cables, no rollers, springs, none of the things you would maintain on your existing door. There are just two hydraulic cylinders that push up a wall.”
The company can build doors up to 80 feet wide and up to 20 feet high, which can accommodate most farm machinery.
Aleman said the company has sold doors that cost as much as $200,000, but the standard 20 by 14 foot door costs about $10,000.
“The main structure of the door is a five by three inch framing that runs up the side, and a five by five inch header across the top. That’s what we fasten to the building. Then the weight of our door transfers back through our cylinders to our frame, which obviously is attached to the building,” Aleman said.
“The door closes up against its own frame, so when it’s closed it’s sealed, it’s tight.”
A simple electric over hydraulic system powers the doors, and there are pioneer-type fittings farmers can attach to their tractors to open or close the door if there is a power failure.
“We manufacture these locally and we always install them,” Aleman said.
“You can attach remotes, we can add windows, entry doors, we can insulate them if you want, there is a host of things we can do.”
Another company that offers hydraulic doors suitable for large agriculture shops, Schweiss Doors based out of Hector, Minnesota, will ship custom built doors to Canadian farmers or will send door plans so farmers can build it themselves.
“Call our office and let them know what your clear opening is on your building,” said Pat Schmidt of Schweiss Doors.
“All our doors are custom made to within an 1/8 of an inch. The sales people will give you the size of the steel that you need and you pick your own steel, and we’ll ship up to you the hydraulic pump and the other stuff that goes with the door to power it.”
Schweiss Doors use spherical bearings in the hinges, has a long-range remote control and if there is a power disruption, a battery backup or hydraulic attachments for a tractor can power the system.
The company also has a hydraulic wind pin option for its doors, which is a short pin mounted on the door and goes down into the concrete when activated.
“In areas with high winds, people order these to help steady your doors,” Schmidt said.
“When you open your door, it automatically lifts the wind pin up, and when the door goes down it automatically puts the wind pin back down into the concrete.”
A designer door Schweiss Doors built has a wrap-around porch with a veranda roof, railing, table and chairs, windows and a walk through entrance.
The 45 by 15 foot hydraulic door was installed on a shed for Daniel Shaw in Geneva, Florida.
The computer template design was adjusted to help handle the extra weight of the door, and Schweiss Doors matches the hydraulic power system to the weight of each of its doors.