Putting Industrial Curtains to Work in Commercial Barns

Putting Industrial Curtains to Work in Commercial Barns

Commercial Barn

For much of human history, agricultural duties have been performed on a small scale. In the 20th century, technology transformed agriculture into a highly specialized industry that is largely executed on a commercial scale to this day.

Commercial barns allow farmers to produce fruits, vegetables and grains and care for livestock en masse. However, that kind of scale requires careful management of the conditions within the barn. How can industrial curtains be used in different types of commercial barns?

Commercial Barn Uses

Commercial barns are larger, industrial facilities designed for specific purposes. Common products that are housed in these buildings include:

  • Produce. Farms growing large crops of produce, whether fruit or vegetables, need a commercial barn for conditioning and storing products. These barns can also store equipment necessary for farm operations, such as harvesting.
  • Dairy. Dairy farms need the space to care for the large number of cows responsible for milk production. Commercial dairy farms need areas for operations like milking and the birth of calves
  • Poultry. Chicken farmers need a commercial barn with precisely controlled environmental conditions to maximize poultry production.
  • Livestock. Livestock, like cattle, is another area of food production that requires a commercial barn. Like a dairy barn, a livestock barn needs the space to raise and pen animals.

Why Division of Space Matters

Commercial agriculture requires efficient production, whether that means growing the largest crop possible or managing a high number of animals, supported by precise control. Commercial barns are not simply large, wide-open facilities. Farmers need commercial barns to account for factors like:

  • Precise temperature control inside of a commercial barn keeps products from spoiling and keeps animals safe and comfortable. Different areas of a barn may need to be kept at different temperatures.
  • The way air moves throughout a commercial agriculture facility is another important consideration for product integrity and animal safety. Facility design and fans play a role in ventilation, as does the way the facility’s available space is separated.
  • Commercial barns also need separate areas for different operations. For example, animals need to be kept apart from processing equipment.
  • Contaminant control. Industrial curtains are also a proven way of creating contamination free environments. A great economical alternative to more expensive hard wall structures, these curtains can ensure produce, meat, and other agricultural elements are kept in separate controlled spaces to avoid cross contamination.
Commercial Barn Curtain

How Industrial Curtain Walls Can Help

Commercial barns can, of course, have solid walls in place, but this is not always practical if you are reorganizing or expanding your operations. Industrial curtain walls offer a cost-effective solution for managing temperature and airflow in separate spaces within barns.

You have the option of installing single-ply curtains or insulated barn curtains in a retractable or stationary configuration. In either scenario, curtains have add-on’s, or options, that will make the curtain airtight.   Floor sweeps, Velcro or magnet edges, valances, and filler panels ensure that the curtain can fit tightly to whatever structure you have in place.

Industrial curtains are made of durable and easy-to-clean material, qualities essential for life in a commercial barn. Curtain materials that are anti-microbial and food grade are also offered, to meet additional specifications required in different processing applications.  Hardware systems are offered in galvanized steel and stainless steel, as well.

Installed to meet your needs, commercial barn curtains can improve energy efficiency by managing airflow and temperature and protect products, animals, and equipment from the elements.

Learn more about how AmCraft can help you create a custom industrial curtain system for your commercial barn.

Adapting to Overhead Cranes

Adapting to Overhead Cranes

Overhead cranes are designed to lift and move heavy loads. In manufacturing facilities, this equipment can be used across a variety of industries, such as automotive and aviation. In warehouses, overhead cranes can be used to move any manner of bulky goods as they are stored, organized, and loaded for distribution.

 While essential to many facilities, overhead cranes can also present a challenge when it comes to the division of space. Large manufacturing plants often need discrete working spaces for different operations, while warehouses need that separation for the storage of different product types. How can facilities adapt to overhead cranes while using their space as efficiently as possible?

An AmCraft Solution

ABOVE THE CRANE

When a curtain is mounted above the crane rail, it is essential that it does not interfere with the crane’s movements and functionality. 

The curtain panels above the crane can be mounted parallel to or perpendicular to the crane as long as there are existing structural members available to support the curtain panels or strips.

AmCraft's PVC Strip Curtain
BELOW THE CRANE

Because the hardware for the curtain panels cannot be suspended from the ceiling, we offer a Free-Standing Track System, up to 12’ high, with 12” x 12” floor mounting plates.  The plates are used to secure each upright (upright support has a recommended spacing interval of 5’).  This Free-Standing Track System also allows the curtains to be retractable.

AmCraft's Freestanding Industrial Curtain

Creating Separate Spaces

Businesses need a way to separate areas to maintain temperature control and humidity control; to protect from contaminants; and to manage airflow. Building more walls to divide the space within a manufacturing plant or warehouse is not always feasible in terms of cost and utility, particularly when the facility has to use overhead cranes.

Overhead cranes can lift, lower, and move horizontally, making them a versatile tool, but they need to be able to move freely throughout a facility. Above the crane rail, strip curtains present an effective solution for creating the necessary isolated divisions within a facility without hindering the movement of overhead cranes, as well as equipment like forklifts.

Below the crane rail, some customers use the free standing track system (outlined above), and other customers opt to hang a cable.  This cable would need to be strung between two structural supports. Depending on the width of the cable and how well it is tensioned, the curtain could sag a bit in the center of the width; however it still offers a sturdy solution for hanging any of the following curtain solutions:

Single Layer Curtains – Separate space, control air movement

Thermal Curtain – Separate temperature (available in 5 different R-Values)

Acoustic Curtains – Separate Noise and Absorb Sound

Challenges to Consider

While strip curtains are the answer for many manufacturing facilities and warehouses with overhead cranes, they are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Each facility has a different layout and different needs. Before deciding to get a quote on strip curtains, take into consideration:

 

  • Ceiling configuration. How does a facility’s ceiling come into play if you need to separate space above the overhead crane? Suspended mounting of strip curtains can accommodate easy movement of an overhead crane, but the measurement and installation of the curtains will depend on the slope of the ceiling. Will the cut of the curtain match that slope exactly? A suspended mount requires a one-inch overlap with the strip door bracket and the curtains.
  • Airtightness. While strip curtains allow for movement of overhead cranes, it remains important to ensure airtightness of certain areas. Curtains need to be precisely measured to allow equipment to move where necessary and to stop airflow as soon as that movement is completed.

A Knowledgable Solution

Industrial curtains- single layer, strip, thermal, or acoustic- are a great solution for your facility’s needs but understanding of how to best utilize them in your facility takes specialized knowledge. Our technical representatives’ partner with you to understand the particulars of your business and to get the exact measurements for your curtains. Reach out to us to get started on finding the right curtains for your manufacturing plant or warehouse.

    How to Repurpose and Keep Your Warehouse Space Flexible

    How to Repurpose and Keep Your Warehouse Space Flexible

    Repurposing Possibilities

    When not in use, warehouses tend to be expansive, high-ceiled spaces. You can imagine them as a blank canvas. If there isn’t a future in warehousing for the space, it can be completely repurposed in a number of ways. Industrial warehouse space can become:

    • An entertainment venue. Warehouse space could be repurposed to feature live music, or other entertainment like art or cinema. While it may seem like live music and any other in-person event are a distant memory, they will become a part of life again. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is cautiously optimistic that live entertainment could make a comeback this fall
    • Office space. While remote work has become the norm for many people during the pandemic, the need for office space is unlikely to vanish entirely. As the rollout of the vaccine progresses and we are able to move back toward normal life, companies will be looking for space for their employees. Warehouses could have a second life as medical offices or some other kind of business.  
    • Production space. Warehouses could be put to use for another industrial purpose, such as manufacturing or testing. Industries such as biotechnology are booming, which likely means the need for more space. 

     

    Reimagining Your Space 

    Warehousing space still remains important. You may not need to completely repurpose your space. Maybe you only need to reimagine how it is used. Whether you are condensing operations or expanding the type of products stored and distributed through your warehouse, it is likely you will need to change how you utilize your space. How can you do more with the warehouse space that you have?

     

    Remaining Flexible

    Industrial curtains can be used to change your warehouse’s layout and its capabilities.

    • Separate spaces. Industrial curtains can help turn your warehouse into a flexible, multipurpose work space. Whether you need an airtight section or an enclosed workspace for administrative functions, you can use warehouse curtains to effectively divide different aspects of your facilities operations. 
    • Temperature control. Insulated curtains can also be put to work in warehouses to create storage space designed for temperature-sensitive products, such as food or pharmaceuticals. 
    • Sound control. If any of your repurposed work space includes noisy operations, acoustic curtains can be used to reduce sound and create quieter working zones for other team members. 

    Opting for retractable curtains also allows you to remain flexible as the needs of your warehouse change over time. Learn more about AmCraft’s industrial curtains and how we can help you get the most out of your warehouse space. 

     

    Sources: 

    1. https://phoenix3pl.com/repurposing-older-buildings-as-distribution-centers/
    2. https://www.dbsg.com/blog/life-after-dark-tips-for-commercial-property-owners-to-repurpose-dark-retail/ 
    3. https://hmcarchitects.com/news/repurposed-commercial-buildings-from-abandoned-big-box-to-functional-space-2019-06-12/
    4. https://www.thinkcurrituck.com/blog/adaptive-reuse-for-industrial-properties-how-to-see-the-potential-and-what-to-look-for 
    5. https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/dr-anthony-fauci-theaters-music-venues-reopen-fall-2021-1112542/ 
    6. https://theconversation.com/the-factories-of-the-past-are-turning-into-the-data-centers-of-the-future-70033 
    7. https://www.grandviewresearch.com/press-release/global-biotechnology-market 
    8. https://www.amcraftindustrialcurtainwall.com/ 
    9. https://www.amcraftindustrialcurtainwall.com/products/insulated-curtains/ 
    10. https://www.amcraftindustrialcurtainwall.com/products/industrial-curtain-walls/warehouse-curtains/ 
    11. https://www.amcraftindustrialcurtainwall.com/products/acoustic-curtains/
    Why Temperature Control is Important for Your Warehouse Employees

    Why Temperature Control is Important for Your Warehouse Employees

    Warehouses are a major hub of the logistics industry, storing everything from consumer packaged goods to electronics. Many warehouses store and handle temperature-sensitive products, such as food and pharmaceuticals. Maintaining the proper temperature is essential to supply chain integrity and product quality. However, products aren’t the only reason warehouse owners need to be concerned about temperature. Employee comfort and productivity are also important factors to consider.

     

    Temperature Control Challenges

    Warehouse utility management is complex. Environmental conditions need to be precisely controlled to ensure temperature- and humidity-sensitive items are safely stored before moving onto the next step in their supply chain journey. For many facilities, especially large ones that handle a wide variety of goods, this necessitates separate temperature zones.

    Discrete temperature areas in a large facility can lead to expensive energy bills, and it can be a challenge for the employees working the warehouse. Can the employees easily access different areas to do their jobs? Does moving from zone to zone affect the temperature or humidity control? Are employees comfortable while they do their jobs?

     

    How Insulated Curtains Work

    R4 R5 AmCraft Insulated Curtain

    Thermal insulated curtains are an effective temperature control tool for industrial and warehouse settings. Insulated curtains can work in tandem with heating and cooling systems and commercial humidifiers or dehumidifiers to keep precise environmental control in separate areas configured to your warehouse’s needs and can be retractable or stationary.

    The R-value of the product determines how high of a temperature differential a curtain can easily maintain. A curtain with a higher R-value means that maintain a higher temperature differential is possible, which is typically useful for industrial facilities with temperature extremes.

    Many warehouses find beneficial use for options on the lower R-value side, such as:

    • R-4 insulated soft wall curtains (retractable) – R-4 insulated curtains have a maximum height of 25 feet and one inch of insulation material with a maximum temperature differential of 22 degrees Fahrenheit. R-4 curtains have a retractable construction, allowing warehouses to easily reconfigure the curtains for their needs.
    • R-5 insulated soft wall curtains (stationary) – R-5 insulated curtains have a slightly higher temperature differential of 25 degrees Fahrenheit. This option also has one inch of insulation material, but they can reach 40 feet in height. R-5 curtains are designed for stationary use.

    Both types of curtains serve as barriers, creating temperature buffer zones wherever is needed in a warehouse.

     

    How can lightly insulated curtains help warehouses?

    • Product storage – Temperature and humidity control are a primary concern for product quality and safety during storage. Insulated curtains offer a durable, effective and flexible solution to warehouses’ environmental control challenges.
    • Loading docks – Products need to move through warehouse loading docks to shipping containers, but temperature control remains important in this area of the facility. Insulated curtains can be employed to maintain the proper temperature here as well as in the interior of the warehouse.
    • The retractable version of our Insulated curtains allows the ability to use the curtains as needed. For example, retractable curtains still allow for machining deliveries.
    • Energy bills – By creating the separate temperature zones necessary, a warehouse can heat and cool smaller areas more effectively. Employees can easily move from one zone to another, while curtains help contain the temperature-controlled air.
    • Employee comfort – Prolonged temperature extremes negatively affect employee productivity, and they are uncomfortable for your team. By creating separate temperature zones with insulated curtains, employees only need to move into areas of extreme heat or cold when necessary to their jobs.

    Take a look at our insulated curtains and ask us how our products can help your warehouse and your employees.

     

    Sources:

    1. https://www.amcraftindustrialcurtainwall.com/products/insulated-curtains/lightly-flexible-insulated-curtain-wall/
    2. https://www.amcraftindustrialcurtainwall.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/amcraft-specsheets-insulated-1-in.pdf
    3. https://www.kanbanlogistics.com/understanding-key-warehouse-temperature-terms-logistics/
    4. https://work.chron.com/temperature-workplace-impacts-productivity-5032.html