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
    How to Use Thermal Curtains to Maintain Optimal Temperature Control in the Food Industry

    How to Use Thermal Curtains to Maintain Optimal Temperature Control in the Food Industry

    Temperature and humidity levels need to be carefully controlled by facilities that store and distribute food, particularly perishable foods like meat, dairy, seafood, and produce. A properly maintained environment ensures quality control and compliance with regulations from agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

    Temperature control in large, industrial buildings can be a challenge. Heating and cooling systems, of course, play a key role, but businesses are challenged to maintain different sections of the facility at different temperatures. Thermal insulated curtains offer an effective solution to creating discrete temperature zones in food storage and distribution facilities. How do these industrial curtains work? How can they be put to work in your business?

    Insulated Curtain Applications

    Thermal curtains are made of vinyl and interior insulation. Depending on the R-value of the curtains, they can offer a temperature differential of 22 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Any facility that handles and stores foods likely has varying temperature and humidity requirements. Temperature control curtains can be used in:

    • Food and beverage manufacturing facilities
    • Food and beverage distribution warehouses
    • Facility loading dock areas
    • Storage areas for produce, dry goods, beverages, floral products, and pharmaceuticals

    Benefits of Thermal Curtains

    Temperature and humidity control is the primary benefit of thermal curtains, but insulated curtains also offer:

    • Durability. The vinyl and insulation layer of thermal curtains are extremely durable and easy to wash down. Additionally, this material is resistant to mildew and some chemicals.
    • Energy savings. Thermal curtains can dramatically reduce a food storage facility’s energy costs. By creating separate temperature zones, large facilities can heat or cool smaller areas more efficiently when the edges are sealed.
    • Acoustic value. While not specifically designed for noise control, thermal insulated curtains do have some acoustic value, which can be beneficial in large, industrial settings.

    Curtain Options

    Insulated curtains can either be retractable or stationary, customizable based on the needs of the individual facility. When it comes to temperature control needs, a higher R-value translates into higher thermal resistance. Facilities that handle food can choose from curtains such as:

    • R-25 insulated curtain walls. R-25 insulated rigid curtain walls have six inches of inner insulation: two inches of rigid material and four inches of soft compressed material. With this higher R-value, these curtains are able to maintain a maximum temperature difference of 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Learn more about AmCraft’s insulated thermal curtains and how they can be put to work in the food storage and distribution sector.

    Sources:

    1. https://www.amcraftindustrialcurtainwall.com/products/insulated-curtains/
    2. https://www.amcraftindustrialcurtainwall.com/products/insulated-curtains/medium-insulated-curtain-wall/
    3. https://www.amcraftindustrialcurtainwall.com/products/insulated-curtains/heavy-flexible-insulated-curtain-wall/
    4. https://www.amcraftindustrialcurtainwall.com/products/insulated-curtains/heaviest-rigid-insulated-curtain-wall/
    5. https://www.fda.gov/files/food/published/Evaluation-and-Definition-of-Potentially-Hazardous-Foods.pdf
    6. https://www.amcraftindustrialcurtainwall.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/amcraft-specsheets-insulated-3-in.pdf
    Creating a Safe Outdoor Dining Experience This Winter

    Creating a Safe Outdoor Dining Experience This Winter

    The COVID-19 pandemic has posed a serious threat to the bar and restaurant industry. Normally a hub of social interaction, these businesses have had to shut their doors and adopt creative solutions to keep their staff and customers safe. Curbside pick-up, delivery, and outdoor seating have become the norm for the dining industry during the pandemic. But, the approach of winter makes dining outside a challenge. How can bars and restaurants create an outdoor dining experience that works during the coldest months of the year?

    Safety Recommendations
    First and foremost, eateries need to ensure they are maintaining an environment that is as safe as possible. Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as local regulations, serve as an important point of reference for restaurants and bars.

    • Social distancing. However a restaurant or bar is able to operate, inside dining or outside, social distancing is an important safety measure. Tables should have at least six feet of space between them.
    • Limited capacity. Social distancing can also be supported by limiting capacity. Smaller groups of people are easier to adequately space out within a restaurant or on its patio.
    • Masking. The CDC recommends the employees of bars and restaurants wear facemasks and recommends customers wear masks when they are not eating or drinking.
    • Outdoor seating. Adequate ventilation and air flow help to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, which makes outdoor seating a safer option.

    Outdoor Challenges

    While eating and drinking outdoors was an easy solution in the balmy months of summer, winter brings a new set of challenges.

    • Temperature. In areas with mild winters, customers might be able to wear a few extra layers and still enjoy outdoor seating. In other areas with harsher winters, restaurants are faced with the question of creating an outdoor environment warm enough to attract customers.
    • Layout. Outdoor tents may be a potential option for restaurants, but the same considerations for safe dining apply. Does the tent allow for adequate ventilation? Can tables be placed far enough apart within the tent? Enclosed tents with poor air flow and large groups are likely not a safe solution.

    Outdoor Solutions

    What potential solutions do restaurants have to chilly weather and layout concerns?

    • Heaters. Many restaurants and bars are adding heaters to their outdoor spaces in an effort to create a warm enough environment. Some businesses are offering blankets or suggesting customers bring their own.
    • Physical barriers. In addition to temperature control, restaurants and bars need to keep in mind proper distancing protocols. Physical barriers can be installed in outdoor spaces to divide the airspace and maintain separate, safe areas for customers. For example, Sneeze Buddy™ Social Distance Separation Panels can be used to create separate dining enclosures outdoors. Freestanding modular frames or clear or suspended panels from above with chain or cables allow restaurants to configure the panels in whatever way works best for their outdoor space.

    Thermal insulated curtains can serve as a multipurpose solution: creating both separate spaces and helping to maintain a warmer temperature for customers sitting outside.
    Learn more about how AmCraft’s Sneeze Buddy™ panels and insulated curtains can help the food service industry weather the winter season.

    Sources:

    1. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/business-employers/bars-restaurants.html
    2. https://www.chicagobusiness.com/restaurants/outdoor-dining-tents-raise-questions-virus-safety-winter-nears
    3. https://www.amcraftindustrialcurtainwall.com/products/industrial-curtain-walls/sneeze-buddy-social-distance-separation-panels/
    4. https://www.amcraftindustrialcurtainwall.com/products/insulated-curtains/
    Maintaining Social Distancing Protocols at School

    Maintaining Social Distancing Protocols at School

    The COVID-19 pandemic has made the term “social distancing” a regular part of our daily lexicon. Large gatherings, like sporting events and concerts, are largely postponed as we fight the spread of the virus, but many group activities remain an essential part of our lives. We need to go to the store to pick up our groceries, and kids need to get an education.

    During the pandemic, the approach to schooling has been largely determined by the number of cases in an area and local restrictions. Some schools are maintaining remote learning, while others are cautiously reopening their doors and figuring out how to best maintain socially distanced learning.

    Social Distance Challenges

    Effective social distancing requires structure and compliance. Historically, in-person schooling has been a very social activity. Students and teachers gather together and move from classroom to classroom and then to the lunchroom and the gym throughout the day.

    Disrupting entrenched behavioral patterns is a major challenge. The school administration and teachers can implement health checks, require facemasks, introduce staggered schedules, and create smaller classroom pods, but kids are still learning how to focus and control their behavior.

    While it is going to take time and trial and error to learn the best way to maintain social distancing in schools, introducing physical barriers is a powerful first step.

    Solutions for the Academic Setting

    The threat of virus transmission has forced a radical shift in the way schools approach group learning. Recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other regulatory agencies help guide schools through this challenging environment.

    What kind of solutions can be put to work in different parts of a school?

    • Classrooms. Classroom safety has always been paramount to schools. In the age of COVID-19, safety measures include maintaining adequate distance between teachers and students. For example, schools can use Sneeze Buddy social distance separation panels between desks to help keep students and teachers safe while facilitating group learning. These panels are reconfigurable, allowing schools to move them and adjust them to meet their needs.
    • Gymnasiums. School gymnasiums are large, open spaces that normally pack in hundreds of students and staff for assemblies and sporting events. Now, these spaces need to be approached differently. Industrial curtains can be used to create separate enclosures, allowing smaller groups to still use the space.
    • Cafeterias. Cafeterias are also large gathering spots for schools. Industrial curtains can be used here as they are in gymnasiums, creating smaller, enclosed areas to adhere to maximum capacity requirements.
    • Hallways. The hallway environment has always been less structured than the classroom. Students are rushing to their next classes, stopping at their lockers, and catching up with friends. But, schools still need to think about hallway safety. Industrial curtains can be set up as hallway dividers, keeping foot traffic moving in one direction. Entrances to designated areas off of hallways can also be sectioned off with curtains.
    • Buses. Bus protocols developed by Education Weekly recommend limited capacity, distanced seating, a barrier around the driver, mandatory facemasks, regular disinfection, and open windows to maintain the circulation of fresh air.

    AmCraft has completed a project for a South Barrington, Illinois high school, providing curtains for the school’s cafeteria and gym. Learn more about how we can help your school follow the necessary safety precautions as the world continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Sources:

    1. https://edufinance.org/content/edufinance/latest/COVID-19%20Response%20Toolkit/Edu%20-%20How%20to%20Practice%20Social%20Distancing%20in%20a%20School.pdf
    2. https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/choosing-starting-school/back-to-school/social-distancing-challenges-tips
    3. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/schools.html
    4. https://www.amcraftindustrialcurtainwall.com/products/industrial-curtain-walls/sneeze-buddy-social-distance-separation-panels/
    5. https://www.amcraftindustrialcurtainwall.com/products/industrial-curtain-walls/
    6. https://www.edweek.org/ew/section/multimedia/school-buses-and-social-distancing-downloadable-guide.html
    7. https://www.amcraftindustrialcurtainwall.com/contact/request-a-quote/