Spotlight on: Complex Projects in Remote Areas

December 08 2021

Over the last few years, Rhino Doors has enjoyed a growing reputation for providing solutions to door performance needs. Most of our projects involve a range of complex challenges, but some certainly more than others. Recently, we were asked by a client to provide a bespoke NPSA-accredited (formerly CPNI) sliding/folding door design. The project was further complicated by the location for installation – a remote island in Scotland.

Here, we look closely at the complexities of this particular project, including input from a number of key team members from across the Rhino Engineering Group, to understand the ways in which the technical team overcame challenges through strategic planning.

Broadly speaking, there were three sets of challenges to this project: Technical, Manufacture & Installation.

The technical challenge for the doors was primarily associated with the additional blast load that the doors were required to resist – a blast load well in excess of the typical requirements for Rhino’s standard range of NPSA doors. To complicate matters further, the fundamental construction details of the doors cannot deviate significantly from that previously tested for NPSA.

Head of Security Projects, Ceri Couser, describes some of the technical challenges that needed to be overcome as part of this demanding project.

“We’ve been producing our standard NPSA door for many years, but for this project, the door in question needed to meet additional technical requirements to resist the required blast load.

“It isn’t the case that one blast door does all, so we had to tailor the door to suit the characteristics of the blast in question. This involved leaning on the expertise of Dr Chris Norris, Rhino’s chief engineer, applying his extensive knowledge of blast protection solutions whilst not deviating from the original NPSA design.

“The main challenge was the weight of the door. We needed to change materials and components to ensure the door was robust and had the right properties for the blast calculations. Ultimately, we devised sensible and achievable modifications that met the requirements whilst not posing major logistical obstacles.”

Having resolved and validated the design for the doors, the second challenge to overcome was associated with manufacture. Whilst Rhino Doors is very familiar with the manufacture of standard NPSA doors – having produced them at our South Wales factory for the last 30 years – the modifications needed to tolerate the high potential blast loads resulted in some substantial changes to the manufacturing process, most notably due to a significant increase in door weight.

Jason Morris, Head of Operations, talks us through the process of manufacturing such heavy doors.

“The main issue associated with the manufacture of the doors was the increased weight due to the use of different materials. This had a knock-on effect on various aspects of the process; for example, when putting the doors into the press, new pallets needed to be designed which could withstand the weight of the doors.

“Additional space was also taken up in the workshop and the logistics of lifting the doors was challenging. Again as a result of the increased weight, processes needed to be adapted as turning of the panels proved difficult with associated health and safety implications. Packaging also needed revising as doors could not be stacked in the same way,

“Our team are used to working with our standard NPSA door however due to the modifications required and the technical challenges posed by the project, adhering to health and safety regulations was essential to mitigate any potential risks.

“At Rhino, our projects are often fast-moving and we adhere to short timescales from project inception through to completion and whilst we were presented with some key challenges, there were also many learning points from this project and considerable experience gained for the future.

The final challenge was very simply the remote location of the final installation – on an island off the Scottish mainland where the frequency of sea crossings is particularly unreliable, especially when travelling in the depths of winter.

Here Rhino Site Systems Limited Site Supervisor, Steve Pirie, recalls some of the major challenges associated with the installation of very heavy NPSA vehicle access doors on a remote Scottish island.

“Travelling from our base in Port Talbot to the remote island was a 650-mile trip, taking two days. Due to its location off the mainland, we had to travel by ferry from Mallaig; crossings here are often delayed because of the weather, so we needed to be prepared to adapt our planned schedule if needed.

“We also needed a thorough plan before embarking on the trip. On the island, the facilities are limited and if additional parts are needed, it can take several days to source them, so it was paramount that we had everything we needed to complete the installation as planned.

“The weight of the doors meant that it was a more complex installation than we usually work on. All weights needed to be checked so we could hire the correct lifting equipment, and we had to pay close attention to the weather conditions to understand if it was safe to proceed with installing the doors.

“Despite these challenges, the install went very successfully because of the meticulous planning that went into our trip and our understanding of the various mitigating factors and the impact they could have on the doors’ installation.”

To find out more about Rhino Doors’ products, please visit our product selector. And to find out more about the range of other challenging projects we’ve worked on, head over to case studies.


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