Raynor Garage Doors Aims to Reduce Prototype Testing
Brian Morgan, Product Engineer, Raynor Garage Doors Company.
How would you feel if you had to destroy a project you spent weeks or even months preparing? For Brian Morgan,
destroying garage doors is an essential part of determining whether or not they can withstand hurricane velocity winds.
With Algor software, he plans to limit the agony, not to mention the time and expense, associated with having to see
his work "crumble" before him.
Mr. Morgan creates models and performs laboratory analysis work as a product engineer for Raynor Garage Doors
based in Dixon, Illinois. Raynor is a major manufacturer of sectional overhead doors, rolling steel doors, and
electronic operators for industrial, commercial and residential applications.
A Simple but Important Design
The model pictured below is a simple plate model of a garage door section developed by Mr. Morgan using Algor
software. "It is a very valuable model to us and is being used as a base point for testing existing products and getting
real data correlations between our lab and computer analyses," said Mr. Morgan. The model is used as one of the
first tests to check a section's deflection while simply supporting its own weight.
A stress contour (9-foot section) of the garage door plate model supporting its own weight.
Prior to laboratory analysis, Mr. Morgan prepares a computer simulation of his design using Algor. He applies loads
and boundary conditions to the model as if it were laying, face down, on two saw-horses. He then runs a linear stress
analysis on the model which is expected not to exceed 1/120th of its length in deflection. Once satisfactory correlation
of data has been reached, he then runs the section through elevated wind load scenarios in order to simulate high wind
conditions typically experienced during hurricane season in the Southeastern and Gulf-coastal United States.
"The best overall feature of Algor is the extensive automatic meshing and mesh enhancement tools. This singles out
Algor as perhaps the easiest to use software package on the market today," said Mr. Morgan.
Testing the Prototype
In the wind booth lab, an actual door assembly is cycled through both positive and negative high wind loads a total of
1,342 times. It is also subjected to a "missile impact" test which consists of hurling a 9-pound two-by-four board at
the door at a speed of 34 MPH. The door must withstand this blow in two different areas and not breach its surface
with any more than a 1/16" x 5" crack. Lab technicians for Raynor test about two door assemblies per day. "We
spend a lot of time setting up and tearing down doors which creates quite a sizeable pile of junk," said Mr. Morgan.
Mr. Morgan believes that Algor software will limit the amount of testing needed on door assemblies. "With Algor now
in the picture, I envision running door assembly models using linear, Accupak nonlinear, and EAGLE modules to test
and optimize, while making design changes as we are guided along by the FEA results. We will still run live tests
during this process to back up what Algor tells us. However, we will eliminate the multitude of doors we would have
to put up and destroy while reducing the potentially long development path to a final design."
Raynor is the only garage door manufacturer who guarantees that their designs will withstand hurricane wind velocities
as determined by strict South Florida building codes. Thus, it is extremely important for Mr. Morgan to achieve
accurate analysis results. "I was completely amazed at how fast I was creating relatively complex models in a short
amount of time."
Mr. Morgan performs his analyses on a 133 MHz Pentium computer using Windows NT. The Pentium is equipped
with a 3 gigabyte hard drive and 80 Mb of RAM. A color ink jet printer enables him to output stress and
displacement contours which he keeps in a permanent project file.
"I use Algor to run many other smaller models of hardware associated with the garage door industry. Algor has been
an excellent package looking at all aspects from ease-of-use to how much 'bang for the buck' you can get running on
a high-end PC."
Displacement stress contour of the 9-foot section steel plate model supporting its own weight. The plate model
is constructed of steel, but can be easily modified using Algor software. Data can be quickly input based on a
client's specific construction needs to achieve accurate results in a matter of minutes.
Upgrades and Training Seminars a Plus
Mr. Morgan upgrades his Algor software on a regular basis and supplements his knowledge by attending many of the
education seminars Algor offers throughout the year. He believes that the Algor education seminars are "top-notch"
and an "excellent addition" to any engineer's design capabilities. "I've come away from every class with a much better
understanding of the software and was able to immediately apply what I learned - especially in the mesh creation and
enhancement areas," he said.
Mr. Morgan will continue to rely more heavily on Algor. "In the near future, I will be running full scale door assembly
models. I will also have the ability to accurately duplicate test conditions in our current test booth. This will give us the
means to run different hardware configurations and even do some part optimization in much shorter time frames than