Today’s cold storage facilities feature more temperature zones than ever before. This makes a building more dynamic to suit a wider variety of warehousing and production applications, but it also creates challenges with retaining those separate storage temperatures. Choosing the right interior doors is essential to helping manage cold and frozen conditions using speed, sealing efficiency and secure separation. Some storage facilities may have a wide variety of temperature zones, such as meat rooms, staging rooms, ice cream rooms, deep freezers, refrigerated docks and ambient temperature areas. The goal is to move products in or out of the loading dock area as quickly and safely as possible.

With forklifts, automated systems and people constantly in action, the doors and the refrigeration systems must work together. An imbalance created by improper dehumidifying settings and the wrong kind of door can cause frost, condensation and ice to form on the floors, which creates delays and safety hazards. There are different types of high-performance doors that can accommodate the needs of cold storage environments. Here are some considerations when choosing the right interior doors for a cold storage facility:


Air infiltration between zones causes the temperature to escape, risking spoilage and putting undue strain on the refrigeration system. That means the cooling system works harder, limiting its lifespan and adding costs. In cold storage applications, high-speed doors are crucial because air infiltration will increase energy usage and impact product quality. A faster door lends itself to higher productivity in cold storage. Some advanced high-speed overhead doors can open at a rate of 182 inches per second.  A door this fast will cycle open and close in only a few seconds, compared to at least 10 seconds or more for a typical sectional door. For busy facilities with doors cycling 800 to 1,000 times per day, that time really adds up to higher throughput and profitability.

Material and Design

For environments with temperatures above freezing, lighter fabric doors can control temperature and better guarantee product freshness. These models feature tight-sealing perimeters that protect against air infiltration from nearby ambient environments. USDA-compliant and tear-resistant materials are available as needed. Doors with variable AC drive and control, top and side brush seals and floor-hugging loop seals to protect against air infiltration are also available. To moderate pressure and temperature variability in loading dock and vestibule staging areas, high-performance doors may include heated or unheated blowers, depending on the degree of temperature variance. When protecting goods in temperatures below freezing, additional requirements are often crucial to controlling temperatures and minimizing air exchange. Heavy-duty insulated panels – such as those with R-4 or greater insulated value – ensure efficient traffic flow and high product quality. Steel side frames with fiberglass edges add an extra measure for a tight seal.  Heated side columns further enhance a door’s ability to withstand frost build-up.


With a lot of forklift traffic, occasional door impacts can occur, which take time to repair and can create delays. Some high-speed doors have a self-repairing feature that minimizes user intervention if the door is impacted. 

Automated Applications

Automatic activation devices manage high-traffic flow environments. These devices include induction floor-loop sensors (above ground or below the surface) and motion and presence detectors. Enhanced activation devices use multiple sensing capabilities to monitor traffic interactions in the area around the door in highly definable, dedicated areas.

For facilities with automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS) – which are fast becoming more popular in cold storage environments – doors that can separate different types of environments are critical components. Doors for these non-human applications are properly modified since technology systems move product from one location to another, rather than by human-driven equipment such as forklifts or pallet jacks.  In non-live-traffic storage areas with conveyor systems, specially designed doors are made for smaller openings (up to 6 feet wide and 13 feet high).  Like the larger doors for live traffic, the conveyor retrieval doors provide insulation and seals to contain temperatures. High-performance doors can be integrated into an ASRS control system with an expansion board, allowing the opening and closing to be specifically timed. This ensures fast-paced environments keep products moving seamlessly through the conveyor system.


High-performance cold storage doors offer a full array of safety features to provide safeguards and assure operational standards. These doors are designed to ensure safe operation and safe environments for people and plant-floor vehicles. Typical safety features may include door activation/motion sensors, flexible bottom edge, break-away bottom bar, safety light systems, reversing bottom edge and photo eyes.

Clean Compliance

Some high-performance doors are USDA- and FDA-compliant grade to meet hygienic standards.  These doors may feature stainless steel removable side columns for complete wash-down, a hinged drip guard for cleaning and reducing bacteria build-up, or a sloped gutter on the bottom bar to prevent liquid contaminants from dripping into the pathway. 

Monitoring Capabilities

Real-time door monitoring with cloud-based technology can manage and monitor door activity remotely. To stay aware of unexpected issues and increase plant productivity, managers can use an app to monitor status, add or remove user access, receive preventive alerts, proactively initiate preventive maintenance and service schedules, and view live maps of all connected doors. Every cold storage facility has unique features that impact its ability to move refrigerated and frozen products quickly, efficiently, and safely. To achieve these goals, modern high-performance doors have many advanced capabilities to keep traffic moving while preserving environments across many temperature zones.