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What to Look for When Purchasing a Commercial Operator

Be sure to have the following information available when speaking to the distributor as it will help him to provide you with the best operator for your given situation.

Door Size

The first thing you need to look at when purchasing a commercial operator is the size of your door. (Keep horsepower out of your mind at this point) Depending on the size and when your speaking of commercial 10x10 and 12x12 really are not that big. Just get a measurement of width and height. Then what type it is insulated or not and if it is does it have vinyl backing or steel. Most manufactures have a sticker on the side of the sections to tell you type and model of the door.


Track Type

What type of track do you have? Is it standard similar to regular residential garage? Does it go up a foot to several feet then back? Does it go straight up or follow the pitch of the roof? How much room is above the door and beside the door?


Door Usage

Now an important piece of information is how many times a day will the door operate? If this is for a very high usage door, then you should consider how many times per hour the door will be used. This is actually when the horsepower comes into play, more so than the size of door. As with any door, your springs need to be doing most of the work.


Operator Type

Once you have all of the above information, then you will know whether you will need to use a Trolley, Jackshaft or Gearhead Trolley, or Jackshaft operator.

  • Trolley Arm
    Suspended from the ceiling, the operators are used on sectional overhead doors with standard lift. T operators are directly attached to drive and control the door.
  • Jackshaft
    Doors used with this operator should be balanced with the ability to be manually lifted by hand in an emergency or power outage. The operators are typically mounted to the wall when used with smaller sectional overhead doors with a vertical or high lift and mounted to the wall or the front of the hood when used with rolling doors and grilles. J operators are attached to the door jackshaft to indirectly drive the door.
  • Hoist
    H-style operators include a floor level chain hoist to ease manual operation in an emergency or power outage. The operators are typically mounted to the wall when used with larger sectional overhead doors with vertical or high lift and mounted to the wall or the front of the hood when used with rolling doors and grilles. H operators are attached to the door jackshaft to indirectly drive the door.
  • Slide
    SD-style operators have functionality that is similar to T-style operators, but they are used on single and bi-parting sliding doors. These operators are directly attached to drive and control the door. SD operators are mounted directly above the door.

Other Considerations

Do you want a hoist so if the power is out or the operator has malfunctioned you can operate the door with a chain? What kind of safety device is required for the type of building? What is the company safety policy on the door?