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Butzbach Doors and Façades became something of a specialist in upgrading hangar doors in 2016, with projects throughout Europe

The company has its head office and industrial doors business unit in Kellmünz, with the aviation and facade business units nearby in Unterroth, both in Bavaria.


One of its biggest projects was the installation of a replacement sliding door system at the Grand Hangar at Geneva Airport. The space is used equally by SWISS for airliners up to the Airbus A330, Jet Aviation for business aircraft and SR Technics for maintenance.


The large size of the hangar opening, 250m x 15m, required a total of 12 door leaves on four axles. However, in addition to the complexity caused by its size, there were two restrictions: airport operation was not to be impeded in any way, and the hangar could not be left open at night at any time.


This involved many people in project management, including preliminary planning, adjustments on site, the preparation and processing of the assembly, the processing of all necessary approval procedures and the disassembly and disposal of the old doors. As early as the bidding phase, Butzbach came up with a daily schedule that described all of the project steps in detail. 


The components were delivered from Germany to an assembly site about 800m from the hangar. When four doors had been completed, they were ready to be installed in a single operation. However, the move could only be carried out between midnight and 0500, to leave them ready for mounting the next morning. Fortunately, the hangar had several rails fitted, making it possible to install the new leaves directly in front of the old door system; in this way, the hangar was always securely closed. After the new doors were in position, the old leaves located behind could be disassembled and the final elements of the installation completed.


Extensive use of transparent polycarbonate panels allows plenty of light into the space, while there are 12 personnel doors, three truck doors and a cutout to wrap around the rear fuselage of the A330 which have been integrated into the overall structure.

The cutout is required as the A330 is too long to be completely enclosed.


At Lyon-Bron in France, the company was called in after a folding door system from another supplier suffered numerous defects, total failures and non- compliance with safety standards. Once again, there could be no restrictions on airport operations and the hangar had to be closed at night. In this case, the solution was an extension on the front of the hangar to hold the rails for the new doors.


Five leaves cover an area measuring 120m wide and 9m high, but a combination of an aluminium frame construction and translucent fibreglass filling means they can be moved manually. The emerald- green fibreglass allows natural daylight to penetrate into the hangar glare-free, to create optimal working conditions and artificial lighting can almost be dispensed with during the day (a similar solution was used in a hangar at Chambley-Bussières in France).


The Lyon-Bron solution also included protection against wind gusts lifting the leaves off the rails. A more demanding requirement for wind protection came from the Royal Danish Air Force, which contracted Butzbach to install doors on a hangar used by its Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk maritime search and rescue helicopters at Karup in Jutland. There were two reasons. One was the downdraft caused by the rotors when running on the ground. The other was the requirement to launch helicopters in extreme weather conditions, as the base is near the North Sea coast, when rescues are likely to be necessary. The 10 Butzbach SPACELITE HT150 stacking doors are designed to meet wind load values of 1.150N/m², which corresponds to speeds of over 150 km/h.


Other elements of the Karup design that could prove useful for commercial applications include:


 • sound insulation against the noise of turning rotors. Operational experience shows that with fabric doors, the noise level can be amplified due to vibrations of the door skin


 • the integration of insertion foils to improve thermal insulation values. 

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