Hangar design and installation: a moving target

posted on 18th May 2020
Hangar design and installation: a moving target

All hangars seem to be different, because all customers seem to want something slightly different. Hence, hangar designers and manufacturers have to work closely with their clients to ensure that their various needs are met. So too must the developers of the specialist doors that equip these structures

The Schwarzmann group has over 25 years of experience in engineering, production and installation of tailor-made steel structures. Its product range includes industrial and manufacturing facilities, indoor sports facilities, complex corporate buildings and showrooms, as well as aircraft hangars.

Based in Polhov Gradec, Slovenia, it has an in-house team of project managers, civil and structural engineers, welding and steel-cutting production plant and experienced installation technicians.

“This team of 70 employees continuously works closely together in order to control the planning, production and installation processes, thus ensuring that each phase runs as scheduled,” says Jožef Schwarzmann, owner and co-founder.
Schwarzmann’s aircraft division has been active since 2008, when it engineered, fabricated and erected a 45m by 50m aircraft hangar with Champion Door automatic hangar doors in Zagreb, Croatia. Since then, it has manufactured and supplied hangars for Austrian, Slovenian and Bosnian airports and private investors.

All Schwarzmann hangars are tailor-made to meet investors’ specifications, the company insists. It provides turnkey solutions which include an experienced project manager available to guide the customer through the entire procedure, from documentation right through the design phase, modifications and additional equipment options to hangar production, completion and handover.
In fact, every Schwarzmann hangar is designed and engineered from scratch, based on the type of aircraft garaged or serviced within as well as the local terrain, safety requirements, snow loads and wind loads, Zoran Vasič, its head of research and development (R&D), observes. Moreover, “All additional equipment (doors and lighting as well as heating, ventilation and air conditioning, or HVAC) is tailored to investors’ needs. Additionally, our in-house R&D department is constantly looking to develop new technical details to further improve the efficiency of assembly.”

The company specialises in prefabricated steel structure hangars, which can be covered with insulated sandwich panels or with a durable UV (ultra-violet) and flame-retardant PVC (polyvinyl chloride) membrane.

Schwarzmann hangars are shipped to their installation location in preassembled segments, which are then easily and quickly joined to form a hangar ‘skeleton’. This process considerably shortens delivery times in comparison to traditional construction methods. For example, last year the installation of an 8,100 square metre twin hangar facility in Austria was completed in just four months following completion of preparatory works (tarmac and foundations), notes Inotin Lešnik, project manager Austria for the company.

All of the possible ‘added extras’ to which Vasič alludes are offered to the customer during the design phase. Usually, Schwarzmann will install automatic doors from specialist suppliers such as Germany’s Butzbach or the previously mentioned Champion Door, but it has also developed its own selection of double and multi-segment hand-operated doors. Rain gutters and snow guards can be installed and a selection of personal doors, PVC or aluminium windows are available, as well as skylights and smoke vent skylights.
“We collaborate with trusted long-term partners who provide a wide range of lighting and HVAC packages for hangars,” says Boštjan Bevec, Schwarzmann’s chief technical officer.

In those cases where a PVC membrane cover is used and there is a need for additional condensation protection, a double membrane inner liner and ventilation grille can be installed.

As of today, Schwarzmann hangars can be found in Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Putting the doors on
While Schwarzmann is a specialist in hangar design and installation, other businesses specialise in hangar doors for all sorts of structures.

Bedfordshire-based Jewers Doors manufactures the Esavian range of aircraft hangar doors as well as industrial sliding and folding doors. It has extensive experience designing and installing hangar doors in more than 40 countries around the world. Offering design, manufacture, installation, maintenance and repair of these products, it is headquartered in the UK but also has an office in Dubai, where it has sales, service and installation teams covering the Middle East region.
And it is in the Middle East that Jewers Doors has been particularly active in recent times. While it has been operating in the region for more than two decades now, 2019 was an especially successful year for the company in that market. For example, it installed two sets of Esavian sliding hangar doors at Al Ain International Airport in Abu Dhabi last year.

The steel-framed, Esavian TYPE 126 doors it installed are 30m wide by 5.6m high. They are are configured in six door leaves running on three tracks, and are installed on hangars built for Calidus – a defence technology development and manufacturing company based in Abu Dhabi, which uses the hangars for assembly and flight preparation of military aircraft.
Ben Pritchard, regional sales manager at the Dubai branch of Jewers Doors, informs that the hangars were built in response to a recent order placed by the UAE military for 24 new light aircraft and were the first hangars of their type that Calidus had built in the UAE. Jewers Doors worked with Civil Power General Contracting LLC (CPC) on this project.
Pritchard notes: “Over the last four decades we have installed doors for many clients in the Middle East, including commercial airlines, MROs [maintenance, repair and overhaul businesses] and FBOs [fixed base operators], military and royalty.”

In fact, he adds: “We are the only company in the sliding hangar doors market to have a fully-fledged sales office in the Middle East, offering not only manufacture and supply but full turnkey solutions, including, installation, commissioning and after-sales service given direct to the customer.”

Elsewhere in the Middle East, Jewers Doors recently completed a large hangar project in Oman and also has a number of other projects ongoing in the UAE and Qatar.

Project-specific requirements
Jewers Doors designs and manufactures all its Esavian doors to meet project-specific requirements. The size of the opening, climatic conditions, wind pressure loadings, architectural features and so on all are factored into the design. For instance, its Esavian Plenum Doors offer an environmental seal around aircraft fuselages. Such doors have been fitted to a hangar in Oman converted for use as a painting hangar – the plenum feature ensures that the painting process has minimal environmental impact.

Also of particular interest, says Pritchard, are the company’s highly specialised contour doors used to safely seal around aircraft which do not fully enter a hangar while off-loading cargo or undergoing minor maintenance. Jewers Doors’ pneumatic contour doors are installed to suit A320, B737, C-17, A400M and Beluga ST/XL aircraft in the UK, France, Germany and Bulgaria.

“Jewers Doors is entering the busiest period in the company’s history, so exciting times lie ahead,” enthuses Pritchard. Perhaps that success is based largely on the company’s ability to meet customers’ very unique demands for hangar doors. He believes that “A quality product is still very much at the forefront of any client’s thinking, albeit they are also looking for value for money.

“End users and contractors are still inclined to work with the most experienced companies in the market – and this is what sets Jewers Doors apart from the rest of the sliding hangar door market.”

Plus, the firm is “continually developing its doors, and there will be new innovations relating to diagnostics and customers’ interface in the near future; however, our priority this year is to design and construct a new headquarters and manufacturing facility in the UK,” he concludes.