A personal experience of the factory: secret recipe of our bespoke doors
My factory tour at Warrior Doors was part of the recent landmark 20-year anniversary, which started with a brief overview of the company, its values and journey so far. The stand out line to kick start the day was that in 20 years “we have never replaced a Warrior door” – now that’s something to proud of. This sense of pride was a common thread through the whole tour from Brett the MD, through to the marketing team and the shop floor workers.
The other key thing I learned from this introduction was about Africa Equip, a charity set up by Brett and his wife when he formed the company back in 1997.Warrior sells the scrap doors it replaces and all the funds go to the charity. Africa Equip has provided equipment to schools in Ghana and also supports a blind choir in Swaziland, for whom they are creating a recording studio in a shipping container!
The tour started in the design studio, where each individual design is created in Solidworks CAD programme, which also very cleverly produces a list of all the door parts and accessories and cutting requirements. This information is then fed to the laser cutting machine which forms each individual part, punching out fixing holes, cutting to shape and laser marking each part for easy identification for assembly purposes. This machine was very impressive and highly technical, plus all the waste steel goes back into the system for smelting.
The next stage was the door assembly and infilling of the hollow frames with African hardwood which is inherently strong – ideal for these high security doors. The infill pieces are only placed where there will be a fixing or closer not through the whole length of the frame. The frames are physically welded together with the joints being melted to become effectively one piece which makes the doors much stronger than if the parts were just bolted or fastened together. The mortice and tenor slots are then welded so these also become one piece – all for added strength. The frames have large fixings holes so that door frames are fixed back through to the solid brick substrate.
The frames are then either polished or powder coated. The doors are hung up and the powder coating is hand sprayed by an operative in a dust suit and mask to protect from the spray with a water bath at the back of the area to keep the dust to a minimum. Warrior can match to any RAL colour so customers get to choose according to branding or just favourite colour! The frames are then baked in a huge walk in oven – apparently in winter everyone wants this job!
The frames and the glazing (if required) are assembled and quality checked and then ready packed up ready for delivery to site.
The tour included a few extra insights such as showing how access control can be prewired into the door frame making it simple to wire up once the door is fitted, saving time and cost on site. We also had a look at some display units, using the same technology, for high value items with some having security blinds fitted inside the units – very clever!
The tour then went into the display area showcasing different door types such as swing and sliding, plus examples of louvre panels. There were also different handles and locks on show which would be used for different applications, with the overall message that each door is bespoke designed to customer requirements.
The fun bit was right at the end whereby you are challenged to smash a Warrior door using a large sledge hammer. I didn’t have a go at this but some others gave it a shot and needless to say no one succeeded!!
What a great tour!
Blog By : Karen Pedersen, and her views on a factory tour to Warrior Doors