Vacuum gates and doors designed for up to 0.7 bar
The most extreme pressure conditions mean the highest requirements for doors and gates.
ALPGATE was commissioned to develop and supply high-quality, temperature-resistant, and pressure-resistant gates and doors for the terraXcube research center.
The operator had already set very high requirements for the door systems beforehand:
The pressure resistance against overpressure had to be certified and demonstrated. All doors must be tested according to UNI EN 14351-1 (CE certification), and at least sealing class 4 according to UNI EN 12207 had to be achieved.
In addition, the door systems had to withstand extreme temperature ranges from -20°C to +50°C. The sealing system was designed as a circumferential inflatable seal with a heated frame body to prevent icing due to condensation and temperatures down to -20°C in the chamber. Furthermore, the doors have thermal insulation against the ambient temperature level and heated windows to prevent icing, fogging, and condensation.
terraXcube research center in Bolzano.
terraXcube is a research infrastructure in Bolzano that can simulate the most extreme climate conditions on Earth, from snowstorms on the peaks of the Himalayas to the scorching heat of North African desert areas.
In the climate chambers of the terraXcube at the Eurac Research center, it is possible to investigate how extreme climates affect humans, ecological processes, and technical products.
The climate chambers differ in size and equipment. They can accommodate humans, plants, and other organisms for extended periods of time and provide ample space even for very large machines and products.
Vacuum chamber "Large Cube".
The chamber is under a vacuum of up to 700 mbar, created in 1500 seconds. The sliding door, with a clear door opening of 4000 x 3600 mm, is exposed to a one-sided vacuum. The resulting force on the entire door blade is approximately 110 tons. The door system is electrically operated in dead man mode, and the travel speed is about 1.5 m/min.
The scope of supply also included various sliding doors with windows, designed as airlocks with vacuum on both sides (suction and pressure) for the “Small Cube,” and several hinged doors designed for one-sided vacuum.
Furthermore, the door systems must withstand extreme temperature ranges from -20°C to +50°C. The sealing system is made of a surrounding inflatable seal with a heated frame body (due to the risk of icing caused by condensation and temperatures down to -20°C in the chamber). The doors also have thermal insulation against the surrounding temperature level and heated windows to prevent icing, fogging, and condensation.
The floor groove and guide rail were flexibly adapted.
All sliding gates and doors had to be executed without a threshold, with a floor groove for the guide rail and additional sealing. Furthermore, the floor groove/guide rail should be drivable in the open state.
Manual & electronic locking
All door systems had the requirement of manual unlocking and opening from both inside and outside, as well as an electronic locking mechanism to prevent accidental opening in case of pressure difference between the two chambers. This electrical control is carried out by the building’s electrical system.