Thermoplastics Help Doors Weather the Storm
Click on the image to open
Click on the image to open
Click on the image to open
Click on the image to open
Click on the image to open
Click on the image to open
Click on the image to open
The storm doors clad with the Boltaron proprietary thermoplastic alloy complement
architectural styles, and withstand harsh weather and everyday use.

Although better known for its POP displays and store fixtures, DAC Products also is making a name for itself in a seemingly unrelated niche: cold-pressed component parts for residential storm doors. The Rural Hall, NC-based company fabricates particleboard substrates overlaid with rigid vinyl or aluminum sheet. The laminated components are then shipped to manufacturers that fit the doors with a variety of hardware components, ready for installation.

“The storm door industry is what we started with when we opened in 1987,” says Todd Woods, vice president of sales and marketing. “It was a stepping stone to growth and diversification in a number of areas.”

DAC Products says the market is very competitive, quality-conscious and price-sensitive, and since storm doors must resist harsh weather and everyday use, extreme durability is a key selling point.

The Giben panel saw cuts the particleboard
substrate to size.

The Boltaron thermoplastic alloy sheet is CNC
routed to precise sizes on the Komo, eliminating
the need for trimming after lamination.

Durability Requirements

According to Squire Irwin, plant manager, the vinyl sheet DAC Products originally sourced began to exhibit surface irregularities and was prone to delamination. In looking at other sources for vinyl, DAC Products put the overlay materials through a battery of tests. These included tests for adhesion strength, resistance to heat and cold, abrasion resistance, chemical resistance and delamination.

DAC Products selected a rigid, proprietary thermoplastic alloy produced by Boltaron Performance Products. According to DAC Products, because the Boltaron sheet offers improved impact resistance, the company was able to down-gauge the sheet it orders from 0.022 to 0.018 inch and save on the cost of material, which is priced primarily by weight. The sheet also demonstrated resistance to a wide range of chemicals, allowing cleaning of door surfaces using strong cleansers, with no staining or fading.

“An unexpected benefit is that the product has almost no static charge,” says Irwin. “With the former material, a worker standing several feet from one of the processing machines would frequently get shocked from discharge of static build up,” he says.

“Static build up also attracted scraps and particles to the sheet, which if not removed, affected laminate adhesion and quality, a problem we no longer experience,” he adds.

Most of the sheet DAC Products specifies for storm door surfacing is white, with a Naugahyde-like exterior texture and a smooth second side. Boltaron ships pre-cut blanks in sizes slightly larger than the trimmed sizes of DAC’s doors.

Manufacturing the Storm Doors
Inside the 80,000 square-foot Rural Hall, NC, plant, the sheet used on the storm doors is cut to a precise size for each component by a Komo CNC router. “Some customers order 4-inch jams, some order 3-15/16-inch jams,” Irwin says. “We cut the sheet to a specific size for each part.”

One benefit of the CNC cutting is low scrap, Irwin says, which DAC Products collects at the router and sells back to Boltaron. “We have good, clean scrap,” he adds. “Very little goes to landfill.”

Meanwhile, particleboard is cut to size on a Giben panel saw, and formed into substrates comprised of a header, a main panel and two jams. Once glued and cured on an RFS machine, the assembly is run through a planer and a double-headed DMC sanding machine, reducing it to 0.036 inch. Adhesive is applied to both sides of the substrate, which is then sandwiched between two thermoplastic sheets and stacked 25 high in a Black Bros. cold press for about 30 minutes while the adhesive catalyzes, yielding composite parts measuring 3/4 inch in thickness.

DAC Products adds a urethane sealer to the bottom edge and sides to seal out moisture prior to shipping to storm door manufacturers, who add aluminum surrounds, master frames, glass panels, weather stripping, handles and decorative accessories.

Once glued, the four-piece particleboard
substrates await planing and sanding to
0.036-inch thickness.

Adhesive is applied to both sides of the
substrate prior to sandwiching between the
thermoplastic sheets. 
The glued composite sandwiches are placed
in the Black Bros. cold press for approximately
30 minutes.

Additional Capabilities
The company maintains two production facilities, one in East Bend, NC and the Rural Hall plant, which enables it to accommodate all types of wood and plastic projects, from large to small. Its in-house capabilities include: CNC routing, finishing, laminating, bending and forming, edge polishing, fabrication and assembly, printing and sewing.

DAC Products bills itself as a “one-stop shop” for building products, displays, portable sales presentations and other marketing tools. The company’s sales and production efforts have been well documented, including recognition in past editions of the Wood & Wood Products’ WOOD 100.

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.