Safti First Facilities in Merced, California, Undergo $8 Million Expansion

The increased demand for fire-rated glass and doors was the main driver behind Safti First’s $8 million investment to expand two of its facilities in Merced, Calif. The work began mid-year 2019.

The first phase, a 17,000-square-foot expansion of the company’s door manufacturing facility, is already complete. Diana San Diego, vice president of marketing, says
the company saw a need to expand because of an increased demand for fire-rated temperature rise doors with full vision glass.

She explains that, usually, 60- to 90-minute doors can only have a vision area of 100 square inches. “Due to code changes, for the vision area of 60- to 90-minute doors to go above 100 square inches, the fire-resistive glazing must be tested to ASTM E119,” she says, adding that the company manufactures a 60- to 90-minute temperature rise door with full vision glass with its Superlite II XL glazing. These doors are typically used in one- to two-hour stairwell enclosures and one- to two-hour fire barriers.

“One reason for the increased demand is that the code community is realizing the devastating effects of radiant heat in critical areas and is trying to enforce the use of fire-resistive materials,” says San Diego. “Another reason is that architects would still like all the benefits of glass such as full vision and lines of sight in a changing world where we have to protect against fire and other threats, both natural and manmade. There’s a trend to harden facilities without compromising on aesthetics. Our products give architects both, meeting code and design requirements for transparency, daylighting and lines of sight.”

The original door manufacturing building was 50,000 square feet. Now it is 67,000 square feet. The company also purchased new automated seam welders, automated door sanders, paint booths and additional door hanging bucks to ensure that each door functions as it should in the field before it’s sent to the jobsite.

Phase two of the expansion involves adding 45,000 square feet to Safti First’s glass manufacturing facility, bringing its total size to 130,000 square feet. The company also raised the roof of the facility. The reason for the growth is to keep up with demand for the company’s new products, SuperClear 45-HS and SuperClear 45-HSLI, and the demand for larger glass sizes, according to San Diego.

The company will also purchase new equipment for this facility, including larger aluminum racks, automated washers and a tempering line.

“The reason we’re investing so much into our facilities is to make sure that as we grow we keep high product quality consistent and keep up with the lead times that the building community demands,” says San Diego. “We also want to ensure safe working conditions. We’re very proud of the safety record we have in our factories.”

Aldora Opens Bigger Fabrication Facility

Aldora has relocated to a new, 120,000-square-foot facility in Coral Springs, Fla., combining its corporate office and one of its Florida fabrication facilities under one roof. Director of operations Sean Ryan says the new facility is approximately 35% larger than the previous fabrication site in Miramar, Fla., providing extra room for future growth.

The company will continue to fabricate architectural glass and aluminum systems at the new facility, but Ryan says a new, double-bay, 96-inch by 198-inch convection furnace will
provide opportunities for improving quality, production output and efficiencies. Aldora has also added a new automated pre-glaze line and automated glass lamination line with convection.

“Florida has been a focused market for us and this move allows us to increase our overall capabilities in the state … It’s an opportunity for us to continue to grow and service customers,” says Ryan, who adds that the company will begin hiring new employees once the new facility has been up and running for a longer period of time.

All South Florida production, pick-up, customer service and engineering teams, along with leadership groups, now operate from the new facility. Additional products specifically include impact-rated glass doors and a variety of storefront systems.

Aldora previously opened a new facility in Austell, Ga., and Ryan says the company will be looking at other geographical markets in the U.S. this year.

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