Heinz Hall Case Study

Case Study: How Rubber Doors Solve Safety, Operational, and Noise Issues. Rubber doors make operation safer and easier for workers and performers.


Project: Heinz Hall Case Study



Heinz Hall Case Study

Case Study: How Rubber Doors Solve Safety, Operational, and Noise Issues. Rubber doors make operation safer and easier for workers and performers.

Heinz Hall sees enormous foot traffic around their building. Making the look of their theatre incredibly important.

An old rolling steel door was causing multiple issues around Heinz Hall, home to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. The steel door was not well-suited for operational use at a theatre. There were three major issues disrupting the workers and artists. Noise levels, slow opening speeds, and safety concerns from the door literally beginning to fall to pieces. A rubber door was their solution to every problem they had encountered with their previous door. Not only a rubber door, but a PerforMax High-Performance MaxSpeed roll up door. Carl Mancuso, Vice President and General Manager at Heinz Hall was pleased with what PerforMax could offer them.

Heinz Hall sees enormous foot traffic around their building. Making the look of their theatre incredibly important.

The Issues to Fix

The door had become extraordinarily loud, disturbing people on the street of Penn Avenue and the musicians inside, even when on stage. This door is their exterior loading dock door with plenty of space and walls between it and the stage.

The door did not move quickly and near the end of its life forced employees to raise the door by a manual hand chain. For smaller doors this may not take as long, but for a door as large as this one, it took a tremendous amount of time. Both the inside crew and outside crew were stuck until the door was fully open, cutting into everyone’s time.

Safety was a large concern once pieces began to fall off the door itself. No band, orchestra, or comedian would enjoy a hail of metal on top of them or their equipment, so it was time for a change.

The Process

Instead of using a traditional type of door they had been used to, the people of Heinz Hall decided an upgrade was necessary. The noisy steel doors would not cut it this time around. They needed to replace the exterior doors and not have to worry about their past problems coming back in the future. Our Regional Manager, Tom Hamilton worked with Carl every step of the way to make sure Heinz Hall had the best solution for their needs.

Seeing the Mobile Showroom

PerforMax Global has a strong belief that seeing is believing. For that reason, our representative brought our mobile showroom to Heinz Hall, so that Carl could see all of the exterior door options available. These showrooms are brought to your doorstep at your leisure.

“We auditioned two or three doors, but Tom rolled in with his slick trailer. Other companies would just ship us pieces of fabric and talk about it. With the trailer we were able to see your door operate.” – Carl

Benefit #1: Noise Solution

The mobile showroom allowed Carl to see how a roll up door was the solution to the noise issue immediately. A rubber door rolls up quick and easy with next to no noise. With a MaxSpeed, both Carl and everyone in the theatre could rest easy knowing their exterior door wouldn’t disturb the flow of the day. The old door “screeched and clanked and made a hell of a racket.” The loudest part of a rubber door is the motor, which by itself is not loud. With a rolling steel door, steel plates roll onto each other during operation. The rusted slats and operation devices added to the screeching heard by everyone throughout the theatre. A MaxSpeed door rolls up with silence, and with only 5 moving parts there is not much to add on to its noise level.

Benefit #2: Opening and Closing Speeds

Heinz Hall may not use their door like a heavy industry or transit facility would, but speed was still an important factor. It makes loading and unloading quicker and easier. On top of that there’s the hidden surprise that the opening and closing speed of your door greatly affects energy savings.

Benefit #3: Energy Savings

A traditional steel rolling door has an opening speed average of 10” per second. The longer it takes for a door to close means the more energy is lost. With a high-performance rubber door from PerforMax, those speeds can quadruple. The operational status of a loading dock or warehouse door is vital to effective work flow. It’s vital that your door isn’t driving heating and cooling costs up.

While noise was a big issue for the musicians, they also found the old exterior door was drafty. With steel doors, it is possible for the individual slats to get gaps between them. The issues pile up with energy loss and a draft bothering the performers.

In the mobile showroom, Carl was able to see how fast our MaxSpeed door could go. The MaxSpeed goes up to 48” per second. Once the door was installed, the team at Heinz Hall didn’t need the door to go that fast. They set it to a speed they were comfortable with and according to Carl, the door is still twice as fast as their old door.

Benefit #4: Safety

Shards of metal raining from the ceiling may sound extreme and something that should never happen. While this couldn’t happen with a rubber roll up door, it can and did happen with the rolling steel door at Heinz Hall. While steel doors are not inherently unsafe, they lack the abundance of safety features that come with a PerforMax rubber door. For one, no one has to worry about metal pieces falling down onto them.

Rubber doors are among the safest doors available, especially from PerforMax Global. With the added safety of a door that won’t fall apart on them, the people of Heinz Hall receive other safety benefits.

Benefit #5: Minimal Maintenance

Rolling steel doors use springs in their operation. Springs have an average life of 10,000 cycles; a cycle being when the door opens and closes. Springs lead to costly maintenance and risk of a free-falling door. Take a look here to learn more about the lifetime of springs. A door with springs needs maintenance and replacement springs after their cycle rating is hit. Without maintenance and replacement, springs can break, leading to a door free falling. This is something Carl will not have to worry about with a rubber door.

The innovative technology of PerforMax MaxSpeed uses no springs in its operation. There are also no pulleys, hinges, or rollers used, leading to far less maintenance.  The door will need minimal maintenance.

An overhead door free falling into a loading dock is a catastrophe. This happens with doors with moving parts that can break down if not properly maintained. This video shows the amount of force that comes with a door free falling.

PerforMax uses an inertia brake in its motor. This prevents a door from free falling regardless of power loss, impact, or low maintenance. The safest door for any facility is a door from PerforMax Global.

Benefit #6: Value

“Your door was not the least expensive door, but we all agreed given the variable nature of the speed the weather closure, and the noise level being ultra-quiet, we made the decision to go with the door.”

“We did run into a couple of issues; we did not realize we needed a 400-amp outlet, but Tom was great in working with us to achieve that. Tom even worked with us and the installers so we had it installed just how we wanted it so it would fit the space.”

New installed Rubber rollup door for Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


“Up to this point everything about the install has been great. It’s been virtually perfect. We haven’t had any major issues with it since it was put in.”

The door has made such an impact on the workers and performers that they’ve requested the same door be placed in their interior loading door. “Our musicians have asked if we can do the same door in a smaller version of it on our inner loading dock door. They complain of the draft issues and noise level of our current door there now.”

The MaxSpeed commercial door has fit perfectly for Heinz Hall. Not only did it solve the problems of their old steel door, but it’s simple and easy for everyone to use. It’s ultra-quiet operation no longer disrupts the stage, the old opening speeds are now doubled, and there could not be a safer door in place of the steel door.

Everyone is very comfortable with the way it works. It’s ultra-fast and quiet.”

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