Choosing the Right Doors for Food Processing Facilities

Blue food doors.

Today’s hygiene regulations require buildings used for food and beverage manufacture to meet specific standards in their layout, design and construction. In particular, they should permit good hygiene practices, be easy to clean and disinfect and should protect food against external sources of contamination, such as pests and bacteria.

Choosing a door that’s fit for purpose is an important part of achieving these standards. Door systems play an essential role in preventing cross contamination as well as maintaining correct room temperatures and ensuring optimum operating efficiency. Here we look at some of the key considerations in more detail.

Protection against pests and contaminants

Minimising any potential for contamination is one of the highest priorities in food processing facilities. To minimise bacteria, it is essential that doors are completely seamless and impervious in order to prevent germs building up in any hard to clean gaps or cracks in the doors surface.

Surfaces in food facilities must be cleaned thoroughly and regularly. Doors must have smooth, waterproof surfaces which are easy to clean and disinfect. They also need to be durable enough to withstand impact from traffic and vigorous cleaning procedures, which typically include very hot water, steam and aggressive cleaning chemicals. If doors start to crack, rot or peel this can reveal areas for bacteria to reproduce which will compromise hygiene.

Reducing energy costs

Door selection is also an important factor in keeping the temperature levels balanced in food facilities. Door should enable easy access for goods and people whilst also minimising air exchange. This not only improves the efficiencies of the building itself by lowering refrigeration costs and condensation, but it also improves the quality of the products.

Automated doors can be used in conjunction with air tight doors at the appropriate locations to offer a higher degree of air management control. Sealing and/or automatic doors can prevent air from travelling to areas where it’s not supposed to, improving temperature control and cross contamination.

Increasing safety and productivity

Doors need to be wide enough to allow the easy movement of staff, equipment and vehicles, but also correctly installed so that there are no gaps around the doors or frame. When doors are in frequent use (for example in loading bays) additional measures like automations and self-closing mechanisms may be necessary to increase opening speeds and help minimise pests.

Automatic or fast acting doors can be beneficial for high traffic areas in particular or where open food products are being transferred. Shorter opening times can minimise draughts, dust and contamination whilst also increasing production efficiency and saving energy costs. Furthermore, automated doors help improve staff safety and prevent damage to the door by reducing collisions.

Doors in high traffic areas and those which are likely to have equipment and forklifts passing though should be strong and able to withstand heavy impacts. Preventative maintenance should also be considered for all doors to keep them in peak operating condition and to help prevent costly downtime throughout the facility.

Fire protection and safely segregating spaces

Fire doors are one of the most critical elements of fire protection. They are an important part of compartmentation which helps to slow down the spread of fire and smoke and allow occupants to either escape the building by keeping escape routes clear of smoke and fire, or wait for rescue.

The selection and installation of fire doors which are fire tested and proven compliant by a third party approved organisation is essential. A fire door is much more than just a door leaf. The door leaf, the frame, the hinges, the fittings, the hardware, the glass in the vision panels and the seals are all dependent upon each other, to ensure the effectiveness of the door in a fire. The full door assembly must be fire tested as a combination of all elements together, rather than each component individually.

Fire doors are carefully engineered fire safety devices which should be fitted correctly by experienced installers from a reputable company. A certified fire doorset which is incorrectly installed may provide very little, if any, fire resistance at all. For this reason, specifiers should always use professional installers who are fully trained.

Security and Accessibility 

Along with equipment in the facility, doors are a critical component for Food security, especially in food auditing inspection processes which are typically conducting annually by authorised accredited inspection agents.

Innovative Hygienic Door Solutions

Long-term durability and high performance are achieved by specifying the most suitable door materials. Doors in food facilities will be one of the most frequently used and touched components so longevity, cleanability and durability are crucial factors. When selecting doors, food facilities commonly have four materials to choose from—steel, timber, laminate or hygienic GRP. However, in areas where hygiene is important, there is really no comparison between them. In every aspect, hygienic GRP doors perform much better than their steel or timber counterparts. The construction of steel and timber doors leaves seams and crevices, particularly around vision panels and the top and edges of doors. These harbour bacteria and are difficult to clean, creating contamination risks. Steel doors also oxidise when exposed to regular cleaning regimes, whereas timber/laminate doors warp, rot and decay when exposed to moisture.

Hygienic doors are also better value than its competitors, when lifecycle costs are factored in. Depending on the type of structure, steel doors will often require additional heavy steelwork to reinforce the door opening before installation. In high usage areas, doors are subject to a lot of wear and tear. The surfaces of steel, timber and laminate doors mark very easily and require regular maintenance to ensure hygienic performance is not compromised. Also, should they suffer impact damage, can easily dent, and cannot be repaired in situ.

Hygienic access solutions such as Dortek’s have become the leading solution for food facilities to overcome the limitations of other doors. Hygienic doors comply with all the latest good manufacturing practice (GMP) requirements in the food sector. They have a smooth, seamless construction which is easy to clean and does not harbour bacteria. The inorganic GRP door surface and core is also completely water resistant and does not warp, rust or rot when exposed to disinfectants. Doors can also be supplied and installed with numerous choices of automations, access control and air tight sealing choices to suit each opening. In addition, a huge range of colours are available for both door and frame, ensuring colour matching throughout the facility.

Hygienic Door Benefits

  • Corrosion resistant – hygienic doors like Dortek’s do not rust, corrode or fail in corrosive environments or locations that require frequent wash downs.
  • Completely flush construction – which is sealed on all sides, no seams, gaps or cavities for bacteria or dirt to gather.
  • Custom fabrication – doors can be manufactured to virtually any standard or custom size.
  • Fire ratings – hygienic doors such as Dortek’s can be manufactured with certified fire ratings up to 5 hours (using a patented hygienic concealed intumescent strip).
  • Automations and activation devices – a wide range of automatic systems can be added for safe, fast and easy access.
  • Insulation and airtight sealing – doors can be supplied with a range of insulation options or seals to prevent air leakage and maintain temperature control.
  • Hardware options – hinges, locks and closers can fit virtually any hygienic GRP door panel.
  • Solid core construction – adds strength and the ability to perform in high usage areas.
  • Low maintenance and long lasting – designed to withstand heavy impacts and manufactured with a permanent gelcoat finish.
  • 20+ colours options – for doors and frames, plus options for any standard RAL or BS colour to maximise aesthetics.
  • Regulatory approvals – Dortek hygienic doors are approved for use in regulated facilities under the food and drug administration (FDA) including specific programs such as current good manufacturing practices (cGMP).

The edges of two doors.

Dortek is a leading global supplier for the supply, manufacture and installation of access solutions, including hygienic doors for the food, pharmaceutical, bioscience, healthcare and industrial sectors.  With over 50 years’ experience in designing and supplying access solutions, our dedicated in-house project management team deliver complex, bespoke door packages from initial design to final commissioning. Dortek doors are specified extensively by leading food organisations around the world. We have completed projects throughout the UK, Ireland, Europe, US, Africa, Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand and Australia. Visit our website or contact us for further details.


Organic vs Hygienic GRP Doors: Infection Control and Best Practice in the Specification of Doors in Hygienic Settings.

Here at Dortek we are passionate about what we do. With over 50 years of experience in the door manufacturing industry there’s not much we don’t know. Les Blennerhassett, technical director of Dortek, Ireland’s leading suppliers of hygienic doors to the healthcare and pharmaceutical sector, explains the infection control benefits of using Dortek glass reinforced polyester (GRP) over wood and laminate doors in a hospital setting.

Operating theatre full of equipment.

Dortek Hygienic GRP Doors

Specifying doors in a hospital setting can be a daunting process. The growing demands of hygiene legislation and increasing pressure on hospitals to ensure performance matches the demands of the environment, means there are now more elements to consider than ever before.

“Traditionally, hospital doors have been painted wood or wooden cored laminate. However, because of increasing standards of hygiene and infection control, GRP is becoming the material of choice for the modern hospital designer, not only for high risk areas such as intensive care, pharmacy cleanrooms and operating theatres, but also for medium risk areas like recovery suites, laboratories and hydrotherapy pools.

GRP is a high technology engineering composite, manufactured from millions of strands of glass fibre and polyester resin. Dortek Hygienic Doors are manufactured in Ireland using a unique closed mould process, creating a strong, uniform product with no seams or joints on the door surface and no holes or crevices within that might harbour bacteria.

While wooden or laminate ‘lick and stick’ doors may be adequate for non-critical areas such as corridors, waiting areas and general office space, in areas where cleanliness is of the utmost importance, organic materials are not suitable. No one would consider using organic materials to make trolleys, benches or operating tables, and yet we still see doors manufactured with timber lippings, frames and vision panel surrounds in widespread use.

In a hospital setting, doors are subject to aggressive use and wear and tear on a regular basis, with trolleys manoeuvred in confined spaces inevitably hitting both the door and its frame. In the past, concerns were purely aesthetic, and repairs could be carried out when areas were closed for major maintenance. However, when surfaces are damaged these days there is an immediate risk to infection control that must be dealt with urgently. Whereas laminate and timber doors might need to be replaced in this instance, GRP doors are much stronger, and can be easily and effectively restored to their original state.

Timber and laminate doors are not only potentially weaker than GRP doors, and thus more easily damaged, but can also pose a higher risk, as a knock or chip may reveal organic materials below where bacteria could reproduce, as well as being virtually impossible both to clean and keep clean effectively. Unlike laminate and timber doors, which can deteriorate quickly once exposed to common cleaning regimes, hygienic GRP doors like those produced by Dortek Ireland are able to tolerate constant cleaning, the prolonged use of disinfectants, chlorine releasing agents and VHP (vaporised hydrogen peroxide).

The international pharmaceutical anti biotechnology industry has already turned its back on timber and laminate doors, replacing them with GRP as standard across many manufacturing facilities. With the standards of cleanliness demanded by such industries, hospital specifiers need to recognise that the downside of infection contamination in a cleanroom far outweighs any reason not to reconsider the decades-old thinking behind conventional hospital hygienic door specification.”

For more information on door specification in healthcare and other hygienic environments, please contact us at

Dortek Pharmaceutical Doors

Our hygienic doors are for use in the pharmaceutical, cleanroom and research laboratory industries. As our biggest market sector, we have extensive experience in the pharmaceutical industry, we ensure that our doors remain at the cutting edge of cleanroom technology.

Our glass reinforced polyester (GRP) fire rated doors meet over 50 independent tested specifications which are compliant with worldwide regulations. They are completely heat resistant and are designed to withstand extreme temperatures and high levels of humidity.

How are Dortek GRP pharmaceutical doors unique from others?

  • They do not harbour bacteria unlike alternative laminate, timber, or steel doors.
  • They have a void free and non-porous construction which is designed to meet cGMP and GLP requirements.
  • They are corrosion resistant and remain unaffected from exposure to chlorinated water, steam and cleaning chemicals.
  • Dortek pharmaceutical doors will not swell, rot, rust, or warp and will withstand years of usage.
  • Our doors have a completely flush construction which is sealed on all sides -no seams, gaps or cavities for bacteria or dirt to gather.
  • They are aesthetically pleasing with a range of permanent gelcoat colour finishes.
  • They are custom fabricated – doors can be manufactured to virtually any standard or custom size.
  • They have a solid core construction – which adds strength and the ability to adapt to different usage or performance applications.
  • Independently tested fire ratings – Dortek doors can be manufactured and labelled with fire ratings up to 4 hours, allowing for appropriate installation in fire-rated walls.

We have worked on many projects with worldwide leading pharmaceutical companies including, GSK, Pfizer and Genzyme along with many more. You can read more about our projects here.

For more information about our pharmaceutical doors or any of our other products, please contact us via our enquiry form and a member of our team will be more than happy to help.

Hygienic Doors for Laboratories

Here at Dortek our Hygienic GRP Laboratory Doors are built to last, even in the harshest of environments. This means our timber-free doors will not swell, warp or bow and will not rot or rust. It is important for laboratory doors to be watertight and resistant to chemicals, fumigation, bacterial growth and harbouring vermin. Dortek hygienic GRP doors not only meet but also exceed these expectations. We have been manufacturing specialist hygienic doors for over 50 years, providing solutions for laboratories around the world.

Our doors improve performance, quality, and personal safety, as well as being designed to meet the biological containment needs of research laboratories. The standards are rigorous when it comes to the engineering and containment systems, and each facility has specific requirements such as infection control, decontamination, structural durability, biosecurity, procedures, and administrative controls.

If you would like more information about our hygienic laboratory doors, why not ask one of our experts on our website and they will be more than happy to help you with your project needs. Alternatively, if you would like to request a quote, you can do so via our Request A Quote section on our site.

Dortek Timber-Free Hygienic Doors

Dortek have installed timber-free hygienic doors in this modular theatre build. Once again, our doors have been chosen in conjunction with this off-site theatre build scheme at a Bedfordshire hospital in the UK. Double, leaf and a half and single doors all feature, as do our Vistatec lead and laser-proof interstitial vision panels and automations to make entering and exiting the theatre suit easy for users.

Automated Hygienic Doors for Infection Control

The key benefits of automated hygienic doors    

Hygienic door systems with intelligent automations are the best solution to help patients and staff move within healthcare facilities in a safe, efficient and convenient manner. Automatic hygienic doors have become increasingly popular for busy hospitals due to the numerous advantages they offer.

Below we explore some of the reason why these doors are increasingly being chosen –

Contamination Controlautomatic doors, sectional doors

One of the main ways infection and viruses are spread is through hand contact. Particularly on the most frequently used building components such as doors. Automated hygienic doors are ideal for infection control areas such as hospitals, due to the fact they eliminate the need to touch the door surface, therefore reducing the risk of contamination. Automations also offer greater convenience for staff who need to move equipment and patient beds around within the hospital, without the need to open or touch doors. They are particularly useful for use in hygiene critical areas such as operating theatres, intensive care units and isolation units. Hygienic doors are constructed from Glass Reinforced Polyester, using a unique pressure moulding technique. This produces a completely smooth, void free finish to the door which prevents bacteria from harbouring and makes them easy to clean.

automatic doors, industrial sectional doors


When you choose automatic doors, you don’t have to sacrifice form for function. With so many different configurations, designs and activation options to choose from, it’s easy to find a solution to suit your needs. There are three basic types of automatic doors -swinging, sliding and bi-parting sliding. Swing doors are perfect for high traffic corridors or rooms, sliding doors are perfect where space is limited and bi-parting sliding doors are frequently used in areas requiring maximum opening spaces to accommodate the free movement of medical equipment and patient beds.

DDA and Equality Act complianceautomatic doors, high speed doors

Automatic doors improve access for everyone, regardless of their physical capabilities. The introduction of the Disability Discrimination Act of 1995 and the subsequent Equality Act 2010, along with BS 8300 and Approved Document M of the Building Regulations, has made it necessary for companies to install automatic doors in order to ensure compliance.

Building occupants prefer automatic doors

Survey results prove that an overwhelming majority of building users prefer and place a high level of importance on automatic doors. A recent research study by the AAADM (American Association of Automatic Door Manufacturers) showed that 98.9 percent preferred using automatic doors. Research participants also indicated that it was most important for automatic doors to be used in hospitals. Automatic doors provide a quieter environment and enhanced privacy for patients. Staff and visitors in corridors are undetectable to the patients in enclosed rooms and doctor-patient conversations cannot be overheard in the corridors.

Safety and convenience

When properly installed, serviced and maintained, automatic doors consistently provide safe, reliable and convenient access for users. An automated door removes the inconvenience of struggling to open a heavy, manual door. Doors which are fire rated or lead lined can be particularly difficult to open due to their weight. For controlled environments, particularly where rooms are operating under air pressure, using automations is another solution for smooth effortless operation.

Easy to use and maintainautomatic doors, sectional doors

Today’s technologically sophisticated automatic doors are user-friendly and virtually self-sufficient. When an automatic door is installed and maintained properly, day-to-day operation is straightforward and typically trouble-free. Automated doors also sustain less damage and wear from trolleys and other aggressive traffic, which in turn increases the life of the doorset and reduces maintenance costs.

Energy savings

Sustainability is a major concern in modern construction and automated doors help save energy by ensuring doors are shut efficiently, safely and securely. Automatic doors only open and close when a user activates them, this prevents doors from being left open which results in wasted heating or air conditioning costs. Plus, many new, low energy door options use minimal power to operate and establish a tight, secure seal to conserve energy. Due to this, automatic doors are ideal for temperature controlled environments such as operating theatres.automatic doors, high speed doors

Cost and long term value

Automated doors will sustain far less damage and wear from trolleys and other aggressive traffic due to the limited amount of contact with the door leaf. This increases the life of the door set and reduces maintenance costs. Automatic doors offer significant cost and energy savings over their life cycle. Automatic doors which are correctly installed, maintained and serviced will run smoothly for many years and virtually pay for themselves in terms of convenience and energy savings. Automated doors are a cost effective solution for providing universal accessibility across buildings.


Why Choose Dortek Hygienic Automated Doors?industrial sectional doors

With over 50 years’ experience in the design, manufacture, installation and maintenance of hygienic automatic doors, our clients benefit from our extensive product knowledge and project management experience.

We work with clients to automate their doors to offer reliable, hands free access that improves pedestrian flow and reduces energy costs. All Dortek automations are fully guaranteed and are installed by our own certified engineers without the use of sub-contractors. To ensure your automations remain in peak operating condition throughout their life, service & maintenance contracts are also available. Dortek are approved members of ADSA (Automatic Door Suppliers Association).

Please contact us for advice, free quotations or general enquiries relating to any project requirements you may have.

Hygienic Retail Doors

Hygienic retail doors or hygienic crash doors are used in many retail applications where there is a need for hygienic and robust doors.

Hygienic retail doors have a number of advantages including cleanliness, strength, high operating efficiency, heat conservation, infection prevention and noise pollution. They are specifically designed to offer reliable, safe and durable operation to meet the demands of retail and industrial environments.

Let’s explore each of the benefits these types of doors offer in more detail.

They support hygiene and infection control

Retail, food, manufacturing and commercial kitchen environments all place hygiene as a key priority. Premises should permit good hygiene practices, be easy to clean and disinfect and should offer protection against external sources of contamination, such as pests and bacteria.

The benefit of flip flap doors is that they’re constructed with a high-density glass fibre reinforced polyester core that prevents water absorption and bacteria. The smooth, hygienic GRP surface is easy to keep clean. They are ideal for wash down areas due to the fact that they will not swell, rot, rust or warp.

These doors are also valuable for pest control as they prevent access from unwanted visitors entering the premises, particularly where there is food.

They can be provided with third party tested fire ratings

Our fire rated retail doors are designed and constructed to industry leading standards; all our doors comply with the latest fire safety standards. We can provide up to four hours fire rating and doors can be linked to a fire alarm management system.

They withstand high traffic and heavy impacts

The most essential feature of a hygienic retail door is that they are built to withstand heavy impacts. High traffic areas such as retail environments will have cages, forklifts and other equipment frequently passing through so they need to be strong and able to endure high impacts.

Dortek hygienic retail doors are constructed from GRP, which is plastic reinforced by fine fibres made of glass. GRP is known for its high mechanical strength and durability.

Hygienic retail crash doors are designed for heavy duty areas and usually come equipped with door protection which can include polypropylene bumpers. These help to guard against aggressive traffic and prevent damage to the door face.

They help improve operational efficiency and productivity

Large retail stores experience high volumes of traffic every day. Suppliers and employees move around these stores frequently which is why a typical door would be unsuitable to this environment. A hygienic retail door is specially designed to increase productivity and to enable smooth and easy access. Doors can also come prepared with kick and push plates as well as hold open devices.

GRP is a naturally insulating material which helps maintain temperature controls. Features like these are very beneficial, especially for areas that are humid or for food or household items that are sensitive to temperature. Hygienic retail doors are an economical way to reduce both heat loss and noise pollution in working environments

Hygienic retail doors constructed from GRP are also extremely lightweight and impact resistant with long lasting built-in colour. The outer skin of the door has a gel coat finish which is chemically bonded to the glass fibre. This ensures that the door will never require repainting or refinishing. All these factors give the doors low life cycle costs and means they are often proven to outlive their usage.

Automation units can also be added to the doors to eliminate the need to touch the door surface. This reduces cross contamination by removing the need to touch the door and it also reduces impact damage and increases longevity.

The main benefits of Dortek hygienic retail doors are:

  • Hygienic – smooth, easy to clean, non-porous gelcoat finish which does not harbour bacteria and is resistant to water and cleaning chemicals.
  • Robust design – a durable, hardwearing construction which is built to last in high traffic applications.
  • Easy to operate crash doors – lightweight, self-closing and with a 180-degree swing hinge system which is user friendly.
  • Automations – single action doors are available with automations to help reduce cross contamination and impact damage. A range of actuators including push buttons, infra-red radars or pull cords are available.
  • Fire certified – up to 4 hours fire rating to meet fire safety regulations.
  • Cost effective – helps reduce building energy costs by keeping temperature-controlled zones isolated.
  • Efficient – helps improve traffic flow and enable people, forklifts and trolleys to move around buildings quickly.
  • Reduces contamination/noise – separates areas to help reduce contamination, dust, fumes and noise pollution.
  • Pest control – helps prevent access for pests or birds.

Collage of retail doors.

Dortek hygienic retail doors are used across major retail chains in the UK, Asia and Europe. Here are some recently completed retail projects where hygienic retail doors are being used:

  • Aldi
  • Lidl
  • Sainsburys
  • Morrisons
  • Waitrose
  • Farmfoods
  • B&M
  • Harrods
  • Ikea
  • Dunelm
  • Wilkos
  • The Range

Have a look at our website or contact our retail team at for more information.

Hygienic Touchless Door Activation

Door handles and touch devices are some of the most vulnerable areas in buildings for the spread of bacteria or viruses. One contaminated touch can easily set off a chain reaction of cross contamination throughout a building.

As germs grow more aggressive and become more resistant to antibiotics and other treatments, it’s imperative to try and eliminate sources of cross contamination to reduce the spread of bacteria and viruses. Touchless door activation is an extremely effective way to do this.

Dortek’s touchless door switches are the hygienic solution to prevent infection or viruses from being transmitted via conventional door handles or push buttons. The switch automatically triggers the door opening ensuring no contact is required.

Dortek have a range of touchless door solutions to make opening doors simple and germ free. We can provide wall switches with LED back-lighting to illuminate the switch at all times. This enables the switch to be easily located even in low light conditions.


– Hygienic touch free operation
– Adjustable detection range from 5-40cm
– Adjustable door-open period
– Water resistant
– Sleek flush mounted design
– Illuminated versions available.

For further information on our range of touchless door options please contact your local Dortek office or email

Three Dortek touchless doors.


Hygienic and Industrial Door Servicing

Assurance for your Doors

High speed doors, roller shutters, double action doors, fire shutters and automatic doors are often subject to wear and tear and accidental damage. A damaged door can cause great inconvenience to productivity, deliveries and security systems, as well as a loss of time and money.

As a leading hygienic and industrial door supplier, Dortek can carry out servicing and repairs on all types and makes of doors, even non Dortek brands. With over 50 years experience in maintaining doors, all our engineers are professionally trained and certified to CSCS, ADSA and BS7036 standards.

Our range of Dortek doors can also be offered with a professional aftercare and maintenance plan for your peace of mind. We install all our doors to the highest standards and aim to maintain that standard throughout your door’s lifespan.

For more information on our range of repair and service solutions, please contact your local Dortek Service Centre. 


Flexible Repair & Modernisation


We provide high quality repair services for all brands of specialist doors and door accessories. Our expert door technicians can repair your doors with precision and speed in order to minimise any downtime in your facility. Find out more

Dortek engineer with a screwdriver in hand.Maintenance Plans

Our range of service plans aim to provide you with the level of care you need, whether your main concern is compliance, operational evaluation or maximising performance. We can also offer customisable service plans to meet all requirements and budgets. Find out more

Spare Parts

Dortek badge on the uniform.Dortek offer a full range of spare parts for most specialist doors, whether it’s a Dortek door or an alternative brand. We also offer discounts to customers who have service plans with us. Find out more

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