Schweiss doors adorn a rocket hanger at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
In 1973, Renville County farmer Mike Schweiss started a little manufacturing sideline in an out building where he tinkered with “chicken pluckers,” then hog-confinement pens, sheds and finally, a bifold door for a big county shed that held snowplows.
Schweiss thought the future, back in the 1970s, might be in doors.Good idea.
Sixty five-employee Schweiss Doors, which expects revenue this year of about $16 million, has made a lot of doors since then. Small ones. And really big ones.
Schweiss recently completed two rocket hangar doors at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Merritt Island, Florida. The doors, six and seven stories tall, respectively, are two of the largest in Schweiss history.
They cost $327,000 to manufacture.
The Schweiss doors can withstand winds of up to 150 miles per hour. The larger door, which is 90 feet wide by 60-feet tall, weighs 43,000 pounds. It takes a lot of juice to lift these babies.
The 150 mph wind-rated doors at Kennedy Space Center are sturdy, to say the least. The larger one is 90 feet wide x 60 feet tall, equipped with auto-latches, four bottom-drive 480 volt, 3-phase motors and 31 patented Schweiss lift straps. The door weighs 53,000 lbs.
Kennedy Space Center, on the southeast coast of Florida, provides access to a wide range of low-and-medium-inclination orbits frequently used by communications and earth-observing satellites and supply missions to the International Space Station.
Schweiss-built doors are in some interesting places.
The press box at the Philadelphia Phillies baseball stadium sports Schweiss bifold doors. So does a Mall of America storefront, an Arizona auto dealership, a Harley-Davidson dealer in Maui, Hawaii, and the Ecology Center at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif.
Then there is airplane hangar owned by actor Jim Nabors in Hawaii.
Hey, Gomer, nice doors.