Fabricating and wrapping garage doors to replicate design

Wrapping garage doors Case Study for Engie on behalf of Kingston Council.

The original doorswrapping garage doorsPrinted wrapped doorWrapped doorHoneycomb composite panels

The Challenge

Client came to PPM with one of the more challenging print projects. 29 market stall doors in Kingston city centre were breaking because they were too heavy for the door mechanisms. The company who built the market stalls had overlooked the weight limitation. We had to design, manufacture and wrap garage doors that looked the same but were half the weight.


Kingston’s Ancient Market is a major part of Kingston’s Heritage and has been home to a bustling market for centuries. The oldest surviving records dating back to the early thirteenth century. The market still thrives today and is home to 29 permanent stalls with a new market stall structure as part for the areas £3 million renovation.

The contemporary market stall structure and the large stall doors are made from contemporary softwood cladding. The builder used a standard up-and-over skeleton garage door and mechanism, with the wooden cladding design then fixed to the skeleton door. They had overlooked the mechanisms maximum weight load. Once the stalls were occupied the mechanisms started to break and in fact were dangerous.

The Solution for wrapping garage doors

The current doors were over 100kg and we had a load limit of 50kg. As the wooden cladding was 20mm think we also had to make our doors 20mm think to ensure the face of the door aligned with the main structure. A requirement insisted by the architect.

Our idea was to photograph the existing door using our high-resolution Sony digital camera. Digitally printed onto a long term self-adhesive vinyl and laminate with the matching UV protective overlaminate.  This would give the maximum external life of about 5-6 years depending on the orientation exposure. It is possible the external life would be more however the final printwork is made up of many components and suppliers (vinyl/laminate supplier, ink manufacture, print machine manufacture printing company, installation fitter) and is very difficult to get  single point of responsibility. Wrapping garage doors and producing the print and wrapping it onto a surface is the easy bit.

The doors are in a busy public area.

These doors are in a busy public area and to be used every day for at least 20 years, finding a material which is very strong, lightweight and 20mm thick almost seemed an impossible task. We managed to find a 20 mm thick honeycomb aluminium composite panel and was only 7 Kg per meter2 making our panel 40kg. The issues was it only came 1250mm or 1500mm wide meaning we would need two panels and loss of rigidity.

Due to the nature of the honeycomb material we needed to cover the exposed core centre as the aluminium core is very soft. Routeing 50mm around the edges of the panels leaving the 1mm cover sheet (also known as skin) so it could be folded back 90 degrees covering the core and door skeleton. This also gave us another fixing point and allowed us to wrap the printed vinyl around the return giving a perfect finish.

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Honeycomb composite panels for architectural applications;

Is an aluminium composite panel consisting of two cover sheets and a honeycomb core of aluminium. The aluminium honeycomb core gives the composite panel a high rigidity and an extremely low weight.

ALUCORE therefore provides the decisive advantage where very high demands are made on the material for applications such as façade cladding or roofing, e.g. if exposed to extremely high wind load and for large self-supporting roofs. In addition to its low weight and perfect flatness, ALUCORE shows excellent weathering resistance. With regard to the surface finishing, high-quality lacquering systems with optimum resistance to weather and industrial pollution are used exclusively.

The original doors

wrapping garage doors