Exclusive: Working on a bespoke basis

November 16, 2021

Sean Ballard, Group Managing Director at Sunray Engineering Ltd explains the company’s expansion and work across the industry.

Sunray Engineering is considered a leading UK Designer, Manufacturer and Installer of bespoke Steel Security and Fire Rated Doors, Steel Blast and Ballistic Doors and Screens, Steel Louvre & Wall Systems as well as Steel Grilles for Window Protection and GRP Walkway Platforms.

They also now produce a Timber Door which is also Fire and Security rated, which are all manufactured in-house and on site in Ashford, Kent.

Established in 1940 under the Hearn Engineering family name, Sunray evolved in the late 90’s as the Business structure changed. Whilst processes moved with the times, and modern machinery was implemented, the business is still engineering at roots level. We have retained the “craftsmanship” ethos, rather than pure automation, which means that every project we provide solutions to, is treated as bespoke and with the care and attention to detail it deserves. This approach also lends Sunray to the more specialist applications, and hence gives us the edge when it comes to truly tailored Security Door Solutions.

Over the years our strategy has diversified into new markets and niche areas, which has seen the Sunray Brand expand throughout various sectors across the UK and global.

Our reputation for providing the “often unusual” but essential has carved our path as a specialist in our field. This has given us exposure to a diversity of sector applications from Commercial, Financial, Retail, Rail and Transport, to Remote Petrochemical and Oil and Gas utilities. As a result of product enhancement, we also find many of these sectors in consultation with us for the manufacturer of the more specialist areas such as Blast and Ballistic Doors, Screens and associated structures.

Our journey from an engineering background enables us to relate to the requirement, the solution and the vision as well as talk in practical language. We view our clients and respective markets as our partners and this ensures repeat business and expert advice. Whilst many projects may be a variant of a similar theme, every project has finite differences, hence nothing is standard or off the shelf. Therefore, we make it once, fit it once and know the standard of quality and built in performance will deliver to our clients expectation.

Meeting demands

Sunray has, in many respects, set the standards of the industry. Our factory is manual-orientated with traditional methodology and practices. This level of intense labour of a skilled workforce enables us to generate products machines just simply cannot manufacture.

Sunray has approval by the CPNI (Critical Protection for National Infrastructure) for our specialist products whereby Security, Fire, Blast and Ballistics are combined to deliver the ultimate in performance criteria. However, due to the sensitivity required and as with many clients, we do not promote specific product or project details.

As a generic rule of thumb, Security and Fire Rated Doors are normally required for asset protection and against vulnerability. This type of application will be used, for example, in areas such as Data Centres, Banks, High End Retail, Police and Government, all of which may hold valuable asset or sensitive information which requires robust protection. As you can imagine, there are default market sectors which by nature require a high degree of protection and we are seeing much more attention towards security considerations at the concept stage.

In addition, the use of the natural environment such as the building being constructed underground, remote locations, seaward or shore locations; these all tend to be applications where there is an inherent risk and the integrity of the building must provide protection and assurance to resist attack, contain potential Fire or Blast and therefore perform to a given criteria. 

The demand for Blast and Ballistic doors has increased dramatically over the past five years, particularly and surprisingly for every day market sectors. However, we have also diversified into other regions of the globe. Our ballistic products are a variation of our Steel Doors, which need to be accredited and tested by specialist third party companies. These specialist products are suitable for Finance, Retail, Embassies, Petrochemical, Military, Police, Government, Transport and more.

Sunray’s products are manufactured on-site to the highest standards of testing, accreditation and audit. Sunray has also recently invested circa £2 million into an additional factory on the Kent site due to growing demands. This new facility has been designed to focus on the speciality products and has a team of highly knowledgeable engineers on board who take concept to production.

Sunray Timber Door Division

Four years ago, Sunray acquired an established Timber Door Company, Prestige Fire Door Services, which now trades as Sunray Timber Door Division. It provides a full range of Timber Fire and Security Doors to compliment what we already do so well. However, the Timber Door market is vast especially for the speciality type products which have design aesthetics combined with unique performance such as Fire and Security.

We also offer a service which provides expert and impartial advice on Passive Fire Protection and, as such, we are qualified under the FDIS scheme to conduct surveys and risk assessments on the level of protection and compliance any given building may have in place or require. We identified that there are thousands of Timber Doors throughout the UK which do not conform to Building or Fire Regulations and, as such, we felt responsible to highlight this to building owners and specifiers alike to draw on our experience from a simple but cost effective risk analysis.

Whilst our detailed surveys may well find possible faults the cost of life has no price. In so many cases we have provided corrective action to ensure Fire Door integrity is reached and safety is never compromised. As much as 50% of our surveys demonstrate incorrect specification and the use of inferior material and again this is all due to budgetary restraints.

The Sunray Timber Door Division recognises that any Door used or which forms part of the building envelope or fabric – whether new build or refurbishment – must adhere to the Fire and Building regulations. The key aspects we would ask any building owner or specifier to consider are Fire retardancy and rating as well as Security and Integrity. We have seen these basics as key features to  harmonise and develop into a product that could combine passive fire protection yet provide security.

On that basis, the Sunray Timber Door Division developed “FireSecure” which evolved as a concept and is now a reality through testing for ratings on both Fire and Security. This product is now recognised as one of the very few to provide both qualities and as a result is being specified in areas such as Commercial, Social Housing, Hotel, Leisure, Government and Retail.

For further details or to discuss a project, visit: www.sunraydoors.co.uk.

This article was originally published in the November edition of Security Journal UK. To get your FREE digital copy, visit: digital.securityjournaluk.com

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