At the recent Farm Fest show near Redwood Falls, Minn., Schweiss Bi-Fold Doors showed how shipping containers can be converted to "easy access" storage units.
The side and end of a standard container were equipped with large one-piece hydraulic-opened doors. The doors have the added benefit of providing a shaded area when opened.
Mike Schweiss, CEO of Schweiss Bi-Fold Doors, says, "The beauty of this idea is that the large side door opens up the entire container, making it much easier to access contents.
"I think it would be perfect for a number of uses such as a portable shed, workshop, mobile office, storage for farm seed and chemicals, and hunting shacks. This is our first project, but we plan to do more and are willing to custom build doors to the customer's needs. For example, the containers can be designed with a small room at one end that can be used as a small office. The interior of the container can be equipped with a speaker system and LED lighting."
Schweiss bought the container on display 1 1/2 years ago for $5,500. He also added 1 1/2 in. of insulation coated with 3/8 in. of corrugated plastic, giving an R-value of 14 to the container walls.
He says the company can buy containers and retrofit them in their shop, or customers can buy their own container and then buy a kit and do the work themselves.
The doors are constructed with 2-in. sq. steel tubing with a built-in truss system for added strength. The big side door requires a lot of lifting power so Schweiss uses strong, specially made cylinders that are activated by a ball screw actuator and motor, giving each cylinder a lifting power of 5,000 lbs.
"When I retrofitted the container that's on display at shows, I discovered its top couldn't support the weight of the side door and caved in somewhat so I had to prop it up," says Schweiss.
Schweiss says one idea down the road is to use a pair of forklifts to load the container onto a flatbed semi truck, allowing farmers to drive to the field with their water tanks and chemicals, etc. "When you get to the field or job site you would just open the hydraulic door and take out what you need," he says.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Schweiss Bi-Fold Doors, P.O. Box 220, Fairfax, Minnesota 55332 (ph 800 746-8273; email@example.com; www.bifold.com).