11. What are the critical components school leaders should look for when considering potential room divider solutions? Good question and I will answer it two different ways. First, the critical components in considering a Room Divider solution is not any different than considering any other major purchase. That is administrators should look for a reputable manufacturer with a well established track record of providing long term value and safe products to their customers. That may be common sense, but I believe sometimes it is overlooked. Again…you want to consider safe products from a reputable manufacturer with a proven track record of providing value to their customers.
Specifically what critical component should you look for in a safe Portable Room Divider for your school? Here is a list to use:
End Frame Design for Stability: The most stable things on the planet are wide at the bottom and narrow at the top…i.e. the pyramids or a mountain. So if you want a portable divider with maximum stability, the end frames (the “things” at the end that hold the divider up) should be wide at the bottom and narrow at the top.
Acoustical Fire Rated Panels: Sound is absorbed by soft and semi soft materials. Accordingly we include not just one but two layers of sound absorbing fiberglass on both sides of every panel. If you ask for a fire test, ensure it is a test on the entire panel. NOT just the fabric.
Self-Leveling Casters: Let’s face it…your floors are not perfectly level and neither are ours. If a portable divider does not have self-leveling casters then it will lean in the direction the floor slopes or worse…not touch the floor at all. Thus in the interest of having a stable divider, any portable divider you consider should have self-leveling casters.
Dual Interior Casters: Some systems only have single casters on the interior panels. Systems with dual casters are obviously twice as supportive and accordingly more stable. Which would you rather have in your school?
Full Length Connections Between Panels: Ask yourself which is stronger…a system which uses full length piano hinges AND TWO SCREWS EVERY 4 INCHES to connect one panel to the next… or something which does not use this technology? Common sense tells us the more connecting points there are between panels, the stronger the connection. Period.
Full Length Connections Between the 2 End Frames and the 2 Lead Panels: The point where the end frames are connected to the lead panel gets all the twisting and turning action as the divider is opened, closed, or moved. A superior connection at this point is critical to having a long life to your Portable Room Divider. What do we do here at Screenflex? We not only insert the panel directly into the end frame, but then we screw the metal end frame to the metal frame of the panel from two directions. We don’t stop there. A gusset plate is added to the bottom connecting these two critical components yet again.
A Means to Help Secure the Panels in Place: A well built Portable Room Divider will serve you for many, many years. Likely over that time frame, it will occasionally be used for weeks or months at a time in the exact same spot. Thus locking corner casters and a locking device at the apex of each hinge (Position Controllers) are very desirable features.
Other components such as a wide variety of heights, lengths, colors, being made in our USA, local customer lists, tackability etc. are also important features. This entire list and accompanying pictures is available on our website. (www.screenflex.com)