A roller shutter is a device used to cover windows, doors and other openings. Unlike traditional shutters, roller shutters operate via a coiling mechanism, and roll up above the opening instead of out to the sides. They range from simple wooden models used to add shade to heavy duty steel version designed for added security and fire protection. A roller shutter may be used as the only form of covering over an opening, or may be used in conjunction with a standard window or door.
Roller shutters can be used at both interior and exterior openings. They are commonly placed over windows and doors, where they serve as an extra layer of security against break-in. Businesses may use these shutters instead of traditional doors to protect the building and its contents when the structure is closed. For example, many stores in shopping malls are equipped with roller shutters. These units are also used to protect against the weather, and are very popular in areas that are subject to severe storms.
Buyers can choose from several different types of roller shutter materials based on the desired function and appearance. Wooden models are generally the most affordable, and consist of thin strips of wood bound together using pegs or cords, which allows the strips to roll up into a tight coil when raised. Aluminum models are designed for light-use applications, and are made from thin strips of aluminum that have been linked together. Steel roller shutters are primarily used for high-security or fire-protection applications.
While each type of roller shutter may include its own unique design and components, most feature the same set of basic operating components. This includes the shutter, which is sized to fit each individual opening. Guide rails positioned on either side of the opening help to guide the shutter up and down as it is opened or closed. A shutter box at the top of the opening is used to store and protect the coiled shutter when opened, and to protect gears and other operating components. Seals and gaskets all around the roller shutter help keep the opening air and watertight, and allow it to operate at maximum effectiveness.
Each roller shutter also includes some form of controls or operating mechanism. The most basic units feature manual operation, and can be raised or lowered using a chain or pulley. Electric units include a motor, which allows users to raise or lower the shutters at the push of a button. These shutters may also be wired for automatic operation. For example, shutters may be programmed to close immediately when the building's fire alarm is activated, or when a security breach occurs.