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Operable Partitions: Terminology


The Operable Partition Industry, like many industries, speak & describe in our own language using our own terminology. We sometimes wrongfully assume that  the listeners understands what we say. In order to explain and clarify some of these phrases, below are some of the most common that you may encounter.

Manual Operable Partition: A series of panels that are relocated by a person applying force to move them along an overhead track system. Moderco has two series of manual operable partitions: Signature Series & 700 series.

Manual Operable Partition Configuration:  Moderco manufactures two configurations: paired panels, the most common configuration, in which the panels are hinged together in groups of  two and moved along the track in pairs (Signature Model 8500 & 700 Series Model 742) and single panels in which the panels are not hinged together but move individually along the track (Signature 8600 & 8800 & 700 Series 742).

Multi-directional, Omni-directional, Right angle turn Panels: Single panel configuration only (Signature 8600 and 700 Series 741) in which each panel has two multi directional trollies that permit individual panels to negotiate right angle turns in the overhead track system permitting a variety or wall locations and storage options. Typically used in applications where panels do not exceed 20’ in height.

Switch and Curve, Radius track, “Smart Track”, “Pre-programmed Track”: Single panel curved track configuration (Signature 8800 & 700 Series 741) in which each panel has two trollies that permit individual panels to negotiate an overhead track system that has “radiused” intersections and corners. In addition the  track and trollies can be engineered to operate such that the panels will automatically go to a pre-determined location in the area to be divided or in the storage area. Typically used when panels are 20’ tall or higher.

Electrically Operated Partition: An operable partition in which all panels are hinged together as a unit and moved along the track by means of an electric motor driving a cable, concealed within the track and attached to the trolley installed on the first panel out of the storage area. Moderco manufactures four electric partitions: Signature 8760 & 8720, 700 Series 743-E and Gym door 801.

Final Closure: When all panels have been moved from their storage area and placed into position across the opening there remains a portion of the opening width in or adjacent to the storage area, a gap, that remains not filled. The means by which this gap in  the opening is closed is called the “final closure”. Moderco uses three methods to facilitate this “final closure” i.e.: close the “gap”. Expandable Panel Closure: on the last panel out of the storage area Moderco installs a full height horizontally expanding and retracting mechanism that when, manually activated will move from 3 to 6” and press against the permanent wall  and seal (close) off the gap. Moderco installs a compressible bulb seal on the expandable nose in order to maintain acoustical integrity and not damage any permanent walls. Hinged Panel Closure: A full height panel that is hinged to the stack jamb and of sufficient width such that when swung into place closes off the opening. This panel can also be manufactured in a width equal to a pass door and can be used as a communicating panel. Seal to face of a Pocket Door: If the panels are stacked in a pocket and behind a pocket door an expandable panel closure is used to seal against the face of the pocket door.

Pocket Doors: One or more full height panels installed to conceal the storage area in which the panels are stored (stacked). Pocket doors come in various configurations (single, double, bi-fold or 3 section) depending on the particular application.

Panel Face, Panel Surface: The vertical plane of the panel usually covered in a vinyl, fabric, carpet etc. that is visible when the partition is extended. Facing materials are typically gypsum board or steel of various thicknesses (gauges) as dictated by the sound tests.

Astragal: A vertical steel or aluminum profile mounted in each panel edge that mates with adjacent panels in order to provide stability and acoustical integrity.

Ceiling Height: The vertical measurement between the underside of the finished ceiling and the finished floor. It is critical that this measurement be determined as accurately as possible prior to partition manufacturing. Ideally the ceiling and floor shall be parallel to each other or within the tolerances allowed by the manufacturer in order to provide desired operation, aesthetics and acoustics.      

Opening Width: The horizontal distance between the two vertical walls/structures in which the partition will be installed. There is a certain amount of manufacturing flexibility in this dimension that can be accommodated by the final closure method.