The Manufacturer: Berner International
Who They Are
Berner Air Curtains, or the Berner International Corporation, is an air door and air curtain company based in New Castle, Pennsylvania. The company distributes air curtains and air doors globally, ranging from “architectural” models to commercial and industrial products. Berner’s wide range of air curtain products includes something for virtually any type of business, from a restaurant seeking an aesthetically pleasing solution for climate control to a manufacturing facility trying to keep dust and pollen from getting into a production facility.
In addition to the products it sells, Berner is also well known for furthering the global adoption of air curtains and air doors. On its website, Berner shares its vision for the future: one where there is an air curtain on every door. With more than 60 years in the business, the company has done more than perhaps any other brand to bring that vision to fruition.
Berner was first founded in 1956. The company’s website notes that Berner’s history began when the founders brought a new European technology—the air door—to the United States for the first time.
Over the course of the ensuing decades, Berner continued to blaze the trail for other brands in the air curtain and air door niche. In the 1970s, Berner formulated an alliance with other air curtain manufacturers—as well as the Air Movement Control Association (AMCA)—with the goal of creating a standardized and certified method of rating air door performance. Berner fervently wanted customers to have a way of understanding the differences between air curtain models. The concept of a standardized rating scale also helped hold companies accountable by rewarding high-quality and high-performance products.
Eventually, Berner’s efforts to improve the air curtain industry paved the way for the moment when air curtains were deemed a suitable replacement for vestibules in the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and the International Green Construction Code (IgCC). The decision gave the owners, builders, and developers of commercial buildings an alternative to expensive, space-wasting vestibules and triggered the use of air curtains and air doors in more buildings.
Today, Berner is led by Georgia Berner, who has been the president of the business since 1984. Georgia took over the organization after her husband, the company’s previous president, passed away in a tragic plane crash. She has flourished in the role, growing Berner’s presence in the market and turning it into one of the highest-rated employers in western Pennsylvania. In the early 2000s, she even won an Entrepreneur of the Year Award from well-known professional services firm Ernst & Young.
Berner focuses on the air curtain and air door market, offering a variety of several different categories. The categories include:
Architectural: Air doors in Berner’s “Architectural” line is intended for building designers “who are concerned with both aesthetics and protecting the intent of the space when the door is open.” These curtains are designed to be unobtrusive so that they don’t detract from the architectural flow of the building or room. At the same time, models in this category deliver the same functional needs of other air curtains, including temperature control, dust and insect control, and more. Models in this category include the Architectural Low Profile 8, and the Architectural Recessed 12 or 16.
Commercial: Air curtains in the “Commercial” range are intended for business spaces and used for creature comfort, temperature control, energy savings, and more. Businesses shopping in this category will typically have less concern for aesthetics than those who would explore the Architectural range. Commercial models include the Commercial Low Profile 8, the Commercial High Performance 10, and the Drive-Thru Unit 3.
Sanitation Certified: These air curtains, certified by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) are intended for restaurants or commercial kitchens. They are incredibly successful with flying insect control. Models include the Sanitation Certified High Performance 7 and the Sanitation Certified Low Profile 7.
Industrial: These air doors are meant for warehouses, distribution centers, and production or manufacturing facilities. They are useful for blocking out flying insects and debris and for maintaining stable interior temperature—all while exterior doors are open. Models include the Industrial Direct Drive, Belt Drive, and Fly Stop ranges.
- Hazardous Location: These air curtains are specially designed for facilities with hazardous conditions, including pharmaceutical plants and other perilous manufacturing plants. Models in this range are part of Berner’s Hazardous Location Series.
Berner is best-known for its wide range of air curtains—and for helping push air door technology further into the public consciousness. However, in addition to air curtains and air doors, the company also manufactures a variety of other products, including fabric ducts, door heaters, and solutions for implementation in places or situations where air curtains are not feasible. For instance, Berner offers what it calls Arctic Seal Swinging Doors, which can be used for effectual temperature control on freezers or coolers when installing an air door would be difficult or cost prohibitive. These doors are self-closing and close quickly, minimizing the amount of time the freezer or cooler door is open.