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    Selecting the right automatic door for commercial applications

    Lucy Marrett

    Automatic doors are the simplest form of enabling entry and exit for commercial applications. Available in a wide range, with varying profiles and applications, automatic doors offer a multitude of benefits and features including climate control, energy efficiency and a practical management of foot traffic.

    Automatic door types and the selection process

    AUTOMATIC SLIDING DOORS

    Automatic Sliding doors are available in a range of options including single slide, bi-part slide and telescopic slide configurations that differ in suitability depending on the application. The slide door operators have been designed as suitable for all levels of duty including light usage though to heavy and frequent traffic. The convenience of sliding doors ensures that all able bodied pedestrians are able to move in and out of a building with minimal effort and ease.

    Many automatic slide doors are operated and activated through hands-free sensors but some products that are used less frequently will require a button to be pressed before the door automatically opens for the user. Barrier free, automatic sliding doors offer an unencumbered passage through the doors.

    Sliding doors are a very efficient way to manage traffic flow and are ideal for controlling directional traffic in both entry and exit doors. They are also useful as climate control, as there is no danger of them being left open by accident thus ensuring that inside and outside temperatures have no effect on each other.

    AUTOMATIC SWING DOORS

    Automatic Swing doors are designed to be used for either single, paired or double egress applications. The swing doors can generally be supplied as either a complete package including the door, or just the operator with the header and drive arm. Automatic swing doors offer effortless entry and exit with seamless operation.

    Automatic Swing doors are most suited to one way traffic. Typically one is used for entry and another, separate door used for exits. They are not recommended for two-way traffic however depending on the application exceptions can be made provided the application has been well planned out.

    AUTOMATIC REVOLVING DOORS

    Automatic Revolving doors are typically offered in a winged design; two, three and four wing options. The doors are manufactured as complete packages and can either be centre or perimeter driven. Smaller diameter door systems are typically offered in a security version for controlled access with integral night shields so as to protect the door when it is closed and locked.

    These doors are ideal for high-traffic applications that require simultaneous entry and exit as well as controlled access. They can also be used as an air lock to help manage energy expenses.

    AUTOMATIC FOLDING DOORS

    Automatic Folding doors are offered in both single or bi-fold options and come as a complete package. When the automation is activated the door panels fold simultaneously and swivel to the sides. This creates a smooth transition between the opening and closing processes.

    Folding doors are considered a space saving solution as the doors move from being open, to a compact folded solution creating more room for pedestrians to pass through. Single folding doors are best suited to one-way and directional traffic.

    Specific applications for automatic doors include the following:

    • Security access
    • Monitored/ limited access
    • Climate control
    • Revolving doors for constant and seamless traffic
    • Management of traffic flow
    • Disabled bathrooms and ambulant accessible requirements

     HIGH ENERGY VERSUS LOW ENERGY AUTOMATIC DOORS

    Depending on the primary application, the automatic doors will use either low energy or high energy power operators. The main differences between these two power operators include opening speed, force and safety device requirements.

    LOW ENERGY

    Low energy devices are those which operate on demand through the use of a pushed button or sensor. These doors are designed to enhance accessibility, but do so at a slower operating pace with minimal force and do not require safety devices. There are a string of benefits to low energy automatic doors including costing less money than high energy doors and being easy to maintain.

    Another important factor for low energy automatic doors is the speed at which they open. A slow opening door will allow for a simpler passage for pedestrians passing through. People who have walking aids or disabilities are able to position themselves in the correct place as the doors are opening. And similarly there is no need to rush through the doors once opened, as they provide an adequate time from for pedestrians to pass through them before slowly closing again.

    Other benefits include:

    • Smaller in size and are installed on a typical frame
    • Simple installation process
    • No maintenance required
    • Suitable for existing doorways as well as new
    • Can operate as a standard door in the event of power failure

    HIGH ENERGY

    High energy automatic doors operate quickly and are more effective for large crowds and the continuous movement of pedestrians. Due their quick and continuous movements, safety devices are required along with the installation of high energy automatic doors. There are shorter time delays and higher traffic requirements associated with the high energy doors. Due to this they require safety devices including guardrails and sensors.

    The benefits of high energy include:

    • High speed and uninterrupted passage
    • Suitable for able-bodied users
    • High frequency
    • Able to be applied to all automatic door applications 

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