The ABCs of Automatic Doors

Automatic doors are such a common sight in modern society that we take their existence for granted, like much of modern technology. Can you imagine a world without automatic doors? Whether leaving a supermarket with your arms full of bags or entering a hospital without making contact with door handles, automatic doors provide an invaluable service in many different aspects of our lives. Not just for customers, either! Business owners and staff benefit from automatic doors by freeing up staff time that may be otherwise spent helping customers exit the business or regularly closing the door to keep the wind out. Minimising the amount of time the door spends open also helps boost energy efficiency, keep heat inside, and lower energy bills.

How Do Automatic Doors Work?

All automatic doors work via some kind of input sensor. Rarely, under-floor pressure sensors can be used to detect the weight of a person approaching the door, which then triggers the door to open. But this method is less efficient than the more common one, optical movement sensors. The vast majority of modern automatic doors utilise infrared light in their optical sensor, which takes in a constant image of the light around it. When that image changes because of movement, the sensor will signal the door to open. No matter what type of sensor is attached to the door, it will send an instant signal to a small microchip inside the door’s mechanism, which will in turn prompt the electric motor to kick in, opening the door.

Different Types of Automatic Doors

Sliding doors The classic. Sliding doors are excellent for two-way traffic as they can be fit into a wide doorway, though additional space is required either side to allow the door to slide out of the way. Sliding automatic doors can be fitted on floor tracks or overhead rails. Swinging doors Swinging doors are a better option for one-way traffic, as they swing in a 90o angle and ideally you want this to be away from the flow of traffic. But, if a sensor can reach far enough, it can still open towards the flow. Folding doors Folding automatic doors are best for restricted space like narrow corridors. These doors fold back in on themselves to save space and reduce area that needs to be clear before the door can open. Revolving doors Often seen on huge office blocks and shopping malls, revolving doors are perfect for ultra-high foot traffic areas. Revolving automatic doors rotate constantly, allowing people to freely enter and exit each end.

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