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Automatic doors

Automatic entrance doors are a common sight today but, when buying or specifying doors, numerous options need to be considered to ensure that final performance matches up to expectations. If the door is also a fire door then the provisions of BS 5588 (covering fire precautions in the design, construction and use of buildings) must also be met.

Sliding doors, such as Stanley Dura-Glide doors, are probably the most effective option in that they provide the most overall benefits. Users don't need to stand clear while the doors open or close regardless of the direction they approach the door. They are easiest for wheel chair users to operate and they can be made to fit almost any practical opening size. Provided the sensors are reliable and effective, they are most people's first choice. However, the one downside with sliding doors is that you need somewhere for them to slide and that space is not always available, particularly in retrofit projects.

If some space is available then telescoping doors can be used. Here the door is divided into smaller leaves that overlap each other as they slide. This means the overall width needed for the door is less than twice the size of the clear opening. But, if there just isn't any sliding space available then swinging or folding doors can be used. Swinging door operators can be set for either low or full energy operation and can be fitted to existing doors so a new door isn't always needed. Traffic flow will usually define the mode of operation. In low traffic areas swing doors can be set to be operated manually by most users with an automated option for disabled users activated either by a push button or a hand held fob. Full access control can also be installed with access by push button, swipe card, key code or proximity sensor. In all cases provision must be made to protect those in the swept area and the choice of correct safety device is vital.

This is less of a problem with low energy doors as their closing speeds are designed to keep the kinetic energy of the door below the safe maximum. In areas of high traffic flow full automation is more likely but this brings additional safety concerns. Microwave motion sensors designed to ease traffic flow need to be combined with "on door" infra red safety sensors that allow the operator to stop or reverse the door upon detection of an obstruction. A full hazard analysis and risk assessment needs to be undertaken.

One area easily overlooked is "What happens in the event of a power failure?" Will the door become manually operable? Will it stay open or, in the case of a fire door, will it not only close but also latch reliably?

Perhaps most critical of all, axis recommends that all installations comply with EN16005:2012 (formerly BS7036:1996) with regard to safety. axis employs ADSA Authorised Technicians (Automatic Door Suppliers' Association) for the specification, supply, installation and maintenance of automatic door operators as per the guidelines of EN16005 (formerly BS7036:1996 - Code of Practice for safety at powered doors for pedestrian use). This code of practice covers not just the aspects of safety during the opening and closing cycle but also during the installation of the door. It also defines the maximum forces needed to operate the doors manually or breakout during an emergency. It even covers items like signage and the need for an annual inspection.

All Axis installations are carried out by our trained EN16005 accredited engineers. The Automatic Door Suppliers Association (ADSA) has a code of practice that includes adherence to EN16005 and Axis Automatic Entrance Systems are active members.

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