Automatic Door Operators Simplified
Automatic operators are mainly used at accessible openings where assistance in opening the door is needed. Auto operators are ideal for meeting the needs of accessible openings especially at exterior entrance doors. There are two main types of auto operators and they can come with many options to help control the opening.
Two Types of Auto Operators
Automatic door openers come in two forms and the application will determine which option is better suited for the opening. They are electro-mechanical and electro-hydraulic. The main difference to consider when determining which operator you need is how often the opening will be used as an automatic opening.
Electro-mechanical operators are used if the opening is going to be primarily automatic. This means the opening will be automatically opened most of the time it is used. The mechanism inside uses a mechanical motor to open and close the door. These are built to last through consistent automatic usage.
Electro-hydraulic operators are primarily manual. This means the opening will be manually opened most of the time it is used. The mechanism inside uses a mechanical motor to open the door but uses a hydraulic closer to close the door. So it functions as a closer a majority of the time but when necessary it can be automatically opened.
Actuators for Auto Operators
In order for the operators to function properly and open the door automatically, it must receive an electric signal. This signal is sent by way of an actuator. Actuators come in two basic types as well. The difference between these two types of actuators has to do with how the signal is sent to the auto operator.
For most auto operators the actuator will be a push button or credential that the user knowingly activates. These can be hardwired to the operator or some can be setup to send a wireless signal. These actuators come in a wide variety of shapes and types.
Some auto operators will be receive a signal that the user unknowingly activates. These actuators are typically motion sensors that are mounted above the door that track a persons movement within a certain area that the sensor is constantly scanning. Motion sensor actuators will also require safety sensors on or around the door that will monitor for other movement to ensure someone does not get injured by the swing of the door. If the safety sensors pick up movement in the area they are scanning, the auto operator will stop and reverse course so that it does not harm someone in the doorway. Motion sensor actuators are programmable to meet the needs of the opening.
Compatible Door Hardware
Auto operators will only function if the other hardware is compatible with automatic opening. If there is a latch on the door, there must be a way for it to unlatch so that the door can be opened by the operator. This can be done by installing an electric strike that will release when signaled. Another option is to use an electric exit device that has an option for electric latch retraction. These may require additional preps and power transfers so that the opening has a complete working system.
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