A Brief Introduction to Automatic Swinging Doors

Jun 3, 2022 | Blog

When you picture yourself walking through an automatic door, what do you see? You probably see yourself walking up to a hotel, a hospital, or another commercial building. And then you might see the doors sliding open automatically, always remaining flush with the wall. Those are called automatic sliding doors. But there’s another type of automatic door that most people aren’t as familiar with—automatic swinging doors.        

What is an Automatic Swinging Door?

As we mentioned above, you’re probably more familiar with automatic sliding doors, which move parallel to the wall when they open and close. But automatic swinging doors hinge open, traveling at a 90-degree angle. Picture the movement of a manual door that you’d open yourself with a door knob, only these doors open automatically.       

How Do Automatic Swinging Doors Work?

You can really get into the nitty gritty with these things. But speaking broadly, an automatic swinging door has three key elements. First is the door, itself. Next is a mechanical arm (sometimes called a “drive arm”) that physically opens that door. And the third part is called the header, which houses the underlying technology. The header is the device that receives a signal and tells the mechanical arm when it’s time to open the door.  

What is a “Swing Operator?”

This is a technical term, and one we don’t need to spend too much time with. But it’s good for you to know the lingo in case you ever want to install these. To put it simply, the swing operator is the mechanism that takes a manual door and turns it into an automatic door. It usually refers to the combination of the header and its mechanical drive arm.

Are Automatic Doors More Hygienic Than Manual?

Yes, definitely. Automatic swinging doors are more hygienic because they open hands-free. As CBS News explains, “One germy doorknob can infect half of your office within hours.” Between Covid, bacteria, and other viruses, you can make a really strong case for touch-free entry.

Do These Doors Increase Accessibility?

Yes, absolutely. If you’re differently abled, elderly, or a parent with a stroller, automatic swinging doors can be an absolute gift. These doors can also help your staff, especially if you work in the medical field or hospitality. Automatic doors make it much easier to wheel a hospital bed or a room service cart through the hallway.     

Can You Make a Manual Door Automatic?

Yes. We can either install an automatic swinging door from scratch, or do a retrofit, where we take one of your existing manual doors and turn it into an automatic door. We do this by adding the swing operator.  

Can You Hide Some of the Moving Parts?

Yes. This is a great question and one that we get all the time. Do you remember that header we were just talking about? The thing that tells the drive arm when to “go?” We can mount that header on a surface, like a doorframe, which remains visible. Or we can hide it in the ground or in a recess overhead.   

Can I Use an Automatic Door as a Manual Door?

Yes, but if you want that capability, you need a specific type of automatic door. We install something called a “full-energy door,” which opens automatically every time it’s used. But we can also install something called a “low-energy automatic door,” which gives you the option to open it yourself if needed. 

Are These Doors “Worth It,” Financially?

Yes, they absolutely can be. The American Association of Automatic Door Manufacturers (AAADM) says 99% of people prefer automatic doors. And according to Magid Research, 64% of people say automatic doors influence whether they go to a restaurant. So, for some businesses, these doors make a lot of financial sense.

Do Automatic Doors Have Safety Features?

Absolutely. Every single one of our automatic swinging doors is installed with safety as our number-one priority. People often wonder if the door will close on someone who remains in the doorway. They also wonder if the door can pinch someone against the wall when it opens. But our doors are calibrated to protect against both of these scenarios. And as part of our ProActive Maintenance Program, we’ll regularly inspect the doors to make sure they continue sensing obstructions.     

Can Automatic Doors Help Restrict Access?

Yes. Automatic doors are great for enhancing your building’s security. We can set these up so visitors and staff have to swipe an ID badge to open the door. We can also set them up so they have to provide a fingerprint or other more advanced biometrics.   

Are you interested in learning more about our automatic swinging door options? Wondering if this is the right solution for your facility? Give us a call today—we’re always happy to discuss your unique needs.

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