Automatic doors have opened the door to great functionality, ease of use, and unparalleled convenience. In today's innovation-driven market, automatic doors are increasingly being adopted. In fact, according to research, the automatic doors global market is expected to reach USD 4953.8 million by the end of 2027.
Automatic doors are an integral part of our architectural fabric today, with data indicating that:
- Biggest market: In terms of usage, North America is the largest market of automatic doors, with a staggering 75% share
- Automatic door types: The most common type of automatic door in use is automatic revolving doors, with a share of about 56%
- Sector-diverse: Automatic doors are widely used in a variety of sectors such as healthcare, airports, hospitality, commercial buildings, education, multi-housing, data centers, utilities, and more; however, the most common use of automatic doors is in the retail sector with a share of 23%
Despite the widespread application, people are not well-versed with the use of automatic doors. In this article, we will explain all the important factors, tips, and tricks architects must make a note of when specifying automatic doors to their end customers. Let's get going.
So, What's the Role of Automatic Doors in Building Design?
A fair question. Automatic doors provide functional and user-centric benefits such as:
1. Sustainability: Automatic doors provide energy efficiency and sustainability benefits, making them a 'greener' choice. Additionally, using the right fit of an automatic door ensures that your door is properly installed and maintained. A well-serviced automatic door can have a lifespan of up to 20 years. This means more cost savings and a better return on investment.
2.Functional uses: Automatic doors are versatile elements. They can moderate traffic and regulate the climate zone (providing energy savings in the process) within the entrance area. They can also boost the space's aesthetic appeal.
3.User-friendliness and accessibility: Automatic doors enable convenient access for everyone, thanks to the seamless open-and-close functionality and barrier-free design. Plus, they allow for a seamless flow of traffic. In addition, they are secure, safe, and convenient to use, making them a hit among customers.
4.Versatility: Automatic doors differ in style and application. You can choose from diverse options such as automatic swing doors, automatic sliding doors, automatic revolving doors, ICU doors, and more.
The takeaway: Automatic doors can help create a positive first impression on the user.
Top 6 Tips to Remember When Specifying Automatic Doors
Tip #1: Get a Thorough Understanding of the Automatic Door Types Available
Every architect in their lifetime conceptualizes thousands of layouts and floorplans. This is why understanding the different door automation elements can help you make an informed decision. Remember that the kind of automatic door you'll use for a restaurant will differ from the one you might use for an airport or a retail store. To that end, the general components of an automatic door include:
- Activation device: There can be many detectors that may need to be fitted into an automatic door to boost user convenience. Here's how an activation device works: The device registers an open command. It then transfers the command to the drive control unit. Note that you can choose between manual detectors (think: touch pads, remote controls, switches, buttons, etc.) and automatic detectors (think: movement detectors, sensors, digital barriers, and more).
- Control unit: Think of this as the 'brain' of the entire system. It comprises of several elements such as timer switches, angles, hold-open time, opening speed setting, and safety technology like access controls, video monitoring, and more.
- Drive: The door drive is responsible for opening the door. It leverages a motor force to pull the door open and close it as well.
- Sensor strips: The sensor strips are present for promptly stopping revolving doors in case of a threat/accident involving a person or object.
Here's a quick run-through of the various automatic door types:
So,here's the first tip to remember when specifying automatic doors: Get a good understanding of the type of automatic door you want to use. Also, spend time learning about the associated standards and regulations as applicable.
Tip #2: Ease of Use +Standards Compliance = Robust Automatic Door
Every automatic door has its own personality. For example, revolving doors mandate a separate automatic pass door as they are not well-suited for wheel chair access. You can go for other viable alternatives, such as circular sliding doors, which lend a similar aesthetic look and feel and provide easy access. Also,make sure to install fire-safe doors, no matter the industry, sector, or vertical.
You should also ensure that the automatic door follows the necessary standards and codes based on your location. Some of the most common standards include:
- EN 16005, the European Standard for safety in the use of automatic doors for pedestrian use
- Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)
- Appropriate local building codes (think: International Building Code, for example)
- Local fire codes
- NFPA 101, National Fire Protection Association’s Life Safety Code
Tip #3: An Automatic Door Is Only as Good as It Is Practical
Every door offers unique practical, user-friendly features. For your convenience, we have curated a list of tried-and-tested automatic doors tips for specific use cases:
- Always use a draft lobby for externally facing sliding doors
- Use telescopic or bi-folding doors to increase the passage width in confined areas
- Instead of using swing doors, use sliding doors to maximize usable space
- Use revolving doors if you are looking to prevent the wind stack effect (which is nothing but the movement of large volumes of air due to temperature differences between the indoor and outdoor air)
- Factor in height and width door limitations, given the space available
- Think about where to automate to improve accessibility
Tip #4: Look for Sustainable, Aesthetically-Pleasing Automatic Door Options
With the advancements in technology, automatic doors have emerged as a unique combination of sustainability combined with aesthetics. For instance, automatic revolving doors with an electromagnetic direct drive motor can reduce energy consumption by over 60% and improve the door's lifecycle value. In addition to the sustainability capabilities, think about the door's aesthetics and finish. You can also consider the kind of frame you want to go for (for instance, fine frames or frameless).
Tip #5: Safety is a Key Component in Automatic Doors
Another critical element that requires your special attention is understanding the'safety' requirements of the door. These include:
- Considering the type of building and its users
- Ensuring that the doors open on fire alarm activation
- Ensuring that the door has a backup power supply (not applicable for swing /revolving doors)
- Understanding key factors such as the activation distances, side screens, and sensor usage
- Providing touch-free access and ensuring proper hygiene (such as infection control)
Tip #6: Automatic Door Must-Haves When Conceptualizing
Irrespective of the type of automatic door you choose, it should:
- Allow the traffic to approach the door in full view
- Enable users to walk directly toward the door
- Offer excellent door visibility to the pedestrians
- Allow users to see the door markings
- Allow people to observe the direction of door travel as clearly as possible
- Be positioned with no barriers or obstructions (think: vending machines, waste containers, etc.) within four feet of the door
The Bottom Line
Here's the long and short of it: When evaluating the most appropriate type of automatic door to use for a specific project, think beyond the door's aesthetic appeal. To wrap up, here's a handy checklist you can leverage when specifying automatic doors:
- What are your door's use cases and end goals? What's the profile of its users?
- Does the automatic door ensure ease of access and offer unparalleled convenience?
- How easy is it to use and, more importantly, maintain?
- How practical is it to use in terms of energy efficiency, security, and safety?
- What kind of hygiene and standards compliance measures does the automatic door follow?
- Is it the right fit in terms of aesthetics, and what kind of space do you have?
- What kind of traffic flow will the door be susceptible to?
Clearly, there's plenty to consider when it comes to automatic door installation. We can provide the support you need in terms ofaccessing tailor-made automatic doors and installing as well as maintaining them. Get in touch with our specification specialist, who will work with you to identify the right automatic door for your specific project. From requirements analysis and site visits to people flow evaluation and specifications/drawings, our experts provide a full suite of services. Withus as your trusted partner, select the right solution and make an entrance with the automatic door your customer needs.