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  Program 7

TSAE1HB - Technology and Specification of Automatic Operators

DHI CEP Program #10-1110



Part 1 - Types of Automatic Doors

Part 2 - AAADM Certification


<< Glossary of Terms >>


Part 1 - Types of Automatic Doors

Automatic doors are entrance systems designed for pedestrian traffic in mostly commercial building applications, include:

  • Sliding doors - single, bi-part and telescopic
  • Swinging doors - low energy or full pedestrian
  • Revolving doors - 2-, 3-, and 4-wing
  • Manual doors - ICU/CCU rooms
  • Bi-fold doors - 2- and 4-panel


Benefits and considerations

  • Aesthetically clean
  • Good for two-way traffic
  • Retrofit and new construction

Breakaway options

  • Full breakout
    • All doors break out when pushed
    • Provides expanded egress
    • Large opening to move large equipment
  • Fixed sidelite
    • Only active leafs break out
    • Provides additional support
    • Active leafs slide on exterior, can be a problem in snowy regions

Opening considerations

  • Single sliding doors - the walk through opening is offset
  • Bi-parts units - the walk through opening is centered

Surface applied applications are very popular in existing buildings. They can be installed to the walls, and in most situations, they can be easily installed to add a barrier. Not as aesthetically appealing as overhead concealed, they do allow for a much larger walk-through opening. And, they allow you to utilize wall space in lieu of sidelites. In comparison, concealed are most popular in new construction and remodelings.

  • Meets ANSI/BHMA A156.10

Specialty products

  • Limited sight line door panels
    • More aesthetic than standard sliders
    • Limited door stiles and rails protect glass edges
    • Visually enhanced sight area options
  • Access control sliders
    • Allows for security on sliding door applications
    • Integration with any access control device (key card, etc.)
    • Panic exit device interfaces (only available with full breakout)
    • Provides emergency egress
    • Electric carriage lock to prevent pulling panels apart
  • Telescopic sliding doors
    • Greater walk through opening in tight spaces
    • Allows almost 33% greater clear door opening
    • All panels breakout for emergency egress
    • Utilizes 3 panels for single slide, 6 for bi-parts
    • 2 active leafs slide
  • All glass
    • No vertical extrusion lines
    • High-end applications
    • Enhanced design
    • Fixed sidelite only
    • Better design statement with stainless steel or brass clad finish
    • Perfect for upscale environments - hotels, office buildings, residential, etc.
  • Hurricane resistant
    • Specially reinforced for hurricane winds
    • Comply with Dade County product approvals for design wind loads
    • Integrates special glass to inhibit projectile damage
    • Some packages require shuttering systems, some do not
    • Expanding outside Florida to other coastal communities

Proper vestibule design helps to maintain temperature control. The longer the vestibule the greater the chance the exterior door will close before the interior door opens.

  • Vestibules are often an issue - bigger is better
  • Recommendation: at least 12 feet between doors
    • Most designers only have room for 7 to 9 feet
  • The time a door stays open cannot be reduced due to ANSI/BHMA A156.10


Benefits and considerations

  • Used to direct people to a specific part of a facility
  • Helps with loss prevention
  • Used for both new construction and retrofit

Opening and closing considerations
Low energy power operator requirements only apply to swing door operators. The operator types are Power Assist and Low Energy operators for pedestrian use. The activation of all doors described in ANSI/BHMA A156.19 requires a "knowing act" switch activation. Provisions are provided in this standard to reduce chance of injury or entrapment without the use of guiderails, safety devices, etc. ANSI/BHMA A156.19 gives more detailed speed data incorporating door leaf width and weight with regards to speed requirements of opening and closing speeds.

High energy power operator requirements deal with higher speed, forces, shorter time delays, and activating sensing devices as described in ANSI/BHMA A156.10. High energy power operators require use of guiderails, safety devices, sensors, etc. ANSI/BHMA A156.10 gives more detailed speed data with regards to speed requirements of opening and closing speeds.

Swinging doors can be used in all types of applications, including:

  • Full pedestrian
    • ANSI/BHMA A156.10
    • Faster speeds
    • Safety devices needed
    • Guiderails required
  • Two-way traffic
    • Not recommended for swing doors
    • Extended sensor location
    • Increased length of guiderail
  • Low energy
    • ADA retrofit projects allow you to automate an existing manual door
    • Hard-wired or RF Push Plates are the common methods of acitivation
    • ANSI/BHMA A156.19
      • No sensors
      • Speeds are slowed down
      • No safety devices needed
      • Overhead presence sensors sometimes specified for additional protection

Activation and safety

  • Different activating devices may be used
  • Any momentary contact type switch will activate door
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
    • Entryways must be at least a 32 inch clear opening


Benefits and considerations

  • Great people mover
  • Energy efficient, natural elements can be controlled


  • Healthcare
  • Airports
  • Hotels
  • Corporate headquarters
  • Retail

Design flexibility
Many different features and configurations may be considered:

  • Wing design
  • Manual or automatic operation
  • Different finishes make this product versatile

Common wing designs

  • Narrow stile
  • Wide stile
  • "All glass" type wing
  • "Herculite" type wing

Security and power operated

  • 3-wing security door
  • 4-wing security door
  • 3-wing airport type, exit-only security door

2-wing revolvers

  • Multiple safety devices to slow or stop and restart door
  • Closed position eliminates need for night gates
  • Extremely energy efficient
  • Great high-traffic choice
  • 2,800 to 4,500 people/hour

2-wing applications

  • Wheelchair accessibility
  • No ventilation effect
  • Restricts elements
  • Straight line access
  • Large compartment space

Access control revolving doors

  • Perfect for office buildings, employee entrances
  • Integrates with a variety of card readers, optic scanners, etc.
  • Frees up security to focus on multiple duties

Emergency egress

  1. During normal operation, spring tension holds ball in socket maintaining proper wing configuration
  2. Panic pressure on wing compresses spring and releases ball
  3. Minimal pressure is required to continue bookfolding
  4. Wings bookfold either way, providing a clear passage on both side
  5. Release spring tension is adjustable

ANSI/BHMA A156.27 revolving door standard

  • Canopy sensors, 2 x 2 infra-red detectors
  • Disabled access push-buttons, inside and out
  • Contact safety strip, wing, vertical
  • Emergency Off push-button control
  • Infra-red safety sensor in the floor area
  • Motion detector
  • And more


  • Designed for intensive care rooms and critical care rooms in hospital settings
  • 2-, 3 - and 4-panel packages
  • Trackless assemblies available (breakout in full open position)
  • Telescopic configurations available
  • Emergency egress available


  • Large walk-through opening in tight spaces
  • Uses less floor space than a swing door
  • 2- and 4-panel packages
  • Excellent barrier in tight spaces
  • Emergency egress available
  • Follows ANSI/BHMA A156.10


Upon submission, results of your evaluation will be displayed with the correct answers shown in red.

  1. These type of automatic doors are aesthetically pleasing and better for two-way traffic:
    Manual doors.
    Swinging doors.
    Sliding doors.

  2. These type of doors can be used to help direct people to a particular part of the facility.
    Sliding doors.
    Swinging doors.
    Bi-fold doors.

  3. What are common wing designs used with revolving doors?
    Narrow stile.
    "Herculite" type wing.
    Wide stile.
    All of the above.

  4. These type of closers are more appropriate for intensive care rooms and critical care jobs in the hospital setting.
    Revolving doors.
    Manual doors.
    Swinging doors.

  5. The recommended distance of 12 feet is used with these designs to maintain temperature control.
    2-wing revolvers.
    Telescopic sliding doors.