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April 22, 2016 / For Architects, For Building Managers, Industry Insight
Selecting the right automatic door is only Phase One of a long-term deal. It’s tempting to simply accept a bid and move on to the next part of the process. But before you do, you’ll want to check that your salesperson has considered the specific needs of your building.
Many of the doors designed by American Association of Automatic Door Manufacturers members are constructed with aluminum and safety glass. But beneath the basic assembly, however, automatic doors vary widely.
The mechanical and electronic components spec’d out – as well as the door construction – are what separate a long-lasting door from a product that causes a headache.
1. Tie-Rod Construction
You’ll want a door with sturdy tie-rod construction. It delivers clamping force along entire length of the rail, whereas corner block construction offers a poor clamping effect on corners only. As a result of corner block construction, doors can rack and sag which creates uneven wear on guides, rollers, and tracks.
2. Steel Rollers
The plastic rollers with a brass bushing fail frequently – and are often not covered by a manufacturer’s warranty. Consider a steel roller with sealed bearing instead, particularly for a high-use application. The longevity of the steel roller will pay dividends.
3. Header & Operator
Double check the manufacturer’s spec sheets for caveats such as: “…for door packages greater than 12’ wide and 150 lb. door panels, internal header support structure required.” Even with internal header support – at an added cost – you may discover that doors rack and are noisy during operation.
You’ll want a high-quality header and operator that can support 650 lb (ea.) door panels. The door package will stay square, panels won’t rack, and you’ll have smooth operation.
4. Brushless Motor
Look for an automatic door with a brushless motor. It has no mechanical brushes to wear out, and therefore no sparking. The brushless motor is also easy to cool, and as such, has a longer life expectancy. It delivers precise control over motor speed, which makes doors stronger and safer.
A brush motor is problematic for a number of reasons. The brushes make/break connections that create sparking and noise, and are hard to cool – which can shorten the motor’s life. They’ll likely need frequent repair and can be unreliable. Brush motors also have less control over motor speed, and control is the key to safety for moving doors!