AUTOMODE - Open and shut case

Automatic doors make handling the footfall far easier than having a doorman open the door. For hospitals, the hygiene factor, as there is no touch and thereby no risk of contamination and spread of disease, plays a huge role in getting automatic doors ins

Open them. Shut them. Open them. Shut them. If you’ve ever seen a science fiction movie, even from 60 years back, doors that open and shut automatically are a definite presence. Of course, automatic doors are no longer a figment of imagination. Metro carriages, shopping malls, airports, hospitals, offices – they are everywhere. And we don’t even give a second thought to their presence.

A report on the global automatic door market by Infiniti Research Limited suggests that this market is poised to grow at a CAGR of 5.71% during the period of 2016-2020. Reasons for the growth are quite varied actually. The number of hotels and malls coming up all over definitely makes a contribution.Automatic doors make handling the footfall far easier than having a doorman open the door. For hospitals, the hygiene factor, as there is no touch and thereby no risk of contamination and spread of disease, plays a huge role in getting automatic doors installed, especially in critical care zones.

Automatic doors are not restricted to commercial and industrial use only. People are opting for them at home too, especially houses where there are old or handicapped residents. Not having to drop anything to open the door can be a great boon for someone just back from the hospital or a pregnant lady. Automatic doors make life much easier.

What can a fire alarm system in a smart home do? A smart fire alarm can unlock doors, call emergency services and light up a path to safety. It can even wake you up if you're sleeping.

So how do they open and shut automatically? Simply speaking, they use sensors. The rubber mat outside the mall could be a weight sensor that senses your presence and opens the door; there could be optic sensors on the outside of the door, hidden by a logo, which sense movement and open the door. The more advanced doors could use infrared technology that senses a change in temperature when a ‘warm’ human body approaches and opens the door.

Automatic doors have benefits beyond simple open and shut. In commercial areas where the air conditioner or heater (in winter) is on for long hours, they ensure that the door isn’t open too long, and the cold/warm air stays inside. While there are swinging and revolving ones too, the sliding doors are most popular as they save a lot of space. Most automatic doors are also very effective in blocking out external noise.

One issue that arises with automatic doors is what happens if the sensors trip for some reason, and you are stuck outside. Malfunctioning sensors could also mean one’s limbs getting trapped between doors which is a scary situation. To overcome these problems, most manufacturers install multiple sensors to detect if there is something between the doors. The future is after all going to be automatic open and shut.