Automatic doors: available systems and how to optimize them

Automatic doors are becoming increasingly widespread in factories, stores and even private homes. Despite standing out due advantages such as their ease of use and safety, they also require very specific maintenance and it is not uncommon for them to break down.

In the following article we will analyze the different types of automatic doors on the market, their characteristics and how they can be optimized to prevent failures.

Types of automatic doors and their operating mechanisms

The different models of automatic doors relate to the speed reducer that they use and their adequate installation for their correct operation. These are the different types of automatic doors in existence:

Sliding doors

Sliding doors operate through the use of worm drives. Their design is simple and functional, since for transmission they only use a crown wheel engaged with a worm screw, which moves the teeth and reduces the transmission speed. These speed reducers move in a straight line, which means that the transmission can work at a 90° angle.

The worm drive is installed at the top of the door and, through a system of pulleys and belts, transmits its motion to attain a linear displacement.

Access gates

Access gates are another type of automatic door that uses the same worm drive system for its operation. The speed reducer is placed at the bottom of the gates and generates the motion through a pinion on the motor and a toothed rack. In this way, the gate moves in a straight line.

Sectional garage door

A sectional garage door is based on a linear speed reducer – a device that is designed to convert the rotational motion of a low-voltage direct current motor into a linear motion. In this way, this type of automatic door can be raised, adjusted or tilted by just pressing a button. 

One of its great advantages is that it requires less space than other systems to be installed. In this case, it is the linear speed reducer the one that closes and opens the swing door.

Store and supermarket access doors

These doors are operated via a planetary speed reducer, whose components are a central gear that engages with a carrier, and a crown gear or ring gear thanks to which the central axis of the system can become the center of rotation for the ring. This makes it easy to switch directions.

The planetary speed reducer that is installed for store and supermarket doors is hidden in the tube that anchors the door to the floor, which is aesthetically pleasing. In these doors, the motion of the gear motor moves the door.

You might be interested in: Automatic doors: speed reducers for motion control and precision

How to extend the service life of automatic door mechanisms

The most common failures in automatic doors are:

  • Noises
  • Vibrations
  • Burned motors
  • Broken gears due to blockages

In order to reduce these failures in an automatic door and extend the service life of its components, it is important to perform a detailed study of the duty cycle, torque and speed that are required for its correct operation.

In addition, the use of control electronics with ramp-up and ramp-down times puts less strain on the mechanism by restricting the voltage / electric power at the beginning and end of the motion. During start-up, a greater torque is required, since the starting state is static.

Another solution that is usually adopted the guarantee the continued operation of the system is the overcurrent cutoff relay, which is triggered when the system detects a peak in consumption during a specific time. By disconnecting from the power source, it prevents the motor from getting burned in case of failure.

Likewise, the use of brushless motors in heavy duty doors is also important, since as their name implies, they don’t use brushes, which provides them with a longer service life.

Noise in automatic doors and how to prevent it

Man installations that use this type of door have significant problems related to noise and vibrations in the surroundings. The cause is directly linked to the type of motor in use, the materials of the kinematic chain and the handling of vibrations that are transmitted from the mechanism to the housing.

In order to prevent these failures, the use of brushless motors in interiors is essential to reduce vibrations. In addition, we must not forget that these motors have a much longer service life, which is an added value when considering their installation.

Furthermore, the use of plastic gears in the kinematic chain also prevents sliding in meshing metals, which generates excess noise and vibrations. One must keep in mind that plastic absorbs vibrations caused by the speed of the system’s operation.

Another good option is the use of helical gears, which generate less vibrations and slack due to the overlap ratio of the upper tooth. Likewise, the use of metal chains in the transmission generates more vibrations, which can be increased by their tightness during operation.

Lastly, it is necessary to keep in mind the need to reinforce the anchoring base through the use of bushings installed between it and the speed reducer. These elastic polymer seals absorb the vibrations that may take place at the points of contact between the various mechanical components.

Free download: Guide to preventing unpleasant noises and vibrations in your speed reducers

How CLR can help you improve the performance of your automatic doors

At CLR we are experts in the development of custom-made, personalized components for automatic doors that adapt to the needs of our clients and are the result of the hard work of our engineering departments.

We have completed major projects in this field. One such project involved a client that manufactures automatic door operators, automation systems, motors and accessories for automatic doors, who needed to improve the quality of its automatic doors, and make them more silent.

At CLR we manufactured a speed reducer that could be attached to different motors and output shafts, which was also silent and offered a long service life. Thanks to this, the client managed to optimize its systems with a product that fit its specific needs. You can read the complete success story here.

For more information about our automatic door solutions, contact us.

Electric motor for small drives

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