Automatic Door Operators For Access Tutorial

Author: Brian Rhodes, Published on Sep 20, 2017

Opening and closing doors might sound simple, but it takes a high-tech piece of door hardware to pull it off. Integrating automatic door operators with access control can be tricky if the basic fundamentals of these devices are not understood.

In this note, we explain:

  • Door closers vs door operators
  • Sliders vs Swing Arm operators
  • Demo of operation
  • Low energy specification
  • Access control integration
  • Direct vs Indirect control
  • Controlling the button
  • Common vendors

Finally, we conclude with a 5 question quiz to test your knowledge.

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Comments (13)

Noting: "Unlike Door Closers whose job is solely closing doors". Might the circuitry be related/involved and be shown also?

Here's some contrast between 'closers' and 'operators' that might help:

All operators are closers, but closers are not operators. Closers cannot also open doors.

Closers are fairly common. Operators are not.

Closers are not big devices, with most running 18"X6"X6". Operators are very large, with some spanning the entire width of a door (48"+) and protruding 8" or more off the wall. They are often heavy, weighing 15 pounds or more - while closers weigh less than 5 pounds.

Closers are typically mechanical (hydraulic) dampened springs. Operators are electro-mechanical (circuit boards and linear actuators) devices.

Closers typically cost less than $500. Operators typically cost more than $500. ($2000 or more is common.)

Closers have setscrews for adjusting timing. Operators have dip switches, onboard programmers, or even serial connected software clients for adjustment. (They are programmed.)

Does that help?

Thanks Brian for for the explain. My apologies. I did not draw a better picture as I saw it from my readings of the article.

The reference link includes:

"Fire Protection: With so much emphasis on 'positive latching' of locks to keep firedoors closed, closing the fire door first is a huge factor in enabling the firewall to do it's job. AHJ approved Fire Door closers are used that automatically shut open fire doors during an emergency."

With mention of electrical devices/connections(?) controlled by FIRE ALARM activation so that doors do not remain open. Begs the question in my mind; "Might the circuitry (in the schematic) be related/involved and be shown also (that could alter/negate a fire code requirement)?"

The logic is to not allow the fire coded door to stay open once the fire alarm is activated. So any/all circuitry to manage that door should reflect/show it. Thus avoiding any potential conflict.

In general, operators and closers are used to satisfy fire code, not to be a barrier.

Both devices keep doors closed by default:

Closers are not connected to fire alarm loops (Although hold open devices might be.)

Openers might be connected to fire alarms, but whether or not this is required by code depends on which building occupancy type the operator is used on and how long the door is programmed to stay open during a normal cycle. The AHJ in the area will know.

Does that make sense?

Regarding the sliding variety, most automatic sliding doors come standard with
a feature that allows the sliding door to swing when pushed out in emergencies. This is sometimes known as the "breakout" feature. As Brian said, such doors are typically found in retail environments -- typically as a main entrance/exit.

Thought everyone should be aware of this, since they may have to be careful not to interfere with the "breakout" operation of such doors should any additional electric locks be added in the course of installing access control. Doing so could violate local codes.

When interfacing an automatic door opener to an access control system, you may also need to make a connection to the access system's "request-to-exit" input. Otherwise, you may get false alarms when the user pushes the button or trips the motion detector to exit.

I discuss this issue in my article Solving the False Door-Forced-Open Alarm Problem

[Mod note: Poster is from Hartmann]

Hartmann Controls Corp Protector.Net access control system has full operator integration built into the above the door POE access controller allowing the Operator Buttons to be tied directly to the access system, the access controller then provides a programmable delay output to operator to eliminate binding etc.

Its a very clean and simple installation. Also of course credentials can be programmed to unlock and activate the actuator based on rules.

See Page 310

How does this controller specifically relate to door operators? Most, if not every, controller can integrate with door operators via I/O contacts, as mentioned in the post.

One handy piece of equipment to have for integrating into older operators especially is a universal time delay module for the unlocking of the locking hardware and the opener itself.

http://mssedco.com/door_products/tdm-universal-time-delay-module/

I believe this is what the poster from Hartmann above was suggesting is part of the controller design, but I am unsure.

Basically a modern POE design of the part i suggested. All depends on the situation at hand. I will have to take a better look into that. I know some access control systems have this feature now built into their software as far as the aux relay being able to be set to a delay.

Brian here is a brief on our Auto Operator integration to the access controller.

http://hartmann-controls.com/Downloads/RequestFile/Public/Literature/ProtectorNet/PROTECTORNetAutoOperatorIntegration.pdf

Please note we are not using a rex input to accomplish this task but rather a designated auto operator input.

Brain your contrast between Operators and Closer is very exciting. I have been wondering how I could integrate the fire Alarm system with access control system in order to automatically open fire exit doors in an in event that the fire alarm has been triggered.

After reading your explanation, I feel confident that indeed "All operators are closers, but closers are not operators and cannot open doors".

I therefore, want to believe that the best device for integrating access control and fire exit doors is the operator.

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