Selecting An Automatic Swing Door Operator
There are two types of automatic swing door operators, "Low Energy" and "Full Energy;" and when selecting an operator for an application, you should understand the difference between the two.
Although correct, it is an oversimplification to say that the Low Energy operator swings more slowly than the Full Energy type. A comprehensive comparison is more complex. Each type of operator is strictly defined and specified, and there is no middle ground.
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Detex Low Energy Automatic Operators
Low Energy operators are designed to function in a manner that complies with ANSI 156.19, the standard that defines compliance of operators with the requirements of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). This ANSI Standard specifies, among other criteria, the speed and force with which a door leaf can travel.
Also included in the standard are rules for mode of activation and signage, as well as the placement of these items. A typical Low Energy operator location would be one door of a bank of doors entering a shopping mall or a large public building. Other locations would include ADA-designed entrances to libraries, museums, schools, hospitals, courthouses and similar facilities.
Full Energy operators are designed to open and close faster and with more force than Low Energy devices. Full Energy operators are governed by ANSI 156.10, which - like ANSI 156.19 - specifies the speed and force of door-leaf travel and gives rules for mode of activation and signage and their placement; but it also includes the additional elements of safety sensors and rails. Full Energy operators are most commonly seen in grocery stores.
One of the most notable differences between the two types of operators is the "mode of activation." A Low Energy operator must be activated by a "Knowing Act." What this means is that the user must make a conscious effort to cause activation and set the door in motion. This is typically accomplished by use of a push button or card reader located near the door.
A Full Energy operator is activated by a "Motion Sensor." These sensors are usually mounted above the approach side of the doorway and will be activated by any motion within the scanning area.
Low Energy operators can be used on doorways with two-way traffic. They operate at slower speeds and with less force in the event they come in contact with a person; hence, they are not required to have safety devices.
Full Energy operators open and close at higher speeds and with more force, and they can easily injure a person. Consequently, they are required to have safety sensors and guard rails protecting the swing path of the door leaf. This makes it difficult to accommodate two-way traffic in a Full Energy application.
Being educated on the proper use and installation of any type of automated door system is highly recommended, because knowledge is power. Most end users don't know why you can't just put a sensor on a door. It is important that you can explain and show them the reasons.
Did You Know?
To become more familiar with Low Energy Operators, you are invited to attend one of the many training events offered by Detex. Check our website for dates and locations. To become an installer who is certified by AAADM (American Association of Automatic Door Manufacturers), visit
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Detex Corporation - New Braunfels, TX - November 2, 2017 - 8am-5pm
IMLSS Nevada - Las Vegas, NV - November 7-8, 2017 - TBD