The Advantages of Door Operators

July 3, 2017
Designing auxiliary sensors around a low energy operator is a great way to provide a custom-designed system for your customer.

Door operators are one of the more interesting architectural hardware items for the locksmith to install and service. There are three types of swing door operator: low energy and high energy and power-assisted operators.

High energy swing door operators are the type used in commercial applications such as entry and egress from supermarkets. These operators require auxiliary sensors, since they have the power and move the door fast enough to possibly cause personal injury to pedestrians, especially the very young and the elderly or disabled. High energy operators also frequently require guard rails and presence sensors.

Low energy swing door operators are the usual retrofit sale for the locksmith. They are self-contained and designed to be installed without auxiliary sensors or safety equipment, although I often do.

This is because although the low energy operator has integral sensors and is designed to stop when the door encounters an obstacle while swinging, after you have spent enough time in the field, you realize that some individuals do not have to actually come into contact with a door for an injury to occur. Designing auxiliary sensors around a low energy operator is a great way to provide a custom-designed system for your customer.

Low energy operators require switches that pedestrians press to actuate the operator, perform a “knowing act.” A large selection of sensors and actuators is available to the installer.

The standard to which door operators are manufactured, installed and adjusted is covered by ANSI/BHMA A156.19 – Power Assist & Low Energy Power Operated Doors. ANSI/BHMA A156.10 – Standard for Power Operated Pedestrian Doors applies to full power operators.

The national trade association of door operators is the AAADM; the American Association of Automatic Door Manufacturers. Among the services and resources they provide are training to certify installers; providing information to end-users and architects, and an inspection checklist that can be used as a benchmark to determine that a door operator has been properly installed or that the door operator is in proper working order. They also have a listing of certified dealers and inspectors on their website for individuals looking for qualified professionals to supply or install door operators. I have been AAADM certified for several years.

The following is a representative selection of door operators for your review. We are planning a detailed article on installing a door operator in an upcoming issue.

SDC Auto EntryControlTM

SDC’s new Auto EntryControl™ Low Energy Swing Door Operator provides hands-free, low-power point of entry door control to help meet all US and Canadian ADA requirements for door installations in retail storefronts, office buildings, campuses and healthcare facilities. The state-of-the-art microprocessor-based unit is self-tuning and self-learning while offering non-handed operation, full mechanical stops and a variety of interface options for sensors, push-plates, fire alarms and electrified locks.

Auto EntryControl’s™ non-pivot drive and combination of belt, gear and pulley requires less torque, requires less power, absorbs more abuse, and is quieter than other automatic door openers. On-board diagnostics simplifies troubleshooting for ease of installation and all Auto EntryControl’s™ can be easily configured for surface mounted push/pull or overhead concealed applications.

  • ADA Compliant
  • Complies with ANSI A 156.19
  • UL - Certifed for use as fire door operators (3 hour rating)
  • Self-Tuning, Self-Learning
  • Minimum 5 seconds from close to open
  • Stays open for 5 seconds
  • Force: 15 lbs -6.8 kg
  • Push or Pull (In door, Out swing) 
  • Activation: Knowing Act
  • Optional Safety Device
  • Power: 1A, 100W
  • Non-Handed
  • Extremely Quiet Operation

 Find out more at:

Norton 6300

Norton Door Controls has introduced the 6300 Low Energy Door Operator, designed with a broad feature set to safely secure a large variety of moderate to high traffic openings. Installers and integrators will benefit from the 6300 Series’ more simplified installation and setup functions, in addition to its slim profile, able to fit more challenging applications with minimal header space.

Featuring a modular, four-piece design with a heavy-duty backplate that doubles as a template, the 6300 allows for an easy, one-person installation. In addition to uncomplicated, straightforward controls, programming and setup have been further simplified by the operator’s ability to actually learn door properties (including approximate weight) during installation. Software updates are also an easy task with an onboard USB port.

The 6300 Series meets ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements and is the ideal low energy solution for doors that must be capable of opening via wall switches or sensors to ensure accessibility by all occupants. Made for moderate and high traffic openings, it is well suited for use on interior or exterior doors in hospitals, educational facilities, office buildings and other commercial applications. 

The Norton 6300 offers a large set of intelligent features to meet the specific needs of each facility for enhanced safety and security. Programmable functions, such as latch boost, obstruction detection, power assist, and push and go allow this operator to ensure doors close and latch for security and energy efficiency while making doors easier and safer to operate. Inputs for security override and fire safety are also available.

More Info:

Norton 5800 Series ADAEZ PRO

The Norton 5800 Series ADAEZ PRO is a compact electromechanical door operator that is simple to install and use. This heavy-duty, low energy operator is intended for high traffic manual opening applications that occasionally require automatic operation like retail outlets, banks, schools or universities.

A Regenerative Power System charges an onboard battery pack that eliminates the need to run electrical wire to the unit. When used in automatic mode 25 percent of the time or less, the 5800 Series ADAEZ PRO will self-generate enough power to charge the battery pack for up to 12 years. Available for push or pull side mounting, this robust, non-handed operator ships standard with two wireless RF push buttons.

Additional features include:

  • Non-handed
  • 95 degree opening
  • Push or pull side mounting
  • RF Radio Frequency stainless steel push buttons
  • Integral RF receiver
  • Dynamic braking module
  • Electronic backcheck brake
  • Shock absorbing arm
  • Black cover (standard); aluminum cover (optional)
  • Brushless DC motor/gearbox – 10 million activation cycle life
  • 24 VDC input port
  • Auxiliary activation input port
  • Battery charge indicator
  • Integral ON / OFF selector switch

Maximum door width - 48"

Maximum door weight - 250 lbs

A Wireless Interface Module enables all versions of new and installed 5800 Series ADAEZ® Low Energy Door Operators to wirelessly integrate with a variety of devices and systems to control locks and doors.

The new module is designed to wirelessly interface 5800 Series operators to: wired or wireless push buttons, wireless remote, electric lock, fire alarm panels, access control systems, or an outside push button disable contact. The module fits easily inside a power supply cabinet using the supplied plastic mounting plate and fasteners.

Hager Door Operators

Low energy power operators, such as Hager’s 8200 and 8400 series, are designed to enhance accessibility for pedestrian use.  Both the 8400 and 8200 meet ANSI A156.19.

The 8400 Low Energy Power Operator is quiet when in operation which eliminates noise in sensitive areas, making it ideal for hospitals, libraries, senior care centers and universities. Other key features of the 8400 series include built-in adjustable door stop for protection against wind or abusive environments, obstacle recognition upon opening and closing, interfaces with electric door hardware, UL Listed for up to 3 hours, blow open function for smoke ventilation, and operates as a manual closer if power is disconnected.

Hager’s 8200 Series Economy Low Energy Power Operator is an economical solution for openings that require ADA compliance. Other features include self-learning microprocessor controller with on-board digital programming that provides flexibility during the system configuration, UL listed for interior and exterior doors up to 48” wide x 275 lbs. and operators as a manual closer with or without power.

Touchless actuators provide an immediate benefit to facilities that wish to minimize the spread of germs and bacteria such as medical facilities, assisted living facilities and schools. The activation range can be adjusted up to 4” and is NEMA rated for outdoor installation and includes a light blue illuminated border for easy visual recognition. Touchless actuators also provides anyone using mobility aids such as walkers and canes more stability by allowing them to keep their hands where needed.

More Info:

Ditec HA8-LP from Entrematic USA

The Ditec HA8-LP Low Profile - Low Energy Operator allows barrier-free access, providing customer convenience and meeting the requirements of persons with disabilities. It's an ideal choice for new and existing buildings, permitting easy access to commercial, industrial, and institutional locations. This door is the same as the regular HA8 swinger but comes in a smaller size for those hard accessible places to install or for the “less package” look.

The HA8-LP Operator is a complete swinging door solution for push, pull, surface applied installations. The header contains the Driving system (Motor), Torque production (Gearbox), and a Control system to interlink the two.  It can be combined with the full range of safety units, such as presence and motion sensors. It is easy to install for both new construction and retrofit applications.

Features include:

  • Heavy Duty Commercial Construction
  • High precision gears made for sustained long-term use
  • Electro Mechanical Design – for simple dependable operation
  • Permanent lubrication – maintenance free
  • Cast Alloy Gear Box
  • 1/8th HP motor
  • Digital Control Board
  • On-board programming
  • Built in strike/mag lock relay – fail safe or fail secure
  • Separate inputs for activation and safety devices
  • Plug-n-Play design for fast trouble free installation
  • Compatible with all safety and activation devices
  • Integrates with building access & security systems

More Info:

dormakaba ED900

With an innovative electromechanical drive and microprocessor motion control system, dormakaba’s ED900 is an advanced low-energy swing door power operator that is exceptionally quiet, safe, and easy to use. When operated manually, the ED900 demands little physical effort, while advanced power assist through the entire opening cycle makes even the heaviest-rated door feel light.

The ED900 is fully ADA compliant – helpful for children, the elderly, persons with disabilities, or those carrying or pushing objects. The operator is exceptionally quiet, safe, and easy to use. Doors open at precisely controlled speeds and forces, assuring safety for all users.

The ED900 features a contour design for a highly aesthetic look especially when used with the TS93 family of closers.


  • ANSI/BHMA 156.19 - Power Assist and Low Energy Power Operated Doors.
  • UL and CUL listed for fire door operators with automatic closers.
  • ICC/ANSI A117.1 Accessible and Usable buildings and facilities.
  • Underwriters Laboratories: ANSI/UL 325 Door, Drapery, Gate, Louver, and Window Operators and Systems.
  • California State Fire Marshall (CSFM) approved.

More Info:

LCN Auto Operators

LCN automatic operator solutions meet a full range of ADA accessibility and door control needs, without sacrificing concerns related to abuse, design, fire and life safety and security.

The low energy electrohydraulic and pneumatic automatic operators consist of a heavy duty LCN door closer and peripheral actuators. These systems are designed for primarily manual opening applications. Pneumatic powered auto operators use the power of compressed air to power the operator, making them quieter compared to electric counterparts that use motors and gearboxes.

LCN’s electromechanical automatic operators are designed for durability and extended performance when used in primarily automatic applications. These systems utilize a motor gearbox and control box to perform the opening and closing function.

These systems are designed to be easily retrofitted into existing doors and frames as well as new construction.

Common system features:

  • Modular design simplifies installation and maintenance.
  • No guide rails or safety devices required due to low energy design.
  • Adjustable opening and closing force.
  • 4630 and 4810 operators meet ADA reduced manual opening force requirements.
  • Electrohydraulic and pneumatic systems feature adjustable backcheck that slows opening swing at about 70°.
  • Electromechanical systems feature electronic backcheck that slows opening swing at about 70°.
  • Systems allow for separate adjustment of general closing and latch speed.
  • UL & NEC compliant.
  • Capable of full integration with high security keypads and card readers.
  • Wiring allows for sequential operation for vestibule applications.
  • Electromechanical systems require additional components.

More Info:

About the Author

Tim O'Leary

Tim O'Leary is a security consultant, trainer and technician who has also been writing articles on all areas of locksmithing & physical security for many years.