Automatic Door Operators: The New Vertical Market

Feb. 2, 2018
Convenience and ADA compliance are among the advantages of selling and installing automatic door operators

As traditional markets shrink and disappear for locksmiths, other markets emerge where the demand, the technologies and the price points converge to make them viable pursuits.

Demand is strong for ‘handicapped accessible doors” as our population ages, and as litigations arising out of injuries occurring while entering and leaving buildings increase.

The potential dangers and inconvenience associated with dealing with entering and egressing buildings is apparent when you consider how many automatic doors you will typically encounter as compared to doors you are required to manually open.

Additionally, forward looking employers recognize the benefits of outfitting their doors for both employee and customer convenience.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) played an important role in making entrances more accommodating to individuals with handicaps, but in reality virtually every person may encounter a situation in their normal activities where conditions may limit or impair their ability to transgress an opening.

The technology has improved, making door operators a far more feasible proposition for a growing number applications.

Technology allows door operators to have integral features which make them code compliant and reliable for extended periods without servicing, without requiring special accommodations to provide operating power.

In some cases you may encounter a bid spec or a client who requests a particular brand or model or door operator, but generally, the bid will also have the words ‘or equivalent’ in the spec. If you are negotiating a project with a client who has expressed a preference of a particular manufacturer or model, you can put on the engineer’s hat, or your salesman’s hat, or your security consultant’s hat and have a discussion about the topic of door operators and your expertise in specifying and installing them.

There is a big selection of door operator systems available to installers.

Form factors: Different applications may call for different form factors; this determines how the operator looks. We will discuss the topic of DUTY CYCLE and how door operators are rated in the other door operator article in this issue.

Form factor can also include the size of the operator housing and the architectural finish of the device. Some operators have a more industrial or decorator look than others. Knowledge of products on the market will best equip the locksmith to accommodate the client’s wishes.

Features: Door operators may differ with respect to their interface capabilities, their power requirements, and how they are actually designed. Some door operators are literally hydraulic door closers with a motor, so they can control the door whether or not the door operator feature is used by the individual. Others use springs and motors.

These design details affect how well an operator can control the door, how reliable it will be and if it is suitable for heavy traffic or only occasional use.

Some installers who are aware of these differences base their product offerings accordingly.

Brand recognition: If you are out there doing a great job and treating your clients fairly, you might expect some positive benefits from brand recognition.

Many vendors have been on the market for a long time and have earned the respect and loyalty from their end-users and dealers, the same way that you might display a logo for a brand of locks and keys because of the respect and trust it garners from potential customers.

Some corporations have maintained the values that established them as a trusted brand while others have not. Experienced locksmiths know who they can trust, or know who to ask in order to find out.

Price point: Many companies offer products at different price points so they can be competitive in different markets. We hate it when customers make decisions purely on the price of the item, but competent sales engineering will match a job with an acceptable cost to the client without making it a low ball competition or jeopardizing his company’s hard earned reputation by selling a bad product or turning out a non-craftsmanlike installation.

We suggest you visit the website, American Association of Automatic Door Manufacturers which is one of the industry’s best resources for end-users, architects and installers to obtain information on all things relating to automatic door operators including marketing ideas and a certification program for installers.

Below are some of the products available to the locksmith market.

Ditec HA8-LP 

Entrematic is an international company which delivers entrance automation through distributors and installers in 80 countries worldwide and has a strong presence in the U.S.A. and Canadian markets.

Entrematic North America is a complete business partner in entrance automation, combining long-established brands Amarr, Kelley, Serco, Dynaco and Ditec. Their comprehensive offer includes commercial sectional doors, loading dock equipment, HVLS warehouse fans, high-performance doors, residential garage doors, and pedestrian door automation and operators.

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 is suitable for new and existing installations, permitting easy access to commercial, industrial, and institutional locations.

Three models of swing door operator are offered by Ditec:

  1. Ditec Ha8-Sp Low Energy Standard Profile Operator
  2. Ditec Ha8-Lp Low Energy Low Profile Operator
  3. Ditec Fa8 Full Energy Operator

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.

The HA8-LP Operator ensures all-around safety. 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:

Hager 8218 Single Door Operator

In 1894, Hager began producing hinges and in the course of an interesting 167-year history evolved into a major provider of a diversified line of quality door hardware and accessories. In 2012 Hager launched a line of electrified products, including electric strikes, keypads, and magnetic locks. The Hager line continues to expand.

The HAGER MODEL 8218 Single Operator is designed for use on interior & exterior non-fire rated outswing or inswing doors. The standard unit allows for 24VDC activator, two push plates, and a reactivation sensor. It has on-board provisions for door status, battery backup and additional modules and operates as a manual closer with or without power.

Also available are the Model 8219 Simultaneous Pair and Model 8221 Double Egress Simultaneous Pair.

Application Features:

  • Non-Handed
  • Three Operating Modes (On/Off/Hold Open)
  • Designed for doors up to 48" wide (1219 mm)
  • Designed for doors up to 275 lbs. (125 Kg)
  • On-Board power supply - 115 VAC 60 HZ single phase 5A

-      0.75A @ 24VDC Output Standard

-      1.0A @ 24VDC Output Optional (w/ EDM 2-659-0275)

  • Internal Adjustable Full Open End Stop
  • Lintel Mounted Back Plate - allows for fast and easy installation
  • Durable Steel End Plates
  • One-Year Warranty

Operational Functionality: 

  • Power Open Spring Close
  • 1/4+ HP DC Motor
  • Motor Protection Circuit - interrupts motor when there is an obstruction during opening

Programmable Functionality:     

  • Push and Pull (selectable On/Off)
  • Power Assist Close
  • Power Boost Close - motor assist under wind and stack pressure
  • Motor Hold Close
  • Power Open and Hold - for smoke evacuation
  • Adjustable Opening Force Limitation
  • Adjustable Opening and Closing Speeds
  • Adjustable Opening Angle
  • Adjustable Hold Open Time for Door Activators (0 - 60 sec.)
  • Sequential Operation (push to open/push to close operation)
  • Built-In Safety Circuit w/Stall/Carpet/Safety Slow/Reactivation
  • Factory Reset
  • Optional programming with PIM & iMotion programmer (sold separately)


  • ANSI A156.19 compliant
  • ANSI/UL 325 listed for both United States and Canada
  • ADA compliant

Electrical Specifications 

  • Power Supply: On-board output (24VDC) for door position status, alarm, etc.
  • Operating Temperature: +5° to 125° F (-15° to 50° C) ambient operating temperature in all climatic conditions
  • Continuous Sound Level: <70 Db
  • Dimensions:      

    • Single: 4-9/16” H x 5” W x 31-1/2" L  (116 mm x 127 mm x 800 mm)
    • Pair: 4-9/16” H x 5” W x 75-1/2" L (116 mm x 127 mm x 1816 mm)
    • Header Lengths: Single: 31.5" (800 mm);  Single: 39.5" (1003 mm) and Pair: 75.5" (1198 mm) up to 101.5" (2578 mm)
    • Outswing Door Arm - for use w/ butt hung, offset and center pivot doors
    • Telescoping Outswing Door Arm - accommodates door reveaL from 0”- 9-7/8” (0 mm - 251 mm)
    • Inswing Door Arm and Slide Track - for use w/ butt hung, offset pivot doors (0") reveal
    • Optional Deep Reveal Inswing Door Arm and Slide Track - center pivot or double egress doors, 0"- 6” (0 mm - 152 mm) reveal
    • Opening Angles - Outswing:        Adjustable (0-110 degrees)
    • Opening Angles - Inswing:  Adjustable (0-110 degrees); Deep Reveal Arm Maximum (90 degrees)

    More Info:

    DETEX A019-1

    The Detex A019-1 is a low energy automatic door operator for single doors. This economical operator provides safe and easy access in medium to high-traffic and security areas and provides quiet operation.

    It comes with a 115VAC power plug-in mounted in header and is available in single, pair (twin) for independent, simultaneous and dual egress openings. A single voltage source is required to operate.

    Power close applies a reverse power to aid in latch check position. This feature must be selected to activate.

    The AO19 Series stands up to high use and high abuse low energy applications. It  meets requirements for ANSI/BHMA A156.19 (American National Standard for Power Assist and Low Energy Power Operated Doors) and provides standard features that meet the requirements of the American Disabilities Act.

    Two of the features that make the Detex operator unique are the installation hanger plate and the install method sequence, which allows the electrician to arrive after the install, but yet all the fine adjustments have already been set by the locksmith during the original installation.

    • Self-contained unit in an extruded case allows easy access for maintenance and adjustments
    • Works with existing access control, locking and computer signal devices
    • Easy manual use
    • Reduced service calls due to heavy-duty construction
    • 3-way low-voltage ON/OFF/HOLD switch for ease of service and setup
    • Can be installed and adjustments can be made prior to electrician connecting building power
    • Available in single, pair (twin) for independent, simultaneous and dual egress openings
    • Adjustable delayed activation for sequenced vestibule doors
    • Reverse on obstruction stalls a door during closing cycle and re-activates to open if an obstruction is sensed any time before the latch position. Must be selected to activate.
    • Adjustable closing speed
    • Push & Go (Use for Handicap)  activates when door is manually pushed to open. Must be selected to activate.
    • Electric lock relay provides an adjustable delay before door opens to unlock an electric strike, maglock or other types of electric locks - prevents binding

    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.