Best of 2020: Touchless Openings

Dec. 2, 2020
From new marketing strategies to new technologies, manufacturers worked to make it so people feel safe going through a doorway.

Spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 most definitely was the year of touchless hardware. Commercial, health-care, educational, retail and even residential customers wanted to do everything in their power to prevent the spread of the coronavirus — and other germs and diseases.

According to Locksmith Ledger’s State of the Industry survey (, nearly 88 percent of locksmiths said COVID-19 had some negative effect on their business. And nearly 64 percent of the respondents said the pandemic altered their product selection.

As a result, lock and door hardware manufacturers introduced high-tech and low-tech products and repackaged existing products to create touchless systems. For example, there’s nothing new about an automatic door opener and a touchless switch, but they’re being combined into a number of hands-free kits, some which also include strikes for cylindrical and mortise locks.

The big trend in electronic access control is the use of smartphone apps as credentials. Also newly introduced — though expensive — are camera-based systems to limit occupancy, ensure compliance with mask requirements and even take temperature readings touchlessly.

Following is a roundup of some of the newest touchless products and initiatives, along with some existing products that are being repackaged to provide touchless solutions.


Available across a variety of products, mechanical and electromechanical, ASSA ABLOY’s Safer2Open Solutions reduce touchpoints in a range of facilities where decreasing the spread of germs is essential to public safety.

Trim options, such as SARGENT ALP Push/Pull Trim, Corbin Russwin HPSK Paddle Trim and Adams Rite Push/Pull Paddle Trim, are low-touch solutions that allow doors to be opened through minimal contact and can be added to virtually any opening to enable hands-free operation.

Rockwood Hands-Free Arm and Foot Pulls allow for access without having to grasp hardware. These low-cost options for hands-free door operation can be implemented in new and pre-existing aluminum, metal or wood openings.

SARGENT Electrified Closer-Holders keep doors open during high-traffic times to minimize contact on door handles.

Exit devices that have motorized and electric latch retraction, such as the Adams Rite 8000 and 3000 Series, Corbin Russwin ED5000 Series, SARGENT 80 Series Exit Device with Electric Latch Retraction and Yale 7000 Series, enable remote locking or unlocking of a door. This makes it easier for people to move quickly, through virtually any opening.

Low-energy door operators from Norton are compatible with wave-to-open switches to provide an easy, contact-free method of opening doors.

Wave-to-open switches, from Securitron and Alarm Controls, can pick up hand gestures within 4 inches of the switch to trigger operation for swing doors.

Exit motion sensors from Securitron and Alarm Controls minimize contact in high-traffic areas.

HES electric strikes enable remote locking and unlocking of an automated door and are available for all frame types and applications, including low profile, outdoor rated, aluminum and glass.

More info:

dormakaba Touchfree Access

Whether a facility or property is configuring its reopening after COVID-19 restrictions or just looking to provide safer and more secure access to their guests, staff and visitors, a new self-audit website from dormakaba makes it easy to determine short-term fixes and long-term solutions.

“We’re always studying the marketplace to identify ways to help our customers operate their properties to the best of their ability, and the COVID era has challenged us to look even deeper,” says Darren Blankenship, assistant vice president, Vertical Market Development. “As we considered the prolonged impacts of the pandemic, we quickly realized that what was really needed was a way for customers to figure out their next steps to navigating the current situation as they relate to access. Our Touchfree Access website is a self-audit tool that looks across product categories that support cleanliness, hygiene, safety and security across specific property areas. This includes, but definitely goes beyond, our suite of Mobile Access Solutions and Touchless Access Solutions.”

The touchless access tool has three specific steps.

  1. Users map current access methods in 16 specific locations on their properties.
  2. Users identify current locks and access and door types for each room category.
  3. The audit curates a customized list of short-term solutions and long-term opportunities.

Short-term fixes can be implemented quickly. Long-term opportunities show a range of possibilities that might require more planning. Recommendations include an option to transition to a range of touchless access solutions, which are becoming a go-to choice to assure security, safety, hygiene and cleanliness. Users have an additional option to connect directly with a dormakaba access solutions expert to receive a customized recommendation that includes holistic and dormakaba product options.

SDC Hands Free Door Solution

SDC's Hands Free Door Solution is billed as a common-sense answer to help businesses, schools and organizations to reopen or stay open during the pandemic crisis and provide peace of mind. A wave of the hand activates the door for entry or exit, so users never touch a door on the way in or out of a room or facility. Basic components include an Auto EntryControl Low Energy Swing Door Operator and a 474 No Touch Wave-To-Open Switch

More info:

Alarm Lock Restroom Conversion System

As college campuses and K-12 schools across the country struggle to reopen and remain open, Alarm Lock has an easy, economical solution to convert multistall restrooms to single occupancy, to create social distancing and help avoid the spread of germs.

Wireless Trilogy Privacy Standalone Pushbutton PIN Locks feature an inner privacy push button. After entering by using a PIN code or an ID card, the user simply pushes the privacy button on the lock on the inside door to ensure privacy. The lock won’t open until the user exits or, optionally, the privacy session “times out” after a preset duration, up to 250 minutes. A self-adhesive, bilingual use sign is provided.

Options include a GermAway antimicrobial finish and Keypad Guard (HW2037), which facilitates daily disinfecting and cleaning. The lock retrofits standard locks.

More info:


Camden Door Controls has a dedicated website designed to provide up-to-the-minute information on low-voltage system design. is an easy-to-use resource for security professionals, building and facility managers, architects and system specifiers.

The website highlights “no-touch” and “low-touch” solutions that eliminate the spread of germs caused by manually operating door-activation devices, such as push/exit buttons. It also highlights additional opportunities to increase convenience for building occupants and provide better service to people who have disabilities. resources include application design options for automatic doors and access control systems, information on the industry’s newest “no-touch” and “low-touch” products (with links to detailed product pages) and an in-depth Information Library, which includes educational trade-press articles and white papers.

Camden offers an extensive line of hands-free switches, including the Camden CM-221 Series ValueWave switches, for indoor or outdoor use as part of an automatic door or access control system. The switches are designed for easy installation and trouble-free service in high-traffic applications.

CM-221 Series switches are available in a range of models with narrow, single- and double-gang stainless steel faceplates and a selection of laser-etched faceplate graphics.

Features include an adjustable sensor range of 2–8 inches, an adjustable time delay of 0.5–20 seconds and toggle operation.

More info:

SECO-LARM Touchless Sensors

SECO-LARM ENFORCER Touchless Sensors are equipped with an adjustable range up to 6 inches (15cm), a 1-amp relay, an adjustable trigger duration of 0.5–20 seconds or toggle. Selectable LED colors (red to green or green to red) show whether the sensor was activated. The Touchless Sensors are weather-resistant (IP65) for outdoor use, when installed properly.

SECO-LARM also introduced ENFORCER Bluetooth Access Controllers, which can be operated via an app. These keypads/readers have a streamlined, fully app-based setup that uses integrated Bluetooth wireless technology and provides convenience and security to the user and administrator. All data is secured on the device without the risks inherent by having an internet connection.

The keypad is passcode-protected and has AES 128 encryption and a solid-state relay for improved reliability and increased security. There are three ways to open a door: keypad, proximity card or the SL Access app. Unlimited devices can be managed through the app, and the app includes different output modes: timed relock, continually unlocked and continually locked.

More info:

Antimicrobial Coatings

High-traffic, public-use areas are suited to antimicrobial-coated door hardware, and most manufacturers offer antimicrobial coatings that use ionic silver coatings as an option.

Allegion says its antimicrobial coating is formulated to inhibit the growth of bacteria by interrupting cell multiplication. Ionic silver coatings interact with the bonding sites on the microbe surface. The result is that the silver ions surround bacterial cells, blocking nutrients and slowing the growth of bacteria, mold and mildew

Detex also uses a silver-based hardware finish that inhibits the growth of many types of bacteria and microbes. According to Detex, moisture causes a controlled release of silver ions embedded in the special silver-containing zeolite, which then interferes with the cell membranes to repress respiration and growth.

ASSA ABLOY provides MicroShield antimicrobial coating for door hardware, using silver ion-based technology from Agion, to stem the spread of bacteria and other microbes.  MicroShield is available on products from ASSA ABLOY Architectural Door Accessories, ASSA ABLOY Glass Solutions, Adams Rite, Corbin Russwin, SARGENT and Yale.

Many residential products even now come with antimicrobial coatings, such as Baldwin Hardware’s new matte black hardware, which has Microban antimicrobial technology. According to Baldwin, a layer of antimicrobial protection built into the coating provides a continuous, effective defense against microbial growth for the life of the door hardware. Microban technology won’t wash off or wear away between routine cleanings or from daily use.