HINGES: A Pivotal Part of Any Opening

July 2, 2020
Specialized hinges, pivots and stops serve health-care applications.

Although hinges might not be the most important part of a door, they become pivotal when the doors don’t work properly. In fact, a large number of door problems can be traced to issues with the hinges.

Typical door problems include:

  • The door drags on the threshold.
  • The door doesn’t close (latch).
  • The door doesn’t close completely.
  • The door doesn’t swing freely.
  • The door interferes with the frame.
  • The door locking hardware (latch, bolt) doesn’t line up or properly drop behind the strike.

All of these problems are a concern when we propose to install access control or architectural hardware on a door, because, generally, when you sell a client a lock or an accessory, they expect to have a perfectly operating door when you’re finished. Customers can be real buzzkillers, asking you, “Why doesn’t this thing work?” while you’re admiring the new hardware you installed.

Door problems should be an even larger concern to you when it’s a fire door, because a faulty door system there is dangerous and illegal. A defective door that you haven’t documented or repaired could represent a legal liability to your company and to your client. 

When there are problems with a door, frequently there is more than a single cause. If a hinge appears to be loose, it might be because the door has been damaged or rusted. Doors might rust from the inside out, or damage to the door surface is concealed by paint.

The frame might be rusted in the area of the hinge pocket, resulting in a door that no longer provides the desired fire or security protection and can’t be repaired to pass the inevitable inspection.

When you run service by yourself, encountering a door repair isn’t always welcome, because wrestling with a door often requires a helper. The time required also will throw you off schedule if you’re booked tightly. 

The best way to handle door repairs is to be prepared by having replacement parts ready and possibly designating a door team that has the necessary skills as well as a properly equipped service vehicle.

Also, tell whoever books service calls to try and determine what specifically is going on at the site instead of merely recording, “Door Problem.”

You aren’t likely to encounter door-width code issues, because the premises probably were issued a certificate of occupancy and approved by the building department or legal authority having jurisdiction (AHJ). However, if the occupancy changed —  how the premises are used — building codes have changed, and the building can’t be grandfathered in, or if the client looks to upgrade the opening in some respect, you should discuss the project with the AHJ before you agree to do any work or take any money as a deposit.

Following are some of the hinge products designed for health-care applications.

Markar DSH1000 Behavioral Health Hinge

ASSA ABLOY has two styles of double-swing hinges: a pin-and-barrel-style hinge (Markar DSH1000) and a gear-style hinge (Pemko DSHP01).

Either double-swing hinge can be used with the Pemko Emergency Release Stop (ERS) and  provides a swing of 100 degrees in either direction, which allows the door to swing in the nonconventional direction during an emergency situation.

The ERS is used as a stop during conventional door operation and is applied to a cased opening. During an emergency situation, the stop can be released, which allows the hinge to swing in the opposite direction. This typically is required when something or someone is barricaded on the other side of a door and isn’t allowing the door to swing in the conventional direction. It has been accepted by the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) for use in high-risk areas.


  • Continuous pin and barrel hinge
  • Hard stop to eliminate finger pinching
  • ANSI/BHMA A156.26 Grade 1 certified
  • Supports weight up to 600 lbs.
  • 48-in. maximum door width
  • Extruded aluminum 6063-T6 alloy
  • Stainless pin (rod) 1/4-in. diam.
  • Exterior barrel 3/4-in. diam.
  • Each knuckle 4 in., including nylon bearing at each separation for quiet, smooth, self-lubricating operation
  • Finishes: Clear Anodized (628), Light Bronze Anodized (311), Dark Bronze Anodized (313), Black Anodized (315), Scratch-Resistant, Powder Coated Paint (other finishes available upon request)
  • Symmetrically templated hole pattern
  • 25-yr. warranty

Markar FM300WT Wide Throw Edge Mount Hinge

The FM300WT pin-and-barrel hinge is suited for high-traffic, high-abuse doors. The hinge works well in locations that normally would require an anchor hinge, a pivot-reinforcement hinge or a thrust pivot unit and hinge set.

The FM300WT makes the installer’s job easier and saves on preparation charges. It can be used on fire and nonfire openings.

The hinge is compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act standards and can be used on operating room doors to swing the door out of the opening when equipment is moved in and out. This model’s hinge guard also protects the door from dents and gouges.


  • Medical bearings
  • Stainless steel end pins
  • Heavy-duty 14-gauge 304 stainless steel, finished in US32D (630)
  • ANSI/BHMA A156.26 Grade 1 certified
  • Fasteners concealed when door is closed
  • Supports weight up to 600 lbs.
  • 48-in. maximum door width
  • 3/16-in. diam. stainless steel hinge pin (rod)
  • Exterior barrel 7/16 in. diam.
  • Symmetrically templated hole pattern
  • Handing required for doors 6-8, 7-2, 8-0, 10-0 and most optional features
  • Optional: MTSP-100 right-angle screwdriver for easier installation, US32 Bright Polished Stainless (629), custom lengths, custom hole patterns, tamperproof security screws

 ABH Easy Access Concealed Hinge

Electrified door hinges are known to fail over time, and when they do, accessing their wires for repair can be time-consuming.

The “EA” Easy Access Concealed Electrical Hinge by Architectural Builders Hardware Manufacturing (ABH) comes with tamper-resistant access panels on the face of each hinge leaf, which allows for quick access to wires without having to remove the hinge. That’s a helpful feature, because a traditional "M" moveable section isn’t necessary.

The Easy Access Concealed Electrical Hinge comes standard with 12 22-AWG Super-Flex Ribbon Wires. The flexibility protects the wires and maximizes their longevity.

When asked about the lifetime guarantee, ABH President Kit Shah says the specially made ultraflexible wire has lasted tests of more than 10 million cycles. This means that if that hinge were used on numerous doors and swapped out, ABH would warranty the hinge and thru-wire application. 

ABH A507 Double Swing Ligature Resistant Hinge 

The ABH A507 double swing ligature resistant hinge is approved by the New York OMH. It’s aimed for use in behavioral-health facilities, hospitals and correctional facilities, among other locations where a door might be required to swing in two directions.

The hinge is mounted flush to the door’s inside face.


  • Spring-loaded top-gap-close mechanism
  • Top Alarm option
  • Self-closing option
  • Pin Torx security screws standard
  • 83-, 95-, 120-in., plus custom sizes
  • Finishes: Clear, Dark Bronze, Black Anodized, Custom Anodize, Powdercoat

ABH A280HD Aluminum Continuous Geared Hinge

The ABH A280HD Aluminum Continuous Geared Hinge is designed for use in aluminum frames that have snap-on trim. According to Shah, this hinge is the only hinge that won’t interfere with the snap-on trim. Self-drilling fasteners come standard. Continuous frame reinforcement is required, provided by the frame manufacturer.


  • Full concealed, heavy duty
  • For use on 1-3/4-in. thick doors
  • 450 lbs. weight maximum
  • Standard lengths 79, 83, 85, 95 and 120 in.
  • Finishes: Clear Anodized, Dark Bronze Anodized, Black Anodized

ABH A120 Aluminum Geared Hinge

This easy-to-install full mortise hinge is compatible with hollow metal, minimum reveal, narrow-face frames and narrow doors. It allows for vertical adjustability after the hinge is secured to the door and frame, which reduces the overall installation time and cost.


  • 450 lbs. weight maximum
  • Standard lengths 83, 95 and 120 in.
  • Finishes: Clear Anodized, Dark Bronze Anodized, Black Anodized

Q&A: ABH’s Kit Shah

For more than 20 years, Architectural Builders Hardware Manufacturing (ABH) has produced high-quality security products at their state-of-the-art-facility. Locksmith Ledger contacted ABH President Kit Shah to find out more.

LL: Please tell us about your company.

Shah: ABH was started in 1991 by Kirti Shah, a longtime veteran of Ingersoll Rand. We are a second-generation company that focuses on commercial-door hardware. We provide American-made products and engineered hardware solutions domestically and internationally. As a family-owned company, our focus is on building relationships and finding solutions for our customers. We have 19 product lines and 150,000 square feet of manufacturing space in the Chicagoland area.

LL: Please tell us about yourself.

Shah: My educational background is industrial engineering. Prior to coming to ABH in 2007, I worked as an engineer in Northern California on a biopharmaceutical project for DPR/Genentech. I took over as president at ABH in 2016.

LL: What markets does your company specialize in?

Shah: Health care, hospitality, education, retail, office, luxury high-rise residential, entertainment, sports venue.

LL: How have you fared during the pandemic?

Shah: Like many other companies, we have seen a significant slowdown in business as the construction market has been halted in many parts of the country. We have continued our operations at full force and have worked on many essential projects. We supplied hospital latches to temporary hospitals at the beginning of the pandemic and have managed to keep our workforce working, not only to ship product but to make internal improvements within our three factories. Along with this, the slowdown has allowed us to hire some valuable team members to aid in our long-term growth strategy. We are always looking for great people to join our team, in good times and bad times.

LL: There seems to be security-industry growth in the health-care-renovation, aftermarket and door-inspection markets. Have you noticed this activity?

Shah: Yes. I think as new technologies emerge and safety protocols increase, construction becomes cyclical in the fact that we must rebuild and adapt, so the overall population can take advantage of new efficiencies and safety measures, which will improve quality of care and life.

LL: How can locksmiths purchase your products?

Shah: We sell through distributors, like Intermountain, IDN, etc., or they can contact ABH directly.

LL: Is product training required to install your products? 

Shah: ABH products are easy to install. Most are self-explanatory, but product training may be required on some of the more complicated electrical products. Product training is available through our inside and outside sales teams. The ABH website, www.abhmfg.com, has videos and additional information on how to install our products. ABH also has six technical-support specialists in house to assist at all times.

Tim O’Leary is an experienced security consultant and a regular contributor to Locksmith Ledger.

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.