What are Automatic Doors?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 06 September 2019
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Automatic doors are doors which open automatically when approached by someone, rather than needing to be opened manually with a door handle or bar. In addition to opening automatically, some automatic doors can also be activated by hitting a button which causes the doors to open. These doors are commonly used in commercial and industrial settings, and they can be extremely useful in a wide variety of environments.

Designs for automatic doors vary. Some slide open, while others consist of panels which fold when people enter or exit, and others swing in or out like conventional doors. The doors are equipped with a motion sensor which can detect people when they approach, and the sensitivity of the sensor can be adjusted as needed. If a button can be used to activate the doors, it is usually low to the ground so that it can be accessed by wheelchair users, and it is large and clearly marked.

These doors require electricity to operate, with electricity driving the motor which opens the doors. Many automatic doors have a manual override so that in the event of a power failure or a mechanical problem, the doors can still be opened. The doors are also designed to be sensitive to obstacles in the doorway, so that they will not close on someone or something which happens to be in the middle of the path of the doors. These safety measures ensure that automatic doors are safe in a variety of situations.


For people in wheelchairs and other disabled individuals, automatic doors are an immense boon, since conventional doors can be very hard to work with. It may be impossible to open a conventional doors while seated in a wheelchair or navigating with crutches, for example, and for people with disabilities in their hands and arms, conventional doors can present a real obstacle. Automatic doors ensure disabled access into public facilities.

In hospitals and scientific labs, automatic doors can be used to secure an area by ensuring that the doors are shut at all times, while reducing the risk of cross-contamination since people do not need to handle the doors to pass through them. Operating rooms, emergency rooms, and other medical facilities commonly have automatic doors for this reason. Automatic doors can also be useful in warehouses and other facilities where people frequently have their hands full, contributing to safety and efficiency by making it easier for people to get around.


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