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Automatic Door Opener Basics

Updated on July 4, 2010

Power Operators

Power Operators - also known as automatic door openers - are devices that open doors for persons with disabilities. They are available in two main varieties:

  • Hi Energy
  • Low Energy

High energy power operators are installed by AAADM (American Association of Automatic Door Manufacturers) certified technicians and are used in high traffic applications like hospital emergency room entrances, supermarkets, and large office buildings. They are used on both swinging and sliding doors. If your application demands a high energy power operator, you should call a door control or automatic door company. You should do this because a high energy power operator improperly installed could injure someone.

Low energy power operators can be installed by non-AAADM certified technicials and are used on swinging doors only in lower frequency applicatons such as a small doctors office with 2 doctors, a separate entrance dedicated to persons with disabilities subject to occasional use, an apartment entrance, or the entrance to an apartment building housing no more than 10 or 12 units. If a low energy power operator encounters and obstacle, it will stop, and so it is less likely to injure a person.

System Components

A power operator system includes the power operator and activation devices (called "actuators"). A power operator on a swinging door can have an internal activation device, in which case the power operator is said to have "push and go" operation.

Field conditions such as consecutive swinging doors and/or locking doors may require special equipment. If you are applying a power operator to an existing door that currently shuts and locks and you want the door to continue to shut and lock automatically, the power operator will need to have the capability to unlock the door before it opens it. If you have consecutive doors, for example, in a vestibule situation, the power operator may need to have the capability to open the doors sequentially. Many power operators have an internal logic board that will enable it to perform these operations internally.

Incidental to the installation of the power operator, any locks expected to work with the power operator will need to be electrified.

In addition to the power operator, actuators, and any necessary interface logic board, safety presence sensors are available to help prevent the power operator from opening the door into a person who may be standing in the opening at the time.


See examples of power operators at:


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    • Tom Rubenoff profile image

      Tom Rubenoff 6 years ago from United States

      Thank you.

    • profile image

      Automatic Doors 6 years ago

      Excellent post!