Garage Door Automation Services
Imagine not having to leave your car to open the garage before driving it in, well now you can make it a reality!
The idea of simply pressing a small button to open and close the garage door on a handheld radio transmitter is very appealing, especially if you have a larger than normal or a double-width garage door. The older one piece up and over doors can be too heavy to raise and too tricky to manoeuvre, so a replacement door should be considered before installing automated operating systems.
Automating Existing Garage Doors
We have been installing automation onto our customers’ existing garage doors for many years and now install fully automated operating systems along with new doors as well as automating older garage doors.
Nowadays, of course, with advancements in materials and technology, it is easier to replace and start anew, but we will never disagree with the advantages of automating a completely serviceable current garage door.
Automation of any current garage door should always be possible with a few exceptions for older garage door models with very unusual spring and gearing arrangements.
Reasons Why You Might Need A New Garage Door
You would have to be a professional weightlifter to open a lot of older garage doors these days. More often than not, you’d need to run away quickly as the door closes as it slams back down to the closed position like a flash, (that’s how heavy and unpredictable they are).
You should never presume that the electric operator can assist with either a worn-out or improperly equipped garage door, both of which are heavy and dangerous if they are not balanced correctly.
Sometimes it’s better in terms of safety, reliability and security to have a new garage door installed, especially if your door is becoming an antique. On the other hand, if you’ve only had it a few years, then it should be perfectly balanced and you shouldn’t need a new door at all.
Electric Garage Doors Are Convenient & Safe
Electric garage door operators bring both safety and convenience, with this in mind our fitters will ensure that the garage door stops if there is ever an obstruction that’s encountered while it is operating and it will reverse or stop to avoid causing any damage or injury.
This safety function is integrated into all proper CE-compliant modern electrical operators. It relies on the appropriate balance of the garage door as a manual door so that the safety reversing feature does not receive false readings due to ‘heavy’ or ‘stick’ spots in the door service.
Do not accept any electrical operator that does not have an auto-reversing facility. Ideally, it should be reversed if it encounters an obstacle while opening, such as a car parked in front of a closed door.
Automating Retractable Up & Over Garage Doors
Retractable one-piece Up & Over garage doors are the simplest type of Up & Over type door to incorporate electrical operation. It consists of the construction of a boom above the structural opening with the motor of the electrical operator mounted at the other end. This is simple, quick and straightforward and should also be the most cost-effective. The action is quick and smooth and also allows the inclusion of additional locking mechanisms for added protection.
Automating Canopy Up & Over Garage Doors
You will need a bow arm conversion kit to add automatic operation to the Canopy Up & Over garage door. The bow arm conversion kit enables quick and simple operation of the canopy garage door.
Owing to their difference in opening doors with retractable garage doors, canopy garage doors will fail to achieve the same results with a retractable electric garage door set up. The bow arm conversion kit is mounted on the garage door and is fitted to the operator. It then pulls the garage door, and the bow arm device is able to slide and shift, allowing the garage door to completely open, with the only loss of headroom being between 120-150 mm of the bow arm itself.
Automating Side Hinged Garage Doors
Almost all side hinged garage doors can be automated using two tried and tested methods. These methods are Swing Arm Kits, hydraulic or Electromechanical opening. Swing Arm Kits work in exactly the same way as a retractable up and over operator would work, except two pivotable arms are connected to each side of the hinged garage door and the boom. When the boom moves the door to the garage, the sides split, and the doors open freely.
Electromechanical operating systems can use a series of cogs and mechanical elements to open doors or use a smoother, more efficient hydraulic motor. Each operator uses and performs the basics of electromechanical operation effectively.
Automating Sectional Doors
Sectional garage doors can be automated by the very nature of their easy and reliable smooth operation. All they need to work is the addition of a boom and an operator, and they’re good to go. By using a good quality motor system with a sectional door will generally give you a very high level of protection, particularly if the door is double-skinned. Generally, sectional doors all reach the garage much higher than usual up and over doors and thus require longer booms to give the electric operator maximum opening height.
Automating Roller Shutter Garage Doors
Most roller shutter garage doors can be automatic, but this often involves a high degree of de-and reconstruction. Due to the compact design of the average roller shutter and the fact that most roller shutter electric motors are located within the roller shutter, the door to the garage must be removed to allow the roller shutter to be mounted. This is a time-consuming exercise, but it is possible. Many single skin continuous roller style roller doors may have a motor bolted to the shaft on the one side in order to automate and all you need to do is make sure you have the right drivetrain.
How Can You Assess If Your Garage Door is Suitable for an Electrical Operating System?
There are certain doors that simply do not operate properly or securely.
If you have a garage door that has been manufactured in the last two years and is up and over a sectional or side-hinged mechanism, then you can almost guarantee that it can be turned into a remote-controlled door. Older than two years, so you’ll have to be careful what the manufacturer and the model are since there are certain doors that just won’t work properly, no matter what accessories you use.
If you have a Garador, Horman or Novoferm up and over door, and you have ‘retractable’ operating with tracks running horizontally into the garage for opening, then you can buy any number of basic ‘boom’ style electrical operators, and they simply turn on and pull and force the door to open and close.
If the door is a ‘canopy’ type door, then it can still perform the electrical operation but need what is known as the ‘bow arm converter,’ which is a metal device that suits the back of the garage door panel and helps to mimic the twisting motion needed by a canopy door to function properly, up and down. You do need to buy the ‘boom’ operator part, but you also need this system to achieve the maximum opening and secure closing position.
For any sectional style of garage door, the installation of an electric operator is very easy, by installing a ‘boom’ type operator above the door you will be able to operate this type of door with ease.
Of course, as with any form of door, additional headrooms are required to accommodate the ‘boom’ electric operator and also the section of the motorhead at the back end.
Generally, in order to get a modern European electrical operator, you would need about 50 mm of space above the tallest point at the top section of the door panel when half is opened.
For swing style garage doors, you need a ‘swing door conversion package’ to be fitted with the electric operator, and it pushes and pulls the two-door panels for opening and closing and has the built-in safety function of obstacle detection present in all modern electrical operators sold in the UK. Of course, some operators are much better than others, and when using these additional things to make a garage door electrical, we always suggest that you get the toughest door opener possible to ease any problems with sensors and unnecessary movement in the operator during service that might cause a safety cut as it feels it has hit something.
Roller garage doors are not so easily electrically powered as the very common double-skinned aluminium roller door still has a ‘barrel’ motor driven concealed within the middle of the curtain barrel. If you’re considering ordering a roller door of this kind as a manual door then making it electrically powered at a later date would be very tricky indeed as the whole thing would entail a reassembly of the door and other parts. The motor can be quickly attached to the steel single roller door as it is externally fitted.
Garage doors that are currently manually operated, you must never presume that because the door can be difficult to open or close, the solution would be an electric operator. In order for the electrical operator to operate correctly and safely, the garage door must be balanced as close to ideal as possible in order for the safety mechanisms to function properly. If the door is very high, it is definitely possible to get the electric motor to raise the door by overcoming the protection cut out, but of course, there will be no safety and the engine will be under undue stress and will not last very long at all. An electric operator is not a replacement for a poorly equipped or balanced garage door!
How Secure is an Electric Garage Door?
The security and safety of an electric garage door really depends on the type of door in question, and any other factors used by the electric operator Stated correctly, the electric garage door can be quite safe indeed. Of course, if the simple garage door panel is not very safe in the first place, the motor drive will make very little difference if the break-in requires cutting through the panel itself. Electric or manually powered, it doesn’t matter if you can break through the actual door! A correctly configured electric garage door operator fitted to a good, solid garage door panel with good strength can be a very safe device as long as the motor drive unit and door attachment are strong, and the operator has been checked and approved with the door in question.
Many garage doors, such as roller shutter doors, have the motor installed into the overall package rather than added later, and this ensures that if they have been properly constructed with mechanical attachments to help keep the roller door curtain down, they too would be very resistant to burglary. Less designed roller garage doors have the unfortunate drawback of being able to be raised surprisingly quickly when not designed with proper mechanics in the curtain for a barrel link or without mechanics keeping the curtain down on the concrete.
Adding a remote-controlled operator to an existing door, such as a one-piece door or a sectional door, ensures that the motor drive must be connected to the door, and this may be a weak spot seen on YouTube videos demonstrating how to unplug the carriage arm of the door when a cheap operator is being used in conjunction with a door with a weak subframe fitting. However, take a good garage door installation and add a good-quality electrical operator combined with a de-latch mechanism (only on up and over doors) and you will have a 3-point door lock triggered by the door operator mechanism. Using an electrical operator such as Hormann Supramatic or Promatic and you have the added advantage of a proprietary steel lock to help keep the door panel down and withstand upward force resistance.
The picture below shows a section showing the hook mechanism with the towing arm for the garage door shown immediately below, which is attached to the panel of either the up and over or the sectional door form. This mechanism can also be used with the hinged ‘swing’ door type with the addition of a swing arm conversion package. With the developments in encryption technology, it is also possible to provide ‘Bi Secure’ 2-way radio transmission technology for electrical operators and the added benefits of 128-bit encryption! Hormann Promatic and Supramatic, when fitted to either of the LPU40 double-skinned sectional doors, now offer a ‘Secured by Design’ rating such as security without even having to do so.
The same applies to round corner style doors, where the mechanism and door panel strength combined with a motor drive can not be approached from outside means a very strong door. Especially when closed – there will be very little chance of a casual and forced entry.