Electric Up And Over Garage Doors

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Automating Canopy Up and Over Garage Doors

Electric Up and Over Doors

bow arm converter on a canopy door with windows

Most 'good quality' or new up and over canopy doors can be easily automated using a good quality traditional boom type electric operator. You do however need a canopy bow arm converter kit, which in principal applies forces to the top and lower part of the door panel in order to open the door successfully. If you go to your canopy garage door right now and standing from the inside grab the top of the door panel and pull the door backwards you will find the door opens about 2/3rds of the way with your pulling force and then sticks. This will depend on how the torsion spring has been set up in the first place, it might well shoot up if the spring is overtensioned.
The final opening movement for the door panel requires a gentle push from the middle to lower half of the door panel and this is exactly what the bow arm converter does.

Bow Arm Converter

The bow arm canopy door converter is exactly as described in that it is like a bow from a bow and arrow set, only made from steel. (see picture to the right here on the back of a garage door with windows)

The flat part of this device installs directly onto the back of the door panel centrally and then the garage door operator towing arm fits to a sliding mechanism on the curved part of the converter. As the canopy door is pulled open from the top the slider moves up the bow arm and a force is gently applied forwards and lower down to open the door fully. The closing cycle is obviously in reverse.

We have fitted hundreds of these over 34 years, and they all provide perfectly fine service. The only proviso we apply with an existing garage door is that it is working smoothly and the door panel is strong enough overall to take the bow arm forces. Some older door panels in steel and GRP are not strong enough to take these converters and have far too much flex in the panel construction. Some brands aso have an issue with a bow arm such as older Cardale and Henderson garage doors, their gemoetry not being quite right to take these conversions.

Many websites will tell you not to use canopy converters and to change doors to retractable operating systems, however this is simply not true, and the best thing about a bow arm converter is that it drives the door panel directly. The bow arm system also holds and locks the door very positively and securely without the manual latches required.

It is important to use a reasonably powerful and high quality boom type electric operator with a bow arm converter as there are a lot more forces involved, and in order for the safety reverse sytem to work properly the door needs to be working smoothly before installation. many modern operators have very clever pressure sensing systems which adjust the power up or down as it is needed during the door operation.

The only downside perhaps to a bow arm converter is the loss of drivethrough clearance height in the middle when the door is open.

Remember however, you have retained all the original drivethrough width, which would not be the case if installing a fully retractable garage door as the lifting arms would sit inbetween the sub frame reducing the width when open. The loss of headroom depends on the make of bow arm used but is generally about 100 -150mm and is only in the middle.

Typical Hormann bow arm kit for non Hormann canopy doors

Typical Hormann bow arm kit for non Hormann canopy doors A typical conversion bow arm kit for most canopy type up and over one piece doors with adjustment for adapting to different door heights and operator towing arms.

The only canopy doors that can be a problem to fix this converter system to are doors that have vertical strengthening struts on the inside of the panel and therfore no horizontal struts to fix to between the top of the door and the middle section. This can be overcome with extra steel struts fitted across the door but beware of the extra weight being added.

Canopy Up & Over Garage Doors

canopy up and over garage dor with steel sub frameThe definition of a canopy garage door system can sometimes get a little confusing as there are many older garage doors still in operation that seem to be canopy type doors as they do not have horizontally canopy up and over garage dor with steel sub framepositioned roller tracks or have shorter roller tracks still making the door panel protrude a third when open. The best definition is that a canopy one piece up and over garage door is any door with a torsion spring directly above the door panel and vertical side guides for the rollers at each side. There are still many double width older garage doors with spring systems across the middle of the door or double width doors with springs above the door but for remote control electric operation apply the simple rule of only making canopy garage doors up to 8 feet (2438mm) wide electrically operated.

Remember all canopy garage doors manufactured today are generally only available up to 8 feet wide (2438mm) and above that width they are all using retractable operating gear. Also remember canopy garage doors always give you the full width drive through when open and have no obstructions at the side which is one of the main reasons for using a canopy door when the door size is only 7 feet (2134mm) wide. You will usually need all of the width at this size to be able to use the door opening for a normal modern car to drive through without catching wing mirrors or door panels.

This short video shows a Hormann canopy garage door with a bow arm system working. The Hormann canopy doors are one of the easiest garage doors to automate with this bow arm system as the door panels are so strong and rigid avoiding any movement which may cause the operator to think it is detecting an obstacle and stop.

Many garage doors do not have sufficient panel strength to successfully automate with a bow arm system.

NEW: The Canopy Lifting Arm

Hormann and Garador have recently released a world-first in automating canopy up and over garage doors, introducing the canopy lifting arm.

Typically, canopy doors that are electrically operated are fitted with a bow-arm conversion which reduces drive-through height, as well as affecting the overall appearance of the internal side of the door.

The canopy lifting arm however, solves these issues as it sits in a different position and is simply fitted to the shutter boom,  which can be installed during the installation of a new garage door or at a later date. 

Read our news item to find out more >


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