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Q:What are Infra Red Beams used for?

The infra red photocell safety you may see banded around on various door types can be misleading
Infra red safety beams are a device used to put a single beam across a door way which when broken by an obstruction prevents any electric operator from working. They have been around for years and are used in many different types of doors, especially commercially in public places. However for garage doors, particularly roller garage doors they are NOT devices that are suitable to be used on their own as the safety feature!!  Any remote control electric operated garage door must have a 'leading edge safety device' that functions throughout the entire movement of the door. These devices on roller doors are usually bottom edge rubber seals with various methods of detection inside, sometimes even an infra red beam! The rubber seal is designed to detect any obstruction when the door is closing and immediately stop the motor drive and even reverse a little.
For a roller garage door where extra safety might be required, for example if it is near a busy public path, or if you have a small children, then an infra red beam, correctly positioned, adds an extra element of safety in prevention of door closure when the beam is obstructed. The beam on it own is not sufficient as it only detects an obstruction assuming the obstruction cannot straddle or go under the beam, maybe on a large 4 x 4 vehicle for example where the vehicle body height may be higher than the beam position.

This downloadable Pdf from the DHF (Door and Hardware Federation) might help explain further but whenever we survey and specify for a remote control electric door we ensure there is a correct safety system being used.

Download PDF file >

The motor drive units used in most up and over and sectional garage doors have an inbuilt detection system that detects a current surge when the door is obstructed and most of these are very sensitive and effective when set up correctly but again an infra red beam can be ADDED as an additional safety function. For any sliding garage doors such as the round the corner type and for more complex doors with multiple hinges we don't think you can add too many safety devices especially when the door is very large as the forces required to move the door are greater and therefore so is the force required to stop it and initiate a detection of an obstruction and this is where a safety beam does make sense.

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