08.03.2024 • Topstoriesfire doors

Choosing Door Closers is a Critical Element of Fire Safety

Every now and then, news reminds us of the devastation that a large building fire can cause. One consequence is that fire doors now receive the attention and regulation that they deserve, both nationally and internationally. Just as important, however, is that a fire door must be properly closed to be effective. Assa Abloy has a complete range of door closing solutions to meet the needs and regulations of almost every type of of door in every building.

Assa Abloy Cam-Motion devices ensure that a fire door closes tightly. ©Assa...
Assa Abloy Cam-Motion devices ensure that a fire door closes tightly. ©Assa Abloy

The decision makers’ choice of door closer technology will make the difference for both new-builds and retrofit projects. “Historically, door hardware was overlooked in building fire safety,” says Andreas Gmelin, Product Management and Business Development Director Door Closers at Assa Abloy Opening Solutions EMEIA. “But over the last few years, its vital importance has been recognized. Doors are critical to providing fire protection and compartmentation.” However, he warns: “Like any door security technology, fire protection will only work if the door is fully closed, preventing the spread of fire and smoke. Relying on building occupants to do this 100 % of the time is, alas, not realistic.”
 

Door Closers and Fire Safety: The ROI

A certified and properly installed door closer will build a fire barrier to aid escape and slow a blaze’s progress. After analysing one recent tragedy in New York, city officials said properly closed doors would have resulted in a lower death toll. Every element on a fire door – not just the leaf – must be tested to industry standards and certified. This includes door and architectural furniture, among which are the highly important door closing devices. “Companies that supply life-critical building equipment must be confident in its reliability and performance in real-world situations,” adds Andreas Gmelin. “Most architects and building specifiers now request product datasheets with primary fire test data from an accredited third-party testing house.”

The broad portfolio of Assa Abloy door closing solutions is fully tested and certified to meet the needs and regulations of all kinds of door for every building, whether new or renovated. “There is an effective, efficient Assa Abloy door closer available for almost any opening, of any door size or type,” adds Andreas Gmelin. Besides full test coverage, the correct installation is also critical, as Fire Safety Week highlights: “Fire doors are not ordinary doors. They are a carefully engineered fire safety device and must be fitted correctly.” All Assa Abloy product labels include QR codes which link directly to installation walk-through videos to support the installers.
 

Cam-Motion vs. Rack-and-Pinion Guiderail Technology

Cam-Motion door closers provide an ergonomic opening experience for everyone who passes through the door. The push force required falls rapidly on opening. The door can be configured to shut reliably each time because Assa Abloy Cam-Motion devices’ closing force and latch speeds are independently adjustable. Thermo-resistant valves with metal heads, rather than plastic, ensure that adjustments are dependable: once door speeds are set, they stay set. Even with wind pressure, draughts, stack pressure or air suction, the doors shut tight.
In contrast, rack-and-pinion door closers are more common and cost-effective, but tend not to operate as efficiently for fire doors, according to the UK’s Fire Protection Association. All Assa Abloy Cam-Motion devices are tested to the European EN 1154 standard for fire and smoke protection. The door closers’ symmetric cam is designed to fit to either the frame or the door, and on the hinge or the non-hinge side, whatever suits the opening best, with no compromises or workarounds needed by the installer.
 

Unhindered Access

Of course, these doors must be operable by everyone. The door closers also exceed the recommendations of CEN/TR 15894, which gives architects, building managers and users confidence that a building design will keep occupants safer, and that the interior is reliable and user-friendly, with special attention paid to children, the elderly and the disabled. “The degree of so-called ‘passive fire protection’ given by a fire door is greatly enhanced by the intelligent technology inside an Assa Abloy door closer,” says Andreas Gmelin.

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ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions EMEIA

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