Throughout the history of lifts, continuous developments in technology have meant an opportunity to improve the passenger experience.

Back in the day when passenger elevators were first installed, they had manual doors, so people had to open and close them themselves. By the 1930s automatic doors were invented and a dedicated person acted as a dispatcher who would regulate the lift speed and stop the lift at each level. Eventually, a dispatcher software was developed which allowed this function to be automated.

However, automated doors remain a key elevator component, with almost constant passenger interaction. As insufficient protection can make doors liable to cause injury, unsurprisingly, they have become the number one source of lift-related lawsuits.

To minimise the risk of injury, lift doors include a door operator that controls the door force. There may also be a mechanical bumper on the door so when it does come into contact with something, it’ll automatically reopen to move away, however this should be viewed as the last resort.


The Standard responsible for defining the safety measures for doors is EN81-20. It requires the use of 3 safety products to protect passengers:

  • Door operator
  • Door reopening device

One of the requirements it makes is to include a door reopening device in the lift. This is typically a light curtain made up of a series of infrared beams. The standard says it will need to detect down to 50mm diameter rod, which is the equivalent to the diameter of the forearm of a small child.

Should a light curtain fail, EN81-20 compliant light curtains systems ought to have a diagnostic output installed that will indicate to the operator that the light curtains are no longer functioning on a compliant fashion and the door operator will then reduce the speed of the closing doors (they go into nudge mode).

Supplementing safety

There are also additional safety measures that can be put in place to protect passengers. 3D detection can be added to a system that allows the recognition of an approaching object, further reducing the likelihood of potential injuries to passengers by a door strike.

Including 3D as part of the safety setup for doors also reduces damages to the elevator itself, as this case study of the Copenhagen Airport demonstrates, by preventing door damage in the case of somebody pushing an appliance in front of them (for example a shopping trolley or a suitcase).


Avire offers a comprehensive range of safety solutions with cutting-edge technology that maximise passenger security.

Light curtains such as Panachrome+ offer the world’s most complete lift door safety mechanism with enhanced protection that can be monitored remotely on the Avire Hub, coloured red and green indicators to highlight door movement and is also available with 3D detection, extending passenger protection into the landing zone.

For an enhanced door protection system which provides 3D detection in the landing zone, explore Smart 3D. The system combines with Panachrome+ for infrared 2D detection and uses a small, separate device to utilise microwave radar technology for advanced 3D detection.

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