When it comes to lift doors, building managers have two concerns: that they open and close, and that they don’t injure anyone. Basic lift light curtains are designed to help with the latter, and there is clear safety legislation that regulates how they should protect users from injury. But with the advent of smart technology, you can expect more from light curtains. Find out how smart light curtains like Panachrome Plus can better protect your lift users, remain compliant, and protect your lifts from costly damage.

What are the safety requirements for lift door light curtains?

Light curtains – also known as detectors and safety edges– are a safety device made up of infrared beams to detect whether there’s a presence in the doors’ path.

Standard light curtains are made up of 36 of these beams, and they ensure doors stay open while passengers enter or exit the lift, or when an object is placed in the path of the doors, reducing the risk of injury and damage.

The most basic requirement by law is that light curtains can detect a 50-millimetre rod (the diameter of a child’s wrist) anywhere in the opening.

What stops lift doors from complying with legislation?

There are three main problems that can prevent your light curtains from working correctly, and therefore failing to comply with the legal safety requirements.


If someone obstructs the beams – with chewing gum or a sticker, for example – this can stop the light curtain from complying with legal regulations. To remain compliant, the lift will need to be out of service until the obstruction can be removed and everything is in good working order.

Of course, you will only know about an obstruction if you see it for yourself or someone tells you about it.

Liquid damage

This can be a real problem for light curtains, particularly if corrosive substances are involved. Water, hot and cold beverages accidentally being spilled, and less savoury liquids can all damage light curtains.

Even well-meaning cleaners can unintentionally cause light curtains to corrode by using corrosive cleaning products on them. If the damage is irreparable, the curtains will have to be replaced, causing significant downtime.

Again, you may not immediately be aware of damage to your light curtains, meaning that your lift may be non-compliant until the issue is brought to your attention.

The impact of door damage

There’s one more problem facing lift doors and, in fact, it’s the leading cause of lift failure: door damage.

Door damage can stop the lift doors from opening and closing, and put your lift out of action entirely. The majority of door damage is caused by impact: people trying to stop the doors closing by forcing an object between them. These efforts are usually rushed, and so suitcases, trolleys, boxes and crates are all forced into the door opening with excessive force that can damage both the light curtain and the door itself.

Sometimes these impacts pop the door out of its runners, which isn’t a huge job to fix. But if the doors are bent and need replacing, your lift might be out of action for days, not to mention the thousands of pounds it will cost.

Are basic light curtains up to the challenge?

Unfortunately, basic lift curtains have two flaws when it comes to compliance and preventing door damage.

The first is that, unfortunately, they can’t tell you remotely if they remain compliant; you have to examine them, meaning your lifts might be non-compliant without you knowing it.

The second is that they can’t adequately protect your lift from damage. And door damage is the leading cause of lift failure; it can cost thousands to repair and leave your lift out of action for extended periods.

Power up your lift with Panachrome Plus

As mentioned, basic light curtains have 36 infrared beams to detect a presence in the doors’ path. Memco’s Panachrome Plus, on the other hand, has 154. That means that Panachrome Plus light curtains can not only detect much smaller objects, but it can operate for longer with obstructions and minor damage to its beams.

Panachrome Plus even addresses the issue of impact by introducing a unique indicator system to tell lift users when the doors are opening or shutting. 

These green and red lights aren’t just a handy indicator for users; they can reduce impact damage by up to 90 percent.

The red lights tell users that the doors are closing and that they’ve missed the lift, encouraging them to slow down. And their expensive appearance discourages them from pushing an object into them to stop the doors!

Stay compliant with remote monitoring

Unlike basic light curtains, Panachrome Plus can tell you when obstructions or damage is interfering with its ability to comply with safety legislation.

When you connect Panachrome Plus within the Avire Ecosystem, the light curtain puts a wealth of data in your hands within the Avire Hub.

Panachrome Plus will inform you, via the Avire Hub, of how many times doors have opened and closed, whether an object is stuck between the doors, and whether its beams are blocked by an obstruction or if individual beams have stopped working.

Find out more

Speak to one of our experts today about how Panachrome Plus keeps your lifts compliant and helps you avoid inconvenient and costly door damages.

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