Hands-free door opener provides sanitary-safe entry

May 13, 2021 - 01:15am

A new hands-free door opener includes self-lubricating, long-lasting components from igus. (Photo courtesy of MYT Wares)A hands-free door opener by a New York City-based design company make the task easier while also providing a device that promotes contactless, sanitary-safe entry.

The hands-free openers from MYT Wares in Brooklyn include components from igus, the Germany-based manufacturer of motion plastics. The company runs its North American operations out of Providence, R.I.

The hands-free handle lever door opener can be used in commercial and residential applications without replacing or changing any existing handle lever hardware, is 2.7 ADA compliant and is designed to work with most handle levers.

Shafts and bearings

Designed by Etienne Sauret, Peter Coulombe and the team at MYT Wares, the product includes a 12-mm drylin R hard-anodized aluminum shaft and iglide J sleeve bearing flanges from igus.

The drylin shaft offers cleaner, more cost-effective results even in harsh environments. The shaft has a high-wear resistance and is also corrosion resistant.

The sleeve bearing also has high-wear resistance, but the critical feature for this application is the low coefficient of friction. The low-stick tendency of iglide J bearings is especially important at very low speeds, such as those in this application.

“The shaft glides up and down between two igus bushings,’’ Sauret said. “It was very important to have a very low coefficient of friction between the two. This assembly basically answered three core questions for us. The ability to go up and down, to rotate, and to do so without sound.”

The rotating feature is key component of the design and instrumental in the ability to swivel along with the user when opening a door. “The rotational motion does not limit a user’s arms as they move to go through the door,” Sauret said. “Additionally, this smooth motion prevents discomfort or even injury.”

Product Development

Sauret considered designing a hands-free door opener for several years. “There are a lot of people who do not like to touch door handles,’’ Sauret said. In addition, opening doors with handles can be hard to execute while holding coffee, a briefcase, heavy boxes or office equipment.

Initially, Sauret thought about designing the product after conversations with a friend who manages real estate property in New York. He wanted to create a solution that could make it easier for people to open doors. “The pandemic accelerated the process,’’ Sauret said. “We thought it was important to come up with something in response to that.”

The primary challenge was to create a solution that people would intuitively know its function and how to operate it. The other challenge was designing the door opener so that it would work easily and reliably.

“We went through a lot of different iterations of this product, and it was either too hard to push down or it didn’t swivel nice enough or it swiveled too far,’’ Sauret said. “We had to figure out what ideal angle of swivel would be for most people. There was a lot of trial and error.”

The igus Solution

Early designs of the device did not include components from igus. Sauret, however, had used igus components in other applications and turned to the company to develop the ultimate solution.

 “The fact that it’s the combination of the shaft and the bushing, that really expedited our design process,’’ he said. “Because one source was providing us both the means to which the shaft was actually sliding with a very low coefficient of friction suddenly made the whole solution less complicated. Having an integrated solution was critical in getting this done quickly.”

The MYT Wares hands-free door opener comes fully assembled with all hardware and can be mounted inside and outside  the door. It mounts on any surface and can be installed with double-sided tape or bolts.

For more information, visit the website at https://hands-free-dooropener.com/home/.

For more information on igus inc., phone the company at 800-521-2747 or visit at www.igus.com.

Related Glossary Terms

  • bushing


    Cylindrical sleeve, typically made from high-grade tool steel, inserted into a jig fixture to guide cutting tools. There are three main types: renewable, used in liners that in turn are installed in the jig; press-fit, installed directly in the jig for short production runs; and liner (or master), installed permanently in a jig to receive renewable bushing.


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