Newly-developed hands-free door openers by a New York City-based design company make the task easier while also providing an affordable, easy-to-install device that promotes contactless, sanitary-safe entry.
The patent-pending 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.
igus shafts and bearings
Designed by Etienne Sauret, Peter Coulombe, and the team at MYT Wares, the product includes a 12-millimeter drylin® R hard-anodized aluminum shaft and iglide J sleeve bearing flanges from igus. Like all igus components, they are self-lubricating and offer extended service life.
Typically used in packaging, laboratories, kiosks, and 3D printing, 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. One of the most popular and versatile bearings in igus’ wide range of products, the product is frequently used in automation, cleanroom, aerospace engineering, and beverage technology. 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 unique rotating feature is a key component of the patent-pending 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.”
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. The MYT Wares hands-free door opener is the only system that offers this feature, Sauret said.
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.
“Everybody was incredibly helpful, right away when we needed it,’’ he said. “The fact that it’s the combination of the shaft and the bushing, that really expedited our design process. 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.”
No Assembly Required
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.
The device can be used in office buildings, manufacturing facilities, hotels, and more. It also saves money as it reduces the need for cleaning products, sanitary disinfectants, and sprays.