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Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and Axis Flo-Motion® Doors

Axis Automatic Entrance Systems News and PR from Axis Automatic Entrance Systems - Published 16 January 2017 The team designing the new Children’s Hospital at Alder Hey in Liverpool put all pre-conceptions aside and determined to design something genuinely new, radical and patient friendly
Three quarters of patients will be in single rooms rather than the 18 bed Nightingale wards of the old Alder Hey Hospital and thereÂ’s an outdoor balcony overlooking the park on each floor. The importance of light and airiness was absolutely vital to the whole design concept and this meant the doors for each of the patientÂ’s rooms had to be very special. Each had to be large for ease of access for beds and equipment, glazed for brightness and airiness, have privacy blinds for examinations or just occasional solitude, and finally they had to be easily opened and closed - by a child.

One or two of these features can be achieved by door suppliers without too many problems but finding a door that met them all was a major project. They also specified that most of the doors would have to be manually operated as automatics would create their own problems of power supplies, battery back-ups, fire alarm linkage and tying in with the Building Management System. Whilst that may be relatively simple for a handful of doors it was prohibitively expensive for over 200 doors of this size and specification and potential issues of reliability and maintenance could be anticipated.

After an extensive search, only one company came up with an effective, practical solution and that was Axis Automatic Entrance Systems Limited based in Northampton. In fairness, doors up to 1800mm wide and 2700mm high are not that excessive, even for glazed doors. However, the Venetian blinds had to be integrated into the doors for infection control and to avoid expensive cleaning and maintenance. So these were sealed between two panes of glass with magnetic controls to avoid an “infection bridge” into the glazing gap. That just left the problem of opening and closing with some of the doors now weighing up to 160kg each.

At this point Axis turned to Accuride International, also based in Northampton, and together they developed the sliding mechanism for what has become the Axis Flo-Motion® Door System. Using re-circulating ball guides on a special low resistance linear track, the doors slide so easily that an ingenious damper had to be designed to absorb the energy of the heavy doors so they did not slam into the end of the track. The door sets are fabricated using extruded aluminium profiles and include a self supporting “goal post” frame.

Each sliding door is operated with minimal effort using fingertip control on back to back nylon handles. A maximum of 22N had been specified as the opening or closing force required and actual testing of the doors in situ showed them all to be well under that figure with an average of less than 10N. An astonishing performance for doors of this size and weight.

David Houghton, NHS Health Park Project Manager at Alder Hey said “The extra-large, easy opening, glazed sliding doors have transformed the way single rooms work to deliver healthcare with a choice of privacy or social interaction when required without the loss of clinical observation.”
After an extensive search, only one company came up with an effective, practical solution and that was Axis Automatic Entrance Systems

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