Window safety systems - discreet and reliable 'bodyguards'
Did you know that the risk of an accident at home is greater than in traffic? That’s according to the latest figures from offices for statistics. Hazards are everywhere in the home. Even windows can be a problem. But reliable protection overcomes this problem.
Danger zones around the window
Hazardous zones with automatic windows © GEZE GmbH
Windows are popular entry points for burglars. The term ‘window safety’ is therefore understood to mean mechanical theft protection. It is designed to make breaking in from the outside more difficult or impossible. But people often forget: windows also pose other risks. They may, for example, spring open in windy conditions or drop down during cleaning, thus causing injury. And what happens if someone leans out of a window, and it automatically begins to close? Or if a child puts their finger on the closing edge? ‘Window safety systems’ are designed to protect against such serious injuries.
Potential hazards of automatic windows
- Automatic opening or closing may jam/crush limbs, or cause impact
- Component failure such as a window leaf falling/collapsing
Protective measures for windows
Power-operated windows need special protective measures.
Safety elements are often prescribed for automated windows with a drive system. These must recognise when a person or an object is in the path of opening or closing, and subsequently stop the movement. In the event of a malfunction, a window must be prevented from flying open or dropping down too. This is achieved via mechanical safeguards - on bottom-hung windows which are inward-opening this may be by means of a gripping and cleaning scissor stay, or via a safety scissor.
Product Safety Act, guidelines and standards
Window safety applies to both manually-operated and electric windows.
Power-operated or automated windows are machines as defined in the European Machinery Directive MRL 2006/42/EC. In the European Union, this covers a standardised level of protection for machines to prevent accidents. The objective is to “ensure the safety and health of people, particularly of employees and users, and also of pets and objects if necessary, particularly with regard to handling machinery”. The Machinery Directive is implemented in Germany via the Product Safety Act (ProdSG) and the Machinery Ordinance (9. ProdSV) that is based on it.
Product standards for windows
Additional safety features which protect users of windows and doors against hazards arising from improper operation, use, or system failure are covered in the EN 14351-1 product standard for windows. Gripping and cleaning scissor stays or safety scissors, dogging mechanisms and opening restrictors are mechanical components that are suitable for preventing accidents and dangers.
Power-operated windows also fall within the scope of product standard EN 14351-1. EN 60335-2-103 applies to the safety of electric drives in use.
Risk assessment and determining protection ratings
A risk assessment must be performed during building planning to determine the risk potential of a motor-driven window, and to implement appropriate safeguard in responses. The installer of the window performs the assessment in compliance with the Machinery Directive, and based on:
- Installation situation
Windows where the lower edge of the leaf is at least 2.5 m above the floor or that have a reveal do not require further protection. Freely accessible windows where the lower edge of the leaf has a clearance of less than 2.5 m from the floor are at greater risk, and a risk analysis must be carried out.
- Type of room use
Offices, living areas, kindergartens, schools, or hospitals are assessed differently. After all, children requiring protection are considerably less aware of the risks than a user group that is fully familiar with the equipment.
An automated and centrally controlled window, such as via rain-wind controls or a building management system, are considered to be more dangerous compared to a manually operated window with key switch and visual contact with the window.
The installer’s assessment results in the required protection rating. and the appropriate measures to be implemented:
- Protection rating 0: no measures
- Protection rating 1: warning notices
- Protection rating 2: e.g. signals
- Protection rating 3: e.g. key operation
- Protection rating 4: e.g. light curtains
Window safety systems from GEZE
GEZE uses the term ‘window safety system’ to refer to special solutions that support user safety and protect people from the hazards of automated windows.
For automatically controlled windows, for example, GEZE sensor solutions help. These components reliably protect the dangers posed by the pinch and shear edges. When using actuators to operate tilt windows (open / close) there is a potential risk of the window sash falling down. Therefore, GEZE compulsorily prescribes the use of - separate, that means not connected to the drive, "GEZE Safety Shears". The GEZE safety cutters ensure that a permanently fixed connection between frame and sash - independent of the drive - is guaranteed. Only when using the GEZE safety shears (Type 35 or Type60) is the powered tilting window safe against falling. If the safety shear is missing, the tilting window must not be operated.
Falling casements can pose a significant danger to the life and limb of those in the vicinity. Therefore, the use of GEZE safety cutters is mandatory when using GEZE drives on tilt windows. These secure the window in the event of component failure, such as Break of the chain of a drive or breakage of the window hinge in addition.
GEZE window safety via safety scissors
Safety scissors prevent uncontrolled falling of large and heavy window leaves in the tilted position in the event of an unexpected malfunction. The safety scissor kicks in to take up the load only if the drive fails.
GEZE safety scissor no. 35
For product liability reasons, installation of safety scissors on automatically operated bottom-hung leaves is mandatory. They ensure a permanent connection between the leaf and the frame in the event of malfunction. © GEZE GmbH
GEZE gripping and cleaning scissor stay (FPS)
Gripping and cleaning scissor stays: these are designed to make exterior cleaning easier and to protect manually operated bottom-hung leaves. If bottom-hung leaves need to be cleaned from outside, then the leaf is tilted further inwards. The window leaf is manually locked into a cleaning position to hold it in place. Additional safeguarding of the leaf position is required in this cleaning position in order to restrict the tilting movement. © GEZE GmbH
GEZE window safety systems for automated windows
In the case of a protection rating 2 hazard, for example, acoustic warning signals such as the GEZE signal horn or an emergency stop switch can be installed on the window. In addition, structural measures such as mobile installations in front of the window can help prevent access.
For protection rating 3 GEZE provides, for example, a dead man’s control without a higher level control system. The push button is not in the immediate vicinity of the danger area, however it is within view of the window to ensure the window is operated with due caution. This means that a window can be moved only by making a conscious effort. GEZE provides a comprehensive range of controls that can be operated with ventilation switches with a dead man’s function.
All drives in the GEZE IQ windowdrive series are delivered with a closing speed of 5mm/second, leaving users with sufficient time to move away from the danger zone. In addition, all GEZE IQ windowdrive series products have adjustable opening strokes and speeds.
In areas of the highest protection rating, namely protection rating 4, contact-based or non-contact protective devices ensure the required security. In general, switch strips or non-contact protective sensors provide protection. At GEZE, this solution consists of sensors, a safety switching device, and a control device.
GEZE window safety systems with sensors
Window safety via a laser scanner sensor
Automatic windows can practically be controlled by rain-wind controls or a building management system without visual contact. Automatic operation means, however, that there is a risk of people being injured on the window edges. These windows can be secured via sensors in specific installation situations and depending on the window type and the structural circumstances. Sensors - either light curtains or laser scanners - enable large-scale protection of individual windows or several windows. If windows are operated automatically, a safety switching device reliably switches off the drive. The different sensor solutions can be integrated unobtrusively into façades, ceiling or frame elements.
Components of GEZE window safety systems with sensors © GEZE GmbH
The GEZE range covers non-contact pinch protection for different window types, both inward and outward-opening. Depending on the window type and installation position, a particular window may be secured with a suitable sensor - either via an active infrared control curtain or a laser scanner. The various sensors allow individual closing edges or whole façade sections to be protected.
The securing variants with the GEZE GC 339 active infrared light curtain and the GEZE LZR_I100 laser scanner are shown below by way of example.
GEZE GC 339 active infrared light curtain
Invisible and non-contact protective device. Self-monitoring light curtain to protect the main and secondary closing edges of the window. © GEZE GmbH
GEZE LZR-I100 laser scanner
Self-monitoring sensor which is used to protect one or several windows within a façade and allow for a large detection area. © GEZE GmbH
Project-specific support from the very start
GEZE provides support during the planning of automated windows and offers comprehensive assistance – as early as the technical project planning and risk analysis. Optimal functional and cost-effective solutions are always in line with project-specific circumstances.
Advantages of window safety systems:
- Reliable protection against dangers arising from pinching and shearing edges on automatic windows. A high safety standard is achieved which, for example, prevents undetected failure or manipulation of the sensors.
- Non-contact system: by using non-contact sensors, the window automatically reverses when it receives a signal from the sensors, thus preventing collision with people.
- Unobtrusive appearance: sensors and safety scissor can be integrated into the window so that there is no visual impairment.
Customised solutions, simple installation and training
Installers must take appropriate measures to minimise potential hazards when installing power-operated windows.
- Customised packages: thanks to the flexibility offered when selecting components, highly customised packages can be created that will provide the perfect solution for any customer need.
- Simple installation: The protection components are supplied ready-wired in a compact housing. Installation simply requires the window drive, the supply voltage and the sensors to be connected.
- Everything from a single source: The entire system is available from a single source. Installation engineers and/or distributors have a single point of contact for all system components.
GEZE installations comply with all safety aspects
Users can be reassured that GEZE installations comply with all safety aspects.
Furthermore, GEZE offers its customers everything from a single source: window drives, sensors, scissors, installation, and after-sales service.
Even where additional windows requirements come into the equation such as RWA, networking of windows and doors, etc., GEZE can help.