Counter flaps are a familiar sight in a wide range of settings. From reception desks and service counters in offices, apartments, hotels and shops to bars in licensed premises and restaurants, counter flaps provide a convenient and often necessary portal for staff. They are often preferred to a vertical door because the flaps provide continuity in the horizontal work surface when closed.
There are, however, two main drawbacks with counter flap design. In order to match the depth, shape and material of the rest of the desk, flaps can often be heavy and cumbersome to lift open. Then when it comes to closing, this same weight poses a considerable injury risk in the form of trapped fingers, as well as causing potential damage to fixtures and fittings if the flap is dropped or slammed.
With all of our products, Sugatsune sets out to apply our renowned expertise in precision engineering and decades of experience in furniture and architectural hardware to solving real life problems our customers face. Starting from the basic concept of dampers for hinges, doors, lids and covers, we have developed a world-class range of soft close mechanisms which deliver smooth, silent, controlled motion in a variety of applications from kitchen cabinets to internal doors.
For counter flaps and similar hinged horizontal aprons, recognising the twin issues of weight when opening and the risks of injury or damage when closing, we have developed a dual-purpose solution – Lift Assist Dampers (LADs). Designed to slow the motion of a counter flap late in the closing arc to bring it to a soft, smooth finish, our LADs help to protect fingers when people might be caught unaware by the speed of normal closure. But in an additional innovation, the dampers also provide a lift assist mechanism which makes heavy counter tops feel light when opening.
Comprising an arm unit mounted vertically on the main workstation and a damper unit mounted underneath the flap itself, our standard LAD is extremely discreet and easy to install, including retrofitting on existing counters. The standard LAD allows 180o movement so the flap can lie flat against the counter top when open.
For larger, heavier counters, we also produce the LADH range. Making use of a revised mechanism which includes a damper and arm on the main counter and a catch plate on the underside of the apron.
Our LADH differs from the standard LAD in that it catches and holds the flap open at 95o. Many customers find this preferable, as it avoids the issue of having to lift a heavy panel all the way up from horizontal to close it. Recognising the convenience of this, we also offer a standard LAD modified with a stopper (LAD-ST), which also holds the flap open at 95o.
When calculating the size of the counter tops our LADs are suitable for, the thickness has to be within a certain parameter of 30-50mm, the width and weight need to be taken into account (to calculate how much torque the flap generates). For example, our heaviest duty LADH can support a 400mm wide flap up to 25kg, or 800mm up to 12.5 kg.
While the LAD range focuses on providing a soft close and lift assist solution for the specific case of counter flaps, we also understand that this kind of premium quality smooth motion control is desirable in other situations. For example, Sugatsune offers a range of folding brackets for shelves and table extensions which combine the function of support and hinge in one. Our EB brackets automatically lock in an open position, with a release lever allowing them to be folded closed.
Based on the same principle as the LAD range, we also produce a special damper which can be located between a pair of EB hinges. Again, the catch mechanism slows the motion of the apron, mitigating against the risk of a shelf or table slamming when the bracket is released and instead bringing it to its resting position in a smooth, controlled manner.
If you would like to learn more about any of the products mentioned in this newsletter, or find out more about our extensive range of brackets and shelving systems, please give our friendly customer services team a call on
01189 272 95.