Elevator Door Protection from TL Jones


This article looks at the history, growth and future of TL Jones’ Microscan technology.

Having a long history in the elevator industry has helped TL Jones become a recognizable worldwide leader in elevator door-safety technology. In fact, in some parts of the world, the company’s Microscan® product has become a generic name for infrared door light curtains. Established in 1926 in Christchurch, New Zealand, Welshman Dr. Thomas Luftus Jones laid the foundation for a heritage of engineering excellence. Moving into the manufacture of its own brand of “Mercury Lifts” (elevators from the 1940s to 1990s), TL Jones became a leader in infrared technology for door protection systems in the 1970s. In 1991, the elevator-manufacturing division was sold to Schindler, and TL Jones became solely focused on the Microscan infrared door detector.

While in recent years TL Jones has expanded into other elevator products, door sensors remain its focus.  Microscan elevator door systems have been installed in hundreds of thousands of elevators around the world. The core infrared technology is proven, stable and remains a useful solution for passenger safety.  

Microscan technology has enabled TL Jones to strategically partner with elevator OEMs both on a global and local level and form bulk supply contracts. 

By value, China was the largest market for elevators and equipment in the world in 2008 and was forecast to represent 45% of the additional demand generated between 2008 and 2013. Predicting this growth, TL Jones established its second Microscan production facility in Shanghai in the mid 1990s to be closer to the market. Similarly, India is a rapidly growing market with the country’s elevator and equipment demand quadrupling between 2003 and 2011, and more than US$1 billion in new elevator equipment produced in 2010 alone. TL Jones now also manufactures door detectors in its third factory in Mumbai, which was commissioned in 2011.

Microscan elevator door detectors can be found in many high-profile construction projects throughout the world. Just one of many examples is the Shanghai Financial Center, located in the Pudong District of Shanghai. A hub of culture and information, the tower boasts state-of-the-art security and urban facilities, including the world’s tallest observatory.

Shanghai World Financial Center features TL Jones’ Microscan elevator door detectors.

TL Jones offers strict adherence to all regional elevator system statutory codes. Europe’s EN 81 code for elevators and the U.S. and Canada’s ASME A17 codes for elevators suggest the following minimum standards for elevator door protection:

  • The coverage area should be 6 ft. (1,800 mm), with the lowest beam 1 in. (25 mm) from the car sill level and the highest beam 6 ft. from the car sill.
  • An adequate number of criss-cross beams must exist between the two aforementioned points.
  • The sensor (light curtain) should prevent physical contact between the leading edge of the door and the passenger.

All TL Jones Microscan products meet these standards and were among the first elevator door detectors to be rated at IP65 and NEMA4 on both the transmitter and receiver units for water and dust resistance. In addition, they are immune to high levels of sunlight and have a response time of 65 ms (transistor) and 80 ms (relay).

The Range of Infrared Door Sensors M Series

Microscan M Series door sensors provide low- and high-resolution infrared protection for all types of elevators. The M Series is designed for OEM elevator manufacturers and is available in two profiles capable of working together in a mix-and-match configuration, ensuring these units will fit into almost any installation. Fast installation in the field means the M Series is ideal for modernization projects and a suitable solution for the rapidly growing residential elevator market due to its small profile. A variety of sight guards is provided, allowing deployment on lifts with a range of running clearances.


TL Jones was also among the first to combine infrared technology with traditional-style mechanical shoes, offering a secondary safety measure where a preference may exist for mechanical device backup or during lift refurbishment when a mechanical device is being upgraded. Profiles are made to suit a manufacturer’s requirements, and all standard OEM designs are available.

2D Premium

The Microscan D Series provides non-contact door protection. The D Series’ 200 and 200SL units offer full protection with a number of enhanced performance features, setting the product apart from others, along with a choice of beam-pattern protection. Available in the standard 40-mm profile or the slim 10-mm profile, the D Series is available in varying lengths to suit any elevator model. This model is an appropriate solution for premium hotels and commercial buildings.

3D Premium

TL Jones also offers Microscan models featuring 3D detection for protection. Additional infrared directional capability enables detection from the elevator doors into the elevator lobby space. Anti-nuisance software eliminates the detection of movement parallel with the elevator doors. The 3D Microscan units are ideally suited for premium and high-traffic construction projects such as hotels, hospitals and airports.

A variety of complimentary products support the full range, including power supplies, sight guards in 8-, 18-, and 28-mm widths, mounting clips for slamming post or side-opening installations, and plug-and-play or bootlace ferrule cable extension kits.

TL Jones’ Global Network

The company’s move into China in 1994 was an early phase of a program to place capability in the elevator service markets. TL Jones joined the Halma Elevator Safety Division in 1999 and now boasts a network of 14 of its own facilities and in partnership with division sister companies, 26 sales and service locations across five continents, offering an extensive range of parts for lifts. With manufacturing in four countries and R&D in Singapore, New Zealand and Shanghai, and powered by more than 130 employees in multiple offices in seven countries, distributor partners in another 14 and products installed in more than 60 countries, TL Jones earned a reputation for producing quality elevator safety products.

Related Tags

Elevator World | February 2012 Cover