Infrared, the origin of Optex

− Optex becomes a pioneer of automatic doors with its infrared technology −

About 40 years ago, Optex developed automatic door sensors for the first time in the world, using far-infrared rays which had been used mainly for military applications.
Infrared rays can be said to be the origin of Optex.

What are infrared rays?

In 1800, astronomer Sir W. Herschel analyzed sunlight by letting them pass through a prism and separate, and conducted an experiment, placing a thermometer at the position outside of the visible spectrum of red light.
In the experiment, the temperature rose at the spot outside of the visible spectrum, so he concluded that invisible red light exists beyond from red light, and thus existence of infrared rays was proved.

Infrared rays are one kind of electromagnetic waves familiar to people.

Infrared rays are contained in electromagnetic waves which can be classified by their wavelengths.
Electromagnetic waves include microwaves used in microwave ovens, infrared, TV and radio electric waves, light visible to human eyes, ultraviolet rays, X-rays, and so on.

Near-infrared rays

Near-infrared rays are the closest to visible light (red).
They can be applied as 'light that cannot be seen, but that is similar to visible light' as it has properties close to visible light.
Generally, it is used to infrared communication in mobile phones and remote controllers of electric appliances.

Far-infrared rays

Far-infrared rays are the electromagnetic waves closest to microwave.
Infrared rays have the same property as heat rays as they are emitted from all the substances without exception. The higher the temperature of a substance, the stronger the infrared rays it radiates.
It is thanks to far-infrared rays that people can enjoy charcoal-grilling outdoors.

Column: Optex’s success and failure

In 1980, Optex developed the world’s first far-infrared automatic door sensor.

The world’s first far-infrared
automatic door sensor
In 1980, Optex, with passionate venture spirit, introduced a sensational product, an automatic door sensor with far-infrared sensor in the industry where automatic doors with step-on rubber mats were the mainstreams.
The product was designed in just a week and was developed in a few months.
This innovative model spearheading the world was developed as a result of passionate efforts.
In the third year after its foundation, Optex successfully gained the top share in automatic door sensors, without allowing its competitors to follow suit in maintenance or installation services.

Failure turned into a priceless assets.

However, after a while Optex began receiving complaints.
“Doors open and shut by themselves.'The cause of the malfunction was not identified.Engineers started to become irritated.
It was June. The rainy season was continuing and sales representatives were busy running around dealing with customer complaints, sweating in the humid weather .
An engineer came up with an idea, seeing people struggling with the problems.It’s the humidity.
Immediately after that, he reproduced an environment with high temperature and humidity, using an electric jar.
He found that moisture penetrated into the core part of the sensors. Components of sensors procured form overseas were not able to adapt to Japan's climate with its high humidity.
This experience was a precious lesson for Optex. Since this incident, Optex repeatedly conducts tests under various environmental conditions, and continues to make efforts to obtain high reliability and safety.