There are two factors driving the trend for handle-free cabinet design. Firstly, the smooth clean lines designers are currently pursuing, especially in the residential markets where the minimalist look has made a come-back.
To fulfil this demand drawer slide manufacturers are racing to the market with products that open the drawers in response to touch. Accuride International has developed a slide that needs no electrical power to open the drawer. The 3832TR is push-to-open drawer runner that holds the drawer or shelf in the closed position until activated by touch. The user simply pushes on the drawer front to actuate the mechanism, which propels the drawer open about 100mm.
The second reason for this trend is the growing need for accessibility. As populations age there is a greater need for accessibility in residential, commercial, institutional and public design and space planning.
Users who have difficulty grasping drawer handles, whether due to arthritis, diminished motor skills, or vision impairment find the push-to-open feature on this type of drawer easier to use.
With respect to public or institutional installations, there are increased safety and sanitary considerations with this type of drawer slide. Protruding handles and knobs are obstacles that can snag clothing or cause injury if bumped into.
From a cleanliness perspective, handles simply offer another surface to collect dirt and germs; clearly an undesirable condition in hospitals and clinics.
Apart from the traditional cabinetry applications for this push-to-open drawer slide there are further opportunities in portable cabinets and mobile equipment. A heavy duty version of the product is available for mobile applications such as recreational vehicles (motor homes or caravans) or marine interiors.
The smooth clean lines of handle-free drawer design is here to stay.
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