Charles R. Goulding looks to a future of touchless doors, helped along with 3D printing.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the famed infectious diseases expert, has stated that we won’t be shaking hands anymore. Likewise, no one is going to want to touch doorknobs anymore either. Pre-crisis, the primary users of touchless doors were hospitals, clean rooms, labs, pharmacies and facilities that accommodated the disabled. Now, the public is going to demand that commercial facilities have touchless doors. Increased residential applications will follow.
Many touchless door technologies and certainly new and improved designs are suitable for 3D printing. Assa Abloy, the large multi-national door and hardware manufacturer, has focused on 3D printing in their Future Lab communications.
Examples of touchless door technologies range from simple arm pulls to sensors.
Research and development tax credits are available to support touchless door innovation.
The Research & Development Tax Credit
Enacted in 1981, the now permanent Federal Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit allows a credit that typically ranges from 4%-7% of eligible spending for new and improved products and processes. Qualified research must meet the following four criteria:
Must be technological in nature
Must be a component of the taxpayer’s business
Must represent R&D in the experimental sense and generally includes all such costs related to the development or improvement of a product or process
Must eliminate uncertainty through a process of experimentation that considers one or more alternatives
Eligible costs include US employee wages, cost of supplies consumed in the R&D process, cost of pre-production testing, US contract research expenses, and certain costs associated with developing a patent.
On December 18, 2015, President Obama signed the PATH Act, making the R&D Tax Credit permanent. Beginning in 2016, the R&D credit has been used to offset Alternative Minimum Tax for companies with revenue below $50MM, and startup businesses can obtain up to $250,000 per year in cash rebates applied directly toward payroll taxes.
I doubt anyone will miss touching doorknobs. Even pre-coronavirus, doorknobs were becoming a thing of the past. 3D printing can help accelerate the much needed post-pandemic touchless conversion.