A Look into Automatic Gates

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A Look into Automatic Gates

Automatic gates are increasingly becoming popular not only in the industrial sector but also in residential estates. For those who are considering installing an automatic gate, it is essential to know the various types of gates, how they work and more importantly, what to know before buying one.

Automatic gates serve an essential role in controlling access at the entrance of premises not only by people but also vehicles. However, automatic gates have an additional purpose in that it can be used in areas within a facility such controlling spaces in a parking lot.

Essential Parts of an Automatic Gate

As much as automatic gates consist of many components, the two basic parts include the gate and the gate operator.

The gate is the main object which opens up or blocks the gate opening. Most gates are made out of chain-link material or from iron. As one determines which material should be used to make their automatic gate, it is important to consider the fencing around where the gate will be fitted as the two need to go well together.

On the other hand, the gate operator is critical machinery that facilitates movement of the gate such that it can be able to close or open. The type of gate operator informs the decision as to whether it will be gear-driven, hydraulic or if it will use a chain drive mechanism. Regardless of the type, most of them are electrically-powered.

The Available Kinds of Automatic Gates

  • Slide Gate

Otherwise known as “rolling gates”, slide gates are arguably one of the most common types of gate that are used in light-duty commercial application. It employs the use of rollers to cause the gate to slide horizontally back and forth when either opening or closing the gate opening. A metallic rack, which has been installed along where the gate opening is, enables the movement of the rollers.

However, there have been concerns that these metallic racks tend to get blocked by debris or snow. Also, this type of gate might cause the gate operator to use more energy while working as the rollers bring about friction.

  • Cantilever Gate

This gate has been compared to the slide gate in that they share some similarities. However, it should be noted that the difference between these two gates is attributed to the fact that the cantilever gates make use of rails, instead of rollers, to support the gate. These rails are found inside the fence structure. The advantageous bit is that due to the counterbalance and the rails, there won’t be challenges brought about by friction.

  • Swing gate

They are referred as swing gates because they swing when they are opening or closing. This is made possible by hinging one side of the gate such that it operates like a door. When a swing gate is opened, it moves and forms a 90-degree arc. This kind of gate might either be in form of a double leaf or a single leaf. Also, whereas some open by swinging inside the premises, others move towards the outer side.

This gate has become a popular choice for residential homes due to the various benefits that it has. For instance, the swing gate is easier to install compared to some of the other types. Additionally, it is less expensive. However, it is vital for those that have this kind of gate to learn about the necessary safety precautions.

Automatic Gates - Swing Gate

  • Vertical Lift Gate

For vertical gates to function correctly, one has to install high vertical towers that support the gate. This is because they make a vertical upwards and downwards movement when opening and closing respectively. Compared to the other types of gates, vertical lift gates take up a smaller space. This makes them convenient for people that have a limited space. However, they might not be the best choice for residential premises due to their “industrial” feel.

  • Vertical Pivot Lift Gate

This type of gate is similar to the vertical lift gate. However, unlike vertical lift gates, they do not rely on support provided by vertical structures. They obtain their support solely from the gate operator. Vertical pivot lift gates function by making an in and out rotation from the gate opening. These gates require the use of springs to act as a counterweight. Some people have considered it as not having the same reliability as the simple vertical lift gate.

  • Bi-Folding Gate

The two panels fold back when allowing one access to the compound. Most of the bi-folding gates that are available currently come in pairs. This allows for each part to be on one side of the gate opening. It is important to know the specific model that one would like. This is because for some of them to operate effectively; they need to install a track on either end of the gate.

This type is also suitable in situations where there is lack of enough space. The opening speed of bi-folding gates are faster compared to some of the other types of gates. As much as some might consider this as an advantage, it also poses the risk of entrapment.

  • Barrier Arm Gates

Due to how they are designed, these gates are recommended for those who wish to control vehicular access. Therefore, barrier arm gates can conveniently be used in parking facilities.  They have a vertical barrier that is located within the gate opening. The arm of this barrier can travel upwards by a 90-degree arc to allow for vehicles to pass. However, its design makes it not to be suitable for controlling access by people as they can easily pass over the barrier.

barrier arm

Automatic Gate Accessories That You Should Consider

When one has an automatic gate, they might have to consider purchasing some accessories. These accessories work together with the automatic gate to ensure better performance. They include:

  • Intercom systems

These systems provide an effective way for visitors to communicate with someone on the inside. They are can be installed at the gate to allow for verification of the identity of a visitor.

  • Access Control Systems

There are various access control devices such as digital keypads, card readers or wireless transmitters that can be moved from one place to the other. These devices can be used when seeking entrance at automatic gates and doors such as those in offices.

  • Video Surveillance

Video cameras can be set up at the gate. When used together with the intercom system, one can not only confirm their identity through the voice but also through the visual images that they are receiving on their end.

  • Emergency Access

In case of an emergency, police officers or firefighters might need immediate access to someone’s property. Therefore, it is essential that one should install devices which can allow such people to obtain access at all times. Examples of such devices include sensors which can be activated by the ringing of a siren and key boxes among others.

  • Devices that allow for free exit

Various devices such as pressure switches can be used by those who seek to have gates which can open automatically when a vehicle is on its way out.

  • Devices that promote safety

Due to their weight and the speed at which they move, automatic gates pose a risk of injury not only to persons but also to property. For this reason, people who are planning on installing an automatic gate are advised to be aware of the safety considerations that they should make.

The Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Standard 325 provides an informative guideline of the safety precautions to be followed when operating an automatic gate. This includes how the various gate operators work. It also gives detailed directions that reduce the chances of entrapment.

Some of the safety devices include audio warning devices, pressure sensors among others. It is important to follow the steps which have been highlighted in the UL 325 so as to avoid lawsuits for injuries that occurred at the gate.

What to Consider When Choosing Automatic Gates

  • Opening size

This is an important consideration as it will determine the type of gate that can be installed. Also, it is crucial that one knows that the width of the gate opening will directly impact on the costs involved.

  • Space

As already highlighted earlier there are certain automatic gates, such as the vertical lift gate, which are suitable for places with limited amounts of space. Therefore, before choosing a specific type of gate over another, one should consider the availability of space.

  • The opening and closing speed

Consider the speed at which the gate will be opening and closing. If in a busy area such as an airport, it is advisable to go for an automatic gate that opens and closes at a fast speed. This is so as to avoid traffic.

  • Weight of the gate

This is an important consideration as it will assist in making the right choice of a gate operator. The weight of a gate is determined by several factors such as the material it is constructed of, its height and its width.

  • Number of times the gate will be used per day

It is important to consider this factor as it will guide someone as they choose an automatic gate operator. This is because gate operators have different cycles. It is advised that one should choose gate operator with a higher cycle if they are in a place which has a lot of movement. Choosing a gate operator with a lower cycler than what one needs might result to its failure.

Additional considerations that should be made include determining the electrical power that the automatic gate will require, the weather conditions around that area and the environment where the gate will be installed.

To conclude, choosing the right type of automatic gate might prove to be daunting. Therefore, if you have any uncertainties about the kind that you would like, you will be better off seeking the guidance of reputable fence company or a consultant in your area. If you are in the Walker, Louisiana or greater Baton Rouge area, contact us. We can answer all your questions and give you a free quote.