The main purpose of installing gates is for security purpose and to control access in an area or building. However, the manual gates have always required someone to physically open and close the gate. Automatic gates have added convenience and overall increased appeal for the use of gates.
Automatic gates is a type of gate that opens and close on their own using an electrically powered mechanism. Electric motors and hydraulics are used to operate automatic gates. Automatic gates open or close when you require them to do so using either sensors, magnets or a stationary or remote control pad which may require you to press a button or enter a combination pin.
Automatic gates mainly consist of two basic components;
Gate: The physical object that blocks the gate opening.
Gate Operator: The machinery that moves the gate in and out of the gate opening. Can be Electric motors or hydraulics.
Types of Automatic Gates
Automatic sliding gates are mounted parallel to the inside of the perimeter fence. They open and close by sliding horizontally across the gate opening. They slide using rollers which ride along a metal track that is installed on the ground across the gate opening.
Sliding gates are largely used in light duty commercial applications because of their strength and convenience in small spaces. However, sliding gates use rollers that run on the ground and can be blocked by debris, they also can experience friction issues causing the gate operator to work a little harder to open the gate.
Automatic swing gates are much like the traditional gates, they are hinged on the end of the gate opening and swing making 90 degree arc to open. Swing gates can consist of either a single door or double doors hinged on either side of the gate opening.
Swing gates are popular for residential applications for their practicality and durability. When installing swing gates, ensure that the terrain on both sides is even and there is enough space to open and close the gate.
Vertical Lift Gates
Automatic Vertical Lift gates move up and down to grant access. Users go under the gate to enter or exit the premises. These gates are held with a vertical support tower. They are similar to sliding gates but these gates but slide up and down.
They are ideal for spaces with uneven terrain and limited space. The intelligent combination of a chain drive mechanism ensures a smooth and precise performance, while the addition of counterweights helps ease the burden on the motor, thus increasing the lifespan.
Bi-folding gates are similar to swing gates but consist of two gate panels that are hinged together and when activated, these gate panels fold back onto themselves to allow access. Bi-folding gates require less space thus ideal for small spaces. Bi-folding gates have relatively fast opening and closing speeds. However, additional safety considerations are often required because of the many potential entrapment points possible with this type of gate.
Barrier Arm Gate
Barrier arm gates consist of a vertical barrier arm that is rotated in and out of the gate opening. Barrier arm gates are used to control vehicles not pedestrians this is because it is very easy for a person to walk beside or climb over or under the gate arm, barrier arm gates provide almost no security. Barrier arm gates are used primarily to control access in and out of parking facilities, or to control vehicular traffic at manned security entrances.
How to choose an automatic gate
Availability of Space
This refers not to the available space around the gate on either side of the gate. Spaces with limited spaces are well suited by sliding or bi-folding gates while space with large available space are well suited for any type of automatic gate.
This refers to the size of the gate opening left where you want to install the gate. A larger gate opening translates to a larger gate width thus the more expensive it will be to install the gate.
Weight of gate
The overall weight of the gate determines the type and grade of gate operator require, wider and taller gates weigh more. Gates of the same size will weigh differently depending on material used to construct them whether steel, aluminum or wood. Additional considerations must be made for weight increase that may be caused by rain and snow.
This refers to the number of times the gate will be opened and closed in a day. Gate operators designed for residential use fail quickly when used in a high traffic area where they are opened and closed more times than the required maximum
Opening and Closing Speed
Different opening and closing speeds are required for different applications. Residential applications can make use slow opening and closing gates but that would be inconvenient for high traffic applications like airports and distribution centers.
While some light-duty gate operators will work with standard 110/120 VAC electrical power, most medium and heavy-duty gate operators will require 220/240 VAC or three-phase electrical power. It can sometimes be difficult and costly to get this type of power to the place where the gate will be installed.
Special precautions must be taken when installing gates in regions where there are extreme hot or cold temperatures, high winds, or heavy snow or ice.
Benefits of automatic gates
Improved access control
Automatic gates give you the ability to add pass codes or cards which enable you to know who, when, and where they accessed in your property. Without these pass code or card one is not able to gain access to the property.
Automatic gates offer improved security by giving you control over who can access the property. Automatic gates can also be integrated as alarm system to raise alarm in case one tries to access the property without access.
Automatic gates have replaced the manual gates which required a person to physically open the gate offering great convenience to their users.
Improved Curb Appeal
Quality fencing combined with automatic gates make your home or property more appealing to others.
Increased Property Value
Automatic gates make it more unlikely for criminals or thieves to access the property. This can be very appealing especially in real estate industry raising the value of the property.