Security Gates Have Come a Long Way in Automation
Until recently, it used to be that a gate opener was simply a chain and padlock… maybe two or three. You had to get out of your vehicle, unlock the gate, and push the fence open manually. Having a gate at your business, whether it protects your storefront doors and windows or an outdoor lot full of equipment, presents a real security risk if the opening mechanism for the gate is easy to outsmart. Let’s be honest, you grab some industrial bolt cutters and no commercial gate is secure. The good news is that the smart technology movement has permeated nearly every sector of the economy. In our homes, we can install security systems that allow us to remotely monitor and operate doors and windows. It’s the same and even better for industrial and commercial business doors and gates. Gate automation is here, and it’s here to stay. Commercial gate security hasn’t had such a dramatic upgrade in years.
Types of Automated Gate Systems
So, what is an automated gate? It’s a gate equipped with an opener that doesn’t require manual operation. Sometimes they’re battery powered, sometimes they’re even solar powered. Some have remote controls, and some have smartphone capabilities. There are 6 different types of automated gates typically used by commercial and industrial businesses:
- Slide gates are most common. The gate opener moves the gate, which is secured on a track, horizontally to open and close it.
- Vertical pivot gates open and close much the same way those gates on split bridges do. They rotate on one stationary corner and “roll” to a vertical position when open, then lower back to a horizontal position when closed.
- Barrier arm gates are basically the same as vertical pivot gates, but it’s just an arm. These are great for parking facilities, but not so much for protecting a lot full of equipment or inventory.
- Vertical lift gates are exactly what they sound like. Two towers on either side of the gate guide the gate as it opens and closes. It needs to raise high enough to let vehicles through. These are a good option when you don’t have the horizontal space for a sliding gate.
- Another automated gate that’s ideal for limited horizontal space is a bi-fold gate. This gate opens by two two-panel leaves folding as they pull back.
- Swing gates have hinges on only one side and lock on the opposite side. They swing out and in the way any door does.
Each type of automated gate has different advantages for different applications. For instance, the barrier arm we mentioned probably isn’t great for protecting a lumber yard, but it is an ideal solution for regulating vehicle access in parking lots and garages. Just the same, a vertical lift gate might be great for a residential complex, but not ideal for lots that have tall freight trucks or industrial equipment like cranes moving in and out.
Types of Automation for Gate Openers
There are a few different kinds of motors you can use for your gate opener system. And you might be wondering what happens if the motor fails, but don’t worry – all these products are equipped with ways to manually open the gate in cases of power failure or malfunction.
- Underground motors are the most aesthetically pleasing type of gate opener because, since they’re buried, they’re virtually invisible, which means no awkward mechanical stuff ruining the profile of your fence and gate. They’re reliable, heavy-duty, and can work for virtually any type of automated gate.
- Gate openers with linear motors use bearings to open and close the gate. This results in fast motion and high-powered function. Many businesses choose this kind of opener for automating their gates over hydraulic ones.
- Hydraulic motors have a lot going for them. The open the gate smoothly and quickly, and the lack of friction during movement means reduced wear and tear. They’re probably the cheapest type of motor for gate automation, but even so, they’re really hardy and reliable.
- Another gate opener that is pretty much invisible to the outside eye is an articulated gate opener motor. This motor is best for swing gates, and you mount it on the inner side of the fence so you can’t see it from the outside.
Commercial Gate Hardware and Accessories Shore up Security
Want to really trick out your newly-automated gate with extra security features? Consider adding things like:
- Intercom: for screening visitors, clients, and employees before granting remote entrance. For
- Video surveillance: having surveillance footage is never a bad thing to have for any commercial property. Having them at your entrance gate will certainly pay off over time as an added deterrent.
- Access control like keycards, tag readers on vehicles, wireless transmitters: these help ensure that only authorized personnel are allowed access to your business. This is especially worth it if your business deals with sensitive information or high-value goods. Without an access item, your commercial gate will remain closed to intruders while not requiring someone to handle the gate itself.
- Specialized access for post office and emergency vehicles
- Free exit devices that use motion sensing technology to trigger the gate opener: reducing the amount of input needed to open your gate will help keeping flow of traffic while also reducing costs. Having someone to open your gate is an unnecessary additional cost when it can be automated. Commercial gates will feel the most fluid to you and your employees when you interact with them directly less.
The professional performing your gate installation and service will suggest one or more of these features to you. You’re trying to make your business more secure – why not go all the way? Whatever your choice, make sure to get regular maintenance for your automated gate so it continues to work correctly. Automated gate opening systems are going to make your facility more secure and your business more streamlined.