4 Considerations for Choosing and Installing an Automatic Gate

Posted on: 13 July 2016

Automated fences have gate operators which control access into an area. They can be installed at commercial or residential facilities to control entrance vehicular and even foot traffic. These offer additional convenience once a person gets to a gate: nobody has to come and open the gate, which can save costs and improve security.

There are different operational mechanisms for automated gates including swing gates, sliding gates, cantilever gates, vertical lift gates, vertical pivot gates and barrier arm gates among others. Which one you choose will be determined by the following factors as explain below:

1. Space

The space you have around the gate limits the type of gate that can be installed. If you're in a very large area with no space restriction, any gate might be used based on other considerations. Swing gates require a safety arc where the gate will open and close unobstructed, and so are not ideal if you need extra-large openings in limited space. In crowded spaces (e.g. urban settings), gates that don't use up extra space such as sliding gates are more ideal.

2. Size

The size of opening needed will determine what type of gate you can get. In general, it is more expensive to install a gate that allows a wider opening than a narrow one. In addition, the increase in the length of the opening poses some problems: with sliding gates that use rollers, for instance, more frequent lubrication is necessary to prevent friction. Blockage by debris accumulation is also common and can impact efficacy of this type of gate. Cantilever sliding gates can solve this problem, but these take up considerably more space than the former.

3. Frequency of use

Being a mechanical system, each opening and closing cycle shortens the lifespan of the gate by a small fraction. In selecting your operator, consider whether it is intended for residential use where it will be opened a few times a day, or commercial use in low traffic or high traffic scenarios – heavy-duty operators should be installed accordingly to avoid premature failures.

4. Gate weight

Taller and wider gates carry more weight and hence are limited in the type of operator that can be installed. The gate material – wood, steel, aluminium – etc. also determines the weight. You should also have minor allowances to cover weight increase through accumulation of precipitation on the gate surface. Avoid gate lifting mechanisms such as vertical lift and pivot gates if you have a very heavy gate.