Automatic Gates

Automatic gates are used to control access into a secured area. Most commonly, automatic gates are used at the entrance to the facility and are used to control vehicular access on and off of the site.

Automatic gates consist of two basic components:

Gate: The gate is the physical object that is moved to block the gate opening. Most gates used in commercial applications are made of either ornamental iron or chain-link material and are usually designed to match the fencing adjacent to where the gate is installed.

Gate Operator: The gate operator is the machinery that moves the gate in and out of the gate opening. Gate operators are electrically-powered and may be chain-driven, gear-driven, or hydraulic depending on the type of operator.

Types of Automatic Gates:

There are six types of commonly used automatic gates. These include the slide gate, cantilever gate, swing gate, vertical liftgate, vertical pivot lift gate, bi-folding gate, and barrier arm gate. The following is a brief description of each type of gate:

Slide Gate

The slide gate is probably the most commonly used type of automatic gate in light-duty commercial applications.

The slide gate is mounted parallel to the inside of the fence and slides horizontally back and forth across the gate opening. The slide gate uses rollers on the bottom of the gate to support it. These rollers typically ride along a metal track that has been installed along the ground across the gate opening. Slide gates are sometimes also called “rolling gates” or “V-track gates”.

Cantilever Gate

The cantilever gate is similar to the slide gate but does not use rollers that slide along the ground to support it. Instead, the cantilever gate is supported from rails that run along the inside of the fence structure. This gate gets its name from the fact that the gate “cantilevers” (hangs over) the gate opening. Cantilever gates need to be much wider than slide gates in order to provide a section along with the fence structure where the gate is supported. This section is called a “counterbalance” and is usually at least 1/2 the width of the gate opening itself

Swing Gate

Swing gates are hinged on one side and swing open and closed like a door. Swing gates typically travel a 90-degree arc between their open and closed positions. Swing gates can consist of a single leaf or double leafs and can be in-swinging or out-swinging.

Vertical Lift Gate

Vertical lift gates move up and down vertically over the gate opening. The gate must be lifted high enough to allow vehicles to pass underneath of it. This type of gate requires that tall vertical support towers be installed on each side of the gate opening.

Vertical lift gates are ideal when there is limited space available next to the gate opening. Vertical lift gates are also very fast and very reliable. The appearance of the vertical support towers gives these gates a very “industrial” appearance, which may make them unsuitable for use in locations where appearance is important.

Vertical Pivot Lift Gate

Vertical pivot lift gates rotate in and out of the gate opening. Vertical pivot lift gates are supported entirely from the gate operator itself and do not require any additional support structures.

Vertical pivot lift gates provide some of the benefits of vertical lift gates, but appear less obtrusive as they do not require vertical support towers. However, the footprint of a vertical pivot lift gate operator is larger and requires additional space beside the gate. Vertical pivot lift operators typically use springs to serve as a counterweight, and in our opinion, this makes them less reliable than a standard vertical lift gate.

Bi-Folding Gate

Bi-folding gates consist of two gate panels that are hinged together. When activated, these gate panels fold back onto themselves to allow access. Most commonly, bi-folding gates are used in pairs, with one pair being used on each side of the gate opening. Some models require a track along either the top or bottom of the gate.

Bi-folding gates require only a small footprint and are often a good choice when space is limited. Many bi-folding gates have relatively fast opening and closing speeds. Because of the many potential entrapment points possible with this type of gate, additional safety considerations are often required.

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. As 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.