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Automatic Gates vs. Automatic Barriers: What’s the difference?

Oct 05, 2020
Automatic Gates vs. Automatic Barriers: What’s the difference?

These days the demand for smart technologies and automated processes is on the rise. Installing automatic gate systems and automatic barriers might be one of the best ways to incorporate technology in your commercial or residential property. Such systems help to significantly improve security and increase your property value. 

Automatic Gate System and Automatic Barrier

Electric barriers grant access by swinging up when activated remotely while electric gates usually slide open or swing on hinges. 

Nowadays, most automatic gate systems use motion detectors or optical sensors which allow to detect the motion in front and to trigger its opening and closing. 

Automatic barriers are used to block pedestrian or vehicular access through a controlled point. They operate through a variety of different technologies, such as pushbuttons, remote control, loop detectors, any third-party control device and optoelectronic sensors.

Where are such systems used?

Access control gates are used at the entrance to the facility to control vehicular and pedestrian access on and off of the site. They are widely used in commercial and industrial residential areas.

We can find such systems in transportation terminals, airports, home and business driveways, delivery docks, hospitals, police facilities, health and leisure centres and manufacturing plants. 

Automatic barrier systems are versatile and can suit individual needs. Therefore, they can be of benefit to public car parks, businesses of many kinds and private landowners. For example, an automated barrier may be used to grant access to a private track when cars are authorised but prevent unwarranted access from others. It is also possible to provide visitors with a temporary access code.

What are the benefits of each?

The main benefits of having an automatic gate system are extra privacy, security and convenience at your premises. That is why not only many businesses but also many households choose to install electric gates.

Automatic barriers are faster than access control gates, so they are preferred for temporary use and while controlling vehicles entering and exiting warehouses and factories during working hours. 

What automatic gate systems are there?

To ensure your gate’s performance and safety, the gate design should match the installation type. The choice of automation and motor will depend on the type of gate, its position, its weight.

The standard and cost-effective option is an electro-mechanical gate which uses a standard 220V supply. Hydraulic gates are also available, they are extremely quiet.

Cantilever gates

This electric driveway gate is one of the most popular options for business. It slides out to allow access to your facility and can ensure openings up to 30 meters wide. 

Swing Gates

If your space prohibits the use of cantilever gates, you may consider swing gates which permit access on openings up 14 meters wide by swinging inwards or out.

Vertical Lift Gates

These gates are highly spaced efficient, but cause components to wear out faster, especially in the areas with heavy traffic. The access is granted as the gate rise upwards.

Another thing to consider is the access control type. There are different options to choose from: keyring transmitters, a GSM controller, a simple text command, audio-video intercoms, a keypad on the control box.

What kind of automatic barriers are there?

There are many options available to choose from automatic barriers, traffic barriers or security barriers. They can be of different lengths and sizes depending on your budget and applications. When choosing an electric barrier, you should keep in mind primarily two factors: types of users and traffic intensity.

Low voltage barriers allow repeated and rapid opening and closing, this solution is better for areas with multiple user access.

You may consider using various types of badges, remote controls and transponders to ensure quick and convenient vehicle movement in a residential area so that the users can enter the area without leaving their car.

Sports centres and hotel complexes often use barriers activated by a magnetic card or a token.

Magnetic loop systems may speed up the vehicle passage in heavy-traffic. The barrier lifts as the vehicle passes over a detector placed on the road surface.

To gain an even higher level of security, you may consider connecting all these systems and monitoring from a single control centre.

How much does it cost?

The price for purchasing a gate automation kit and having it fitted starts is about €600, without installation cost. If you decide to have a more sophisticated option, including an intercom and swing automation system, it may cost you in the area of €2,000.

A decent electric barrier with obstacle detection, self-learning of opening/closing times and a kit for installing the boom will cost you anywhere from €1,600 to €2,000.

Automatic gates and barriers servicing and maintenance

It is essential to maintain your access control gates and barriers to prevent failures that could cause disruption and to ensure security features are functioning correctly.

Usually, it is recommended to service, maintain and repair electric powered gates at least every six months. Generally speaking, the frequency of maintenance depends on how many cycles the gates and barriers perform (the number of times they open and close).

Residential electric driveway gates and barriers can be serviced 1-2 times per year. Automated car park barriers and gates for an apartment block should be serviced 3 times per year. Commercial systems require the most frequent servicing of at least 4 times per year.

The usage of automatic gate systems and electric barriers has increased drastically over the past years. Automatic barrier gate is the most common and cost-effective solution to reduce unwanted or unauthorized traffic to the commercial, industrial or residential premises.

Homeowners purchase automatic gates as they not only offer security and protection to their families but also can increase the value of your home.

A vertical lift gate is another commonly used type in commercial and industrial areas. This solution is very costly and wears out much faster. Advanced systems can read specific signals for entry, for example, remote control, card readers, keypads.

Before opting for one of the solutions available, you should keep in mind several factors, such as the number of users, budget, speed, and safety requirements. Don't forget that every gate automation system needs regular servicing and maintenance to guarantee a proper level of safety. 

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