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A standard gate automation kit comes with gate motors - one for a sliding gate, two for swing gates (one if it is a single leaf kit) - a control panel and receiver, two remote transmitters and two safety photocells. Underground systems also come with underground foundation boxes to house the motors. Some sliding gate kits also include racking, but a track isn’t included. It may, therefore, be necessary to look into optional extras to accompany an automated gate. Extras can help to add to safety or tailor the usability of gates to suit individual needs. The following covers a range of available additional extras for an electric gate system.
It is particularly important to consider the safety factor of automated gates.
Photocells use an optical system that uses infrared beams to detect objects without the need for physical contact. The devices are designed to prevent damage or harm to vehicles, animals and humans. Photocells usually come in pairs and work by a transmitter emitting a beam, which is picked up by a receiver. If the beam is broken, a signal is sent to the control panel, which in turn tells the gate to stop. As photocells are designed so no contact is made, they are usually the best safety measure to consider.
Safety Edges are added to the crushing points of gates and barriers and are designed to cushion the blow and send a signal to the gate control panel to tell the gate to stop and reverse to prevent further injury. The important thing to remember about safety edges is that physical contact must be made first to operate the system. Safety edges are installed to protect areas that cannot be protected by photocells, their main function is prevent harm to people, although they could also limit the damage done to vehicles if they come into contact with the gate.
Physical guarding can be applied where electronic safety device failure would allow access to danger areas. As an example, sliding gates with vertical bars creating vertical spaces in the gate should have mesh guarding applied to prevent a limb from being inserted between the bars as the gate moves. This prevents the possibility of shearing and crushing injuries.
It is a wise idea to consider various warning signs to alert users, regular and occasional visitors and the public to the operation of automatic gates.
In the event of a power cut, a manual release can allow for the gate to still be opened. It is usually operated by a lock built into the motor with an accompanying key. As manual release systems are rarely used, it is recommended to operate them every few months and maintain them once a year to avoid them from getting dirty and stiff.
24Vdc systems can include battery backup that keeps a battery charged when there is power to the gates. This allows the gate motors to be powered by the battery if they need to be opened in a power cut. Standard battery backups are generally for emergency use only and will only operate the gates a limited number of times.
A combination of solar panels and battery storage can be used to operate automated gates and access control systems in situations where cable runs are either difficult, very long or uneconomical. Solar power will normally limit the amount of operations that a gate can perform, particularly in the UK in the Winter. For heavier operation, purpose built solar installations can be obtained but are normally expensive. Standard solar power kits will not allow for the installation of intercoms and other devices that require continuous power.
Additional transmitters can be supplied if there are to be more than two users of the gates.
There are many access control systems available, including intercoms, keypads and fobs. To find out more, take a look at our blog on Getting the Right Access Control.
In automated gate systems, vehicle detection is used either to open the gate as a vehicle approaches as or as a safety feature to prevent gates from closing on a vehicle. There are many systems available that can be used for either or both applications.
Rising bollards are used as an additional security measure in applications where high security is paramount. They are designed to stop vehicles from ramming the gates to force them open.
Adding a lock to an automated gate can help to increase security. All manufacturers recommend a lock to be installed for leaves over 2.5m. This is primarily to protect the gate motors from damage if the gates are forced. There are a variety of gate locks available. Find out more here.
Linkcare is a leading supplier of aluminium gates, motors and accessories. We are also able to recommend trusted companies for installation and maintenance across the UK. For more information, visit our website or call 01895 232626.