Gate automation problems occur because the installation of automatic electric gates is a complex process. It requires a clear understanding of the future owners’ requirements for the use of the new electric gates. The qualified installer should then carry out a hazard assessment to ensure that the gates will be as safe as possible. Finally, there are lots of choices for the homeowners in terms of gate material, style, and colour plus automation type and method of opening.
To make the process as simple and as painless as possible, here is a list of ten of the most common problems faced during automatic gate installation.
Ram gate motors offer one of the simplest installation options for automating swing gates.
Swing gates mounted on bigger brick pillars can require articulated arm operators.
10 most common problems faced during automatic gate installation
1) Make sure they work without automation
Any gate to be automated must work properly as a manual gate. Adding automation equipment will not overcome problems with an incorrectly installed gate.
2) Gates on slopes cause problems
Avoid fitting gates in situations that run uphill. This will complicate the situation, require additional equipment and put a strain on the automation. It can be done but it’s best to avoid it if possible.
3) Are the gate openers up to the job?
Make sure that the equipment chosen is suitable and meets the specifications as laid down by the manufacturer. Failure to do this will invalidate the guarantee.
4) Underground motors and water
When fitting underground motors ensure that suitable drainage is provided. These
motors are design to be fitted underground – not underwater.
- IP67 means that a unit should not be detrimentally effected if it is up to 15cm under water for a maximum of 30 minutes
- Ingress of water in a harmful quantity shall not be possible when the enclosure is immersed in water under defined conditions of pressure and time (up to 1 m of submersion)
- Test duration: 30 minutes
- Immersion at depth of at least 1 m measured at bottom of device, and at least 15 cm measured at top of device.
5) Professional installation is a must
Gate automation equipment should be sourced from and fitted by a profession installer. It may cost a little more but you will then have someone who will take full responsibility for the installation as well as carrying out a proper risk assessment as required by law.
It can be tempting to buy your equipment yourself from a company selling at close to trade prices direct to end users. The installation of electric gate automation equipment by anyone unqualified to understand the risks and safety requirements may result in serious accidents for which you can be responsible.
6) Environmental conditions
Consideration must be given to environmental conditions, particularly the effect of wind on a gate. Even an ‘open railing’ gate will present a degree of wind resistance, and close boarded wooden gates are just like a sail in strong wind. 24V systems are generally the preferred choice because of the intrinsic safety built into the system but these may struggle to work properly in very windy locations.
7) How are the gates’ opening and closing controlled?
Operation of automatic gates from both inside and outside will be required and understanding how electric gates will be used is vital to ensure the appropriate access control system is employed. Typical alternatives include:- Radio remotes, Keypads/card access, push-buttons, ground loops/probe, vehicle detectors and GSM via mobile phone.
8) What about access for visitors and pedestrians?
If there is no alternative, dedicated pedestrian gate, visitors will need a method of contacting the property to gain access.
For pedestrian access from outside without a radio control, a keypad can be used to open one leaf or partially open both leaves depending on the system.
Alternatively, for visitor access some form of entry intercom is normally used.
Typical examples are:-
a) Hardwired audio or audio/video system (with or without built-in keypad) b) Radio audio system (with or without keypad) providing a range up to 400m in CLEAR SPACE
c) GSM audio (with or without keypad) gives unlimited range but is dependent on the local phone reception quality.
9) What about trade access?
Consideration must be given to access for trades people such as dustmen, postmen, gardeners etc. This is often achieved by connecting a button or one of the above means of access to a time clock which would allow the gate to be operated by a less secure means only at certain times of day.
10) Are self-locking motors going to hold gates shut?
You cannot rely on a ‘locking’ operator to provide total security for a gate. The addition of extra locks will make it much more difficult to force a gate open and in extreme circumstances bollards have been fitted in front or behind a gate to improve security.