The Growing Importance of Perimeter Security for Commercial & Industrial Entities
Security gates are an essential component of industrial and restricted-access facilities. The purpose of an automatic security gate is to ensure that access to specified grounds is limited to authorized personnel. In the majority of applicable settings, industrial-grade gates are placed at the entrance, where access is granted only to authorized vehicles. Depending on the size or range of a given facility, there might also be secondary security gates inside the premises to limit access in certain areas. An example would be any parking garage where all drivers enter in through a main gate, but where employees proceed to a second inner gate to park in reserved spaces that are separate from those allotted to the general public.
Common Applications for Commercial Security Gates
Security gates are used in a wide array of industries. On any premises where access must be regulated beyond a certain point, the presence of a security gate ensures that only authorized vehicles and people are allowed inside. Facilities at which security gates are essential include:
Municipal authorities and transportation terminals
Automatic security gate systems are also used in certain residential settings, including the entrances of exclusive condominium complexes and private neighborhoods. However, unlike the purpose gates serve at the entrances to industrial facilities — where gates are used to restrict access to ships, planes, weapons, machinery and testing plants — gates in residential settings are used simply to restrict access to residents, family members and guests, while keeping out loiterers, vandals and burglars.
Different Types of Security Gates
For the regulation of vehicular traffic, there are generally five modern security gate designs: 1. Slide gates (they can be the “V Groove” rolling slide gate, Cantilever slide gate and Overhead slide gate), 2. Swing gate, 3. Vertical Lift gate, 4. Vertical Pivot gate and 5. Bi-Folding gate.
1a. “V Groove” Rolling Slide Gate
Of all the different industrial security gates, the V-Groove rolling slide gate – alternately known as the rolling gate – is a common design at commercial facilities. When it opens, the gate moves sideways to the left or right and aligns parallel to the fence as vehicles enter. The movement is achieved with roller wheels along the underside of the gate, which slide over a V groove ground track that holds the gate in alignment as it opens and closes. However, rolling tracks can get obstructed by dirt and debris (or snow and ice in winter conditions). The rolling wheels, due to their location at ground level, are subject to premature wear and damage, which suggests V Groove gates should be used where high use is not required. Maintenance needs are high on V Groove gates.
Like the V Groove slide gate, the industrial cantilever slide gate opens by sliding sideways to make way for incoming and outgoing vehicles. Unlike other industrial slide gate designs, the cantilever slide gate is not guided by rollers along a ground track. Instead, the cantilever gate is moved sideways and back via roller trucks or roller wheels mounted to gate posts.
Aluminum vs. Steel Cantilever Gates
Aluminum cantilever gates use enclosed track and sealed roller bearing truck assemblies. Steel cantilever gates use exposed rollers and galvanized steel gate frames. When steel cantilever gates are used, the rollers should have guards to eliminate pinch points.
Tymetal cantilever gates are always aluminum. The aluminum will not rust and gives an excellent maintenance-free mill finish appearance (or powder coating also available). The roller truck assemblies in aluminum cantilever gates are surrounded by enclosed track along one or both sides of the gate frame. These roller truck assemblies (with sealed roller bearings) allow the gate to be easily pushed or pulled sideways, parallel to the fence itself.
Cantilever gates have a counterbalance section where the gate posts hold the roller truck assemblies when in the closed and open positions. The counter balance section is typically 40%-50% of the clear opening width – longer counterbalance sections provide for a stronger gate. The Tymetal counterbalance standard is 50%. Because of the required counterbalance section, the overall panel length of aluminum cantilever slide gates is longer than that of a V Groove gate, but are much more stable when used for larger openings. And with no ground track, there are no obstructions for plowing or wheels at ground level to collect dirt and debris. The gate panel can be fabricated to match most adjoining fence lines – chain link or picket designs are the most common options.
An added advantage of the aluminum cantilever slide gate is the absence of motion friction (provided by the truck assemblies) and the protection afforded by the enclosed track. The rollers glide effortlessly and dirt, snow and ice are prevented from interfering with the operation. The enclosed track also eliminates pinch points — exposed rollers on steel cantilever gates should always have covers; if left uncovered they are dangerous for end users. Therefore, given the improved functionality, low maintenance and safety benefits associated with aluminum cantilever gates (as compared to V Groove gates and steel cantilever gates), aluminum cantilever slide gates are often rated the best of all industrial security gate designs among facility personnel. However, the extra gate length required for the aluminum cantilever gate to open must be considered when planning the gate area layout.
1c. Overhead Slide Gate
Overhead slide gates use an overhead beam to support an enclosed track. A gate panel (usually aluminum for lighter weight and better appearance) is hung from the overhead track, to roll back and forth, opening and closing. An advantage of an overhead slide gate is it requires less space for the gate panel to open/slide into (no counterbalance is needed). A disadvantage is the height of an overhead beam will create an overhead restriction – usually at approximately 16 ft. high.
2. Swing Gates
The Heavy Duty swing gate is more like a door in that it opens at one end and typically extends 90 degrees when fully open (swing options are 90 degrees each way or 180 degrees one way). The gate can swing inside or out, and it can have one or two leaves. However, the swing gate can be hazardous at unmanned, unmarked entrances because of its ability to swing outward, unlike slide gates, which are pulled sideways and align against a fence. Therefore, if swing gates are automated, space and stopping lines are necessary in front of the gate to ensure it does not hit a vehicle that is waiting to pass through, or a person passing by. Note that automatic vehicular swing gates should never be used for pedestrians. Separate pedestrian access is required if pedestrians need to access the area behind the gate system. The gate operators are designed for vehicles only. Loops and contact edges are designed to detect vehicles only – not people.
The vertical lift gate moves upward to open, rather than sideways or outward. With twin lifting columns, one each side, the gate is raised above the height of authorized vehicles that pass through. Since it does not need space to the front and rear, or to each side of the vehicular opening, the vertical lift gate is one of the most compact, space-efficient gate designs. It can also span large openings (up to 60 feet) and opens quickly in a vertical direction. However, the lift gate columns can look imposing in certain settings, and the thought of passing under a raised gate can seem unsettling to certain drivers. Therefore, vertical lift gates are most suitable and aesthetically appropriate for industrial settings, provided the given model offers sufficient lifting height for the passage of even the tallest vehicles expected to use the entrance.
4. Vertical Pivot Lift Gates
The vertical pivot gate opens by rotating upward at one lower corner and pivoting 90 degrees upward, and resting on its side edge when fully open. Given the space required to store the gate panel on one side is slightly greater than the gate height, a relatively small amount of storage space (on one side) is required to store the gate panel while in the open position. The design is most suitable for industrial settings where space to the sides of a vehicular opening is limited and where no overhead restrictions exist. However, there are limitations relative to clear opening width, gate panel height, design flexibility and the level of security provided.
5. Bi-Folding Gates
In models such as the SecurFold Bi-Folding Speed Gate, two gates meet at the center when in the closed position. Each of the two gates are divided into two panels that are joined by hinges, which make it possible for the gates to fold and contract to their respective sides of the vehicular opening when open. In another version only one gate (containing two panels) is used which opens to one side. Bi-folding gates may or may not use overhead tracks to guide movement.
Bi-folding gates offer some of the swiftest motions of any gate design, which can help speed up the passage at gates where one vehicle after another is green-lighted separately. Due to the compacting motion of the gates, industrial folding security gates generally consume the least amount of space of any automatic gate type. However, the gates are limited to openings of 20 feet.
Pedestrian Security Gates
Aside from the various types of security gates that are designed to regulate vehicular traffic, a secured facility will usually have gates installed at human entrance points. Pedestrians should never be allowed to use automated vehicle gates for access. Pedestrian access must be a separate entrance designed specifically for pedestrians. Two of the most common gate models for regulating foot traffic are the swing gate and the pedestrian portal.
At human entrances, swing gates open up and extend outward in a certain direction to allow the entrance of one person or party at a time. Like its vehicular equivalent, the pedestrian swing gate is similar to a door in that it consumes perpendicular space while in use.
The Pedestrian portal combines a pedestrian swing gate with a turnstile. The turnstile is well suited to provide secure access for high volumes of pedestrian traffic while the swing gate allows for special access.
Other Security Devices
There are various accessories that are often used with security gates, including intercoms, video surveillance cameras, access control systems and free exit devices. In the event of a disturbance or emergency, special access devices allow police and firefighters to gain quick entrance to facilities at any time, day or night.
When it comes to restricting vehicles from certain areas that are open to foot traffic, the following structures are the most commonly used:
Bollards are posts that are usually arranged in a row to prevent vehicles from passing into pedestrian areas, storefronts, or buildings. A line of bollards will typically be placed in close enough proximity to block large vehicles from driving past certain points, but with enough distance to allow the passage of people and even certain small vehicles, such as carts and bicycles. Certain bollards can be installed to be removable, which would allow for vehicle to pass through when required. Tymetal’s shallow mount TSB-TRUCK bollards are tested to stop a 15,000 lb truck traveling 30 mph and can be fixed or removable.
At junctures between streets and promenades, bollards are commonly used to demark the cutoff point for vehicular traffic. In industrial settings, bollards may be used to section off machinery and chemical plants from on-site vehicle routes.
The barrier arm is one of the most minimalist of perimeter designs. Comprised of a vertical arm adjoined to a control post, the arm pivots upward 90 degrees to clear passing vehicles. Due to the fact that the moving barrier consists of an arm instead of a fence door, the barrier arm gate is the least secure of all gate designs — its primary use is to control the passage of vehicles. A person can easily jump over, crawl under or squeeze around the barrier arm, which renders the design ineffective at keeping trespassers off a restricted premise.
One important thing to note is that there is a difference between barrier arms for traffic control, and crash barrier arms. A crash arm has been crash tested to stop a vehicle. Damage to the vehicle and occupants will be severe if there is an impact with a crash beam.
Here are some precautions to consider with regard to crash barriers:
Consideration must be given to the selection and placement of vehicle barriers. Tymetal recommends that each site being considered for a traffic control barrier be reviewed by a traffic safety engineer during the planning stages (Tymetal does not provide these services).
Crash barriers are tested to stop vehicles and impacts with the barrier will result in severe damage to the vehicle. Approaching vehicles as well as pedestrians must be warned as to the barrier’s presence and operation.
The Owner/Operator of crash barriers shall assume responsibility for providing traffic and safety engineering, including all necessary safety features to be used at each barrier location, including, but not limited to: sidewalks, roadway lighting, caution signage, traffic lights, audible warning alerts, visual warning alerts, or other traffic control devices and guard booths.
Crash arms should only be used in applications where security is the primary concern and operation is supervised by a guard or security officer.
Tymetal recommends an installation configuration that will allow controlled approach speeds. Suggested installation drawings supplied include generic layouts and are not to be construed as a site specific solution which has been reviewed by a safety engineer for the site, unless specifically stated as such. The final installation layout will be the responsibility of the owner.
Traffic control barrier arms are lighter and are designed to break away upon impact. These types of barrier arms are often used in automatic operation but should not be confused with crash tested barrier arms. The proper application and operational layout is very different for each type of device (as explained above).
How to Choose the Right Kind of Gate
There are numerous things to consider when considering a security gate for your facility. Questions to ask yourself in advance of making a decision include the following:
How Much Space Do You Have Available?
Depending on the location of your facility, there might be width or height limits to consider when choosing a gate model. Facilities in urban areas, for instance, tend to have less room for gating than facilities located in remote, rural areas. Therefore, you will need to consider how much space on your facility is available for fence width, gate depth and structural height.
How Wide Must Your Gate Opening Be?
This could depend on the kinds of vehicles that pass through at your facility. If heavy-duty commercial trucks are regularly entering and exiting the premises, you will need a gate with a much larger passage area than you would if your traffic primarily consists of cars and vans.
How Much Gate-Weight Can You Manage?
The capacity requirements for gate operation at a given facility can largely be determined by the weight of the model in use. For the most part, height and width measurements determine the weight of a gate model: The larger the heavier. Weight, however, can also be determined by which type of material — aluminum, steel, etc. — is used in the structure of the gate itself. The weather conditions of a particular setting can also come to bear on gate-weight. If your facility is based in a snowy region, operations will be considerably more impacted than they would in a drier climate.
How Fast Must a Gate Move to Satisfy Your Traffic Flow?
Depending on the volume of traffic that flows in and out of your facility, speed might be one of your top priorities in selecting a gate model. At residential communities with low volumes of entrance and exit traffic, a slower gate speed would be more acceptable. At industrial facilities with heavy volumes of operation, production could only be hindered by gates with slow opening and closing speeds. In settings where the gate must operate for one vehicle after another, slow speeds can be a source of frustration for everyone in line. In some cases, slowness can even prompt hazardous tailgating by impatient second-in-line drivers. But there are industry safety standards (UL 325) that restrict gate speed based on the type of application. An experienced gate operator professional should be consulted to determine proper size and speed for your particular application.
How Much Frequency Do You Require in a Gate?
Different gates are built for different frequencies of performance. A gate that’s made for fewer than 20 daily operations could easily fail in a short amount of time if installed in an environment where vehicles must pass 50 times per hour.
Modern Demands for Security Require Modern Solutions
With so many security concerns at stake in a given industrial facility, it’s crucial to have gates in place that restrict access to unauthorized personnel. Whether you operate an aerodrome or chemical plant, the premises need to be sealed off from potential trespassers or roaming vehicles. Therefore, when you need to secure a perimeter, you need the best. You need Tymetal Corp.
For more than 25 years, Tymetal has been an industry leader in security gate systems. Every gate we sell has been rigorously tested for maximum durability and performance. Unlike our competitors, who piece together systems from different sources, each of the industrial and commercial automatic security gate systems we sell is matched from a single source, which guarantees complete gate and operator compatibility.
At Tymetal, we take pride in offering only the best security gate designs. Each of the industrial security gates in our inventory are made for peak performance in all climates and weather conditions. Whether you’re looking for a heavy-duty swing gate, roller gate, cantilever slide gate or vertical lift gate, we carry one of the biggest selections of industrial quality sliding gates and automatic security gate systems for businesses in the gate/operator systems industry. Additionally, we feature a wide array of manual gate models, as well as crash barriers and other traffic control devices for utmost security on industrial premises.
To visualize the different types of security gates available, visit our website to view security gate drawings as well as security gate CAD files. Contact Tymetal Corp. today to inquire about our custom design gates, get answers to security gate specification questions and learn more about how our security gate systems can greatly improve security operations at your facility.