Many organizations use automatic gates to secure their premises. Examples include condominiums, businesses and high-security facilities. What isn’t immediately apparent is that the operating cycle of a gate motor used in commercial and industrial applications is much higher than those intended for domestic use. Consequently, when selecting gate motors for these applications, it’s essential to take factors into consideration such as how often the gate opens, the weight of the gate, obstacles that might impede its operation, safety and speed of operation.
Most automatic gates are unsupervised and if too slow, it’s easy for an intruder to slip into the premises behind a vehicle entering or leaving. For this reason, it’s wise to select a fast gate motor so that the gate opens and closes quickly. Other benefits of a fast gate motor are that it reduces time wasted waiting for the gate to open and increases the volume of traffic that can enter premises.
Gate Duty Cycle
Gate motors are designed for a specific duty cycle and need time between opening and closing to cool down. If the motor is battery powered, the battery needs time to recharge between operating cycles. This is particularly important if the gate is heavy as this requires much greater power to stop and start, especially if the track is not level. A gate motor that’s too small, or not intended for frequent use, will wear out quickly or refuse to operate when needed.
It’s inevitable that dirt and dust will accumulate on the track of sliding gates, particularly in drier areas of the country. Similarly, in cooler climates, there’s a need to consider the additional load caused by snow and ice. If there’s a requirement for the gate to operate under these conditions, the size of the gate motor must be increased to ensure there’s always sufficient power to operate the gate.
Industrial gates are heavy and may operate so quickly that there’s a risk of people or vehicles being trapped. For this reason, the gate motor controls should always include sensors that will prevent the gate closing if a vehicle, pedestrian, child or animal are in the way. It’s not sufficient to rely on circuits that sense the load because they are not as effective on heavy gates. Gates should comply with the safety requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The major weakness of many domestic and industrial automatic gate systems is their reliance on simple, easy-to-crack encryption. All intruders need to do is monitor the signal sent by a remote and they can easily make their own remote.
The way to overcome this is to use a rolling code security system that generates a unique code for each operation. Initially used to enhance the security of keyless entry systems for vehicles, such a system significantly enhances the security of an industrial gate system and is able to handle multiple remotes.
Although mains-powered gate motors are robust, they are vulnerable to electricity outages. This is unacceptable for busy entrances such as found in gated residential estates or active industrial complexes.
This limitation can be overcome by specifying a DC system that relies on an adequately sized back-up battery. The battery size should be such that normal operation of the gate can continue throughout the duration of a power outage.
Some gate motors rely on plastic gears because they are quiet and inexpensive. While this is fine for light loads, plastic gears are not durable enough to power heavy industrial gates that are used frequently. Heavy-duty gate motors are fitted with metal gear sets, and all moving components are adequately designed for durability and long life. If a rack is fitted, it should be robust enough to carry any load that is likely to be imposed.
It’s easy to underestimate the weight of an industrial gate and select a motor that’s too small. Before choosing a gate motor, arrange for the weight of the gate to be calculated and measured. A heavy gate could weigh as much as 4,000 pounds. Gate motors should be rated to accelerate and decelerate a heavy gate and also have the ability to bring the gate to a standstill in case of an emergency.
Choosing A Gate Motor Supplier.
The operating conditions for an industrial gate motor are arduous, and unless gate motors are rated for the load and operating conditions, they will fail. Don’t take a chance, choose a heavy-duty gate motor that’s tough enough to provide years of service. Additionally, it’s essential to choose a reputable gate motor supplier who provides a full spares and backup service and who is in it for the long run.