When comparing bids from different companies, look at the complete job.
Make sure that all installation materials such as wire, operator mounting
methods, gate posts etc. meet or exceed manufacturer’s recommendations
and take into account local environmental factors as well. Ask to visit
the facility where the gates are made and compare materials and methods
used in fabricating the gates.
A gate drawing allows you to see the gate as it would appear when finished.
It should include actual design and dimensions of the gate, and the contractor
should provide one for your approval prior to fabrication.
The site plan is an overhead view that shows where the gates, equipment,
wiring, loops, etc. are going to be placed. This may be required when
obtaining a permit.
Since gates are moving objects and are attached only at one end to the
hinge post, they need to be made from heavier gauge materials than regular
fence for proper support. The frame should be constructed of at least
2” square steel tubing, with pickets made from ¾” square
steel tubing. The gate must have weep holes to prevent trapped moisture
from freezing and causing the metal to deform.
Gate posts should be made from 6” x 6” square tubing with
a minimum wall thickness of 3/16”. Posts need to be set below frost
line, generally 36” or deeper.
Gate hinges should only be heavy duty, precision ball bearing type designed
specifically for automated gates.
Powder coating is far superior to lacquer painting and will last for many
years. Many colors are available to choose from, your contractor will
be able to help select the one that’s right for you.
The type of gate operator that is used on your system must be designed
for the use it will see. This is where the experience of your gate contractor
will be the most useful, as they will know which operators perform best
under certain conditions. Important factors to consider are: swing or
slide gate, size and weight of the gate, number of times the gate will
cycle each day, power availability, environment, etc.
Actuator-type gate operators are great for most residential, farm and
ranch, and light commercial swing gate applications. Each actuator will
handle a gate up to 14’ in length and 400 pounds, although installation
in cold or windy environments may reduce this capacity. This type of operator
is DC battery powered, with an AC or solar charging system, and will operate
normally in the event of a power outage, providing over 100 cycles of
operation before requiring a recharge. Solar systems are ideal for locations
where it is not possible or economical to run AC power to the gate, although
solar systems don’t quite have the full system capabilities that
AC powered systems have.
Commercial swing gate operators are used for high-traffic areas, and larger
gates up to 18’ in width and 600 pounds, with larger gates possible
with specialized equipment. These operators require AC power to the gate,
and optional battery back up systems are available that will open the
gates automatically in the event of a power outage. These operators can
be integrated into any access control system, making them ideal for gated
communities and industrial sites.
Commercial slide gate operators have the same features as commercial swing
gate operators, and are used in applications where there is not enough
room for a swing gate. Standard slide gate operators will handle a gate
with a clear opening width of up to 20’ and a weight of up to 1000
pounds. Much larger gates can be operated with hydraulic drive operators,
up to four tons are possible in some cases.
There are many different access options available for both residential
and commercial applications. Residential access systems can use garage
door-style remotes, wireless keypads, programmable stand alone keypads,
or residential telephone entry systems that use the home’s existing
phone line to contact the resident. These systems can be used independently
or in combination with other devices. Multi-family complexes typically
use some type of dedicated telephone entry system that is PC programmable
with each resident’s phone number, individual directory and access
code, as well as devices such as remotes and card readers. Industrial
sites can be as simple as remotes or keypads to open and close, or can
use PC programmable controllers for remotes and card readers. PC programmable
systems allow administrators to control user access based on security
level, time and day.
Vehicle detectors, such as loops or probes, can be used to allow free
exit from the property, exit can also be limited to remote control, keypad
or card reader.
More emphasis is put on gate safety these days than ever before. Therefore,
it is important to have adequate entrapment protection in order to prevent
accidents from occurring. There are two main classes of safety devices:
contact and non-contact, and typically at least one of each is used for
minimum recommended safety. Contact devices, such as current sensing circuits
and safety sensing edges, react to physical contact with an obstruction;
non-contact devices, such as safety loops and photo eyes, detect a vehicle’s
presence and prevent the gate from closing. All gates require warning
signs that are visible from both sides of the gate. Since driveway gates
are intended for vehicular access only, a separate walkway or pedestrian
gate is required for pedestrian access. Be sure to choose a professional
gate contractor that will be able to answer all your questions regarding
gate safety and recommend the proper safety devices for your particular