Access control systems and automated gates provide a unique opportunity for government and commercial properties to heighten their security approach. Whether you need critical security gates for vehicular or human traffic, these products are both smart and convenient in terms of managing access and retaining a secure property.

Here, we’re explaining the current technologies that exist in access control systems and automated gates, as well as the advantages these products offer and how different types accommodate various security needs.

How Access Control Systems & Automated Gates Work

Keeping track of the people and vehicles entering and exiting a secure location can be a challenging effort in the midst of ensuring the safety of employees and visitors as well as physical and intellectual property. Critical security gates and access control systems enable government and commercial entities to protect these assets, mitigate theft, document specific comings and goings, allow individual access to multiple buildings or areas, minimize the complexity of access processes and foster overall peace of mind.

All of this is accomplished through evolved technology and product offerings that make security much more accessible and seamless than before. Whereas automated access and gate systems were once controlled by landline telephones programmed at the hardware or keypad level, advancements have enabled these systems to overcome the challenges of limited visibility, lack of remote access and the need for in-person device programming.

Today, gated access control systems are powered by internet connections or cellular networks and typically leverage keycards and/or individual pin codes (or even biometrics and scanners where the highest levels of security are required) for access. An electronically locked door or gate is connected to an access control server or IP network, and when the proper credential is entered or swiped, an electronic signal is sent to the door or gate, unlocking and opening it to enable entry for authorized entities.

Advanced technology has also given rise to features including:

  • Remote control from web browser or mobile device application
  • Built-in cameras for recording or capturing photos
  • Streaming video of entry and exit points
  • Transaction records of ongoing gate activity, including time and date stamps
  • Video and IP intercom systems

To ensure safety with regard to automated security gates, accident and injury prevention is managed via sensors and mechanisms that can detect objects in the gate’s path or resistance as the doors are closing. The International Building Code (IBC) and International Fire Code (IFC) require automated vehicular gates to comply with the provisions of UL325 and ASTM F2200.

Types of Remote Access Gates for Security Needs

As the technology evolves for critical security gates designed to protect government and commercial property, different solutions have emerged to meet varying requirements. Not every property necessitates the same level of security, space or access control, so it’s important to understand what options are available for your needs. Here’s a basic rundown on some of the most common types of remote access gates to consider.

Swing Gates
The motion of swing gates is like that of a door, opening at one end and typically extending to 90 degrees (swung fully inward or out). The most common type of swing gate operators are swing arms, which feature a heavy metal frame and gear boxes. Mounted on a concrete pad and utilizing a scissor arm to open and close the gate, these units generally have the durability to last decades when properly maintained.

Slide Gates
Slide gates are offered in a V groove (rolling), cantilever or overhead variety. A highly robust style of operator, the slide gate requires more hardware and concrete for installation and is well suited to properties with uneven terrain. Most units are chain driven and have the control board housed on the operator or, in some cases, a rack mounted on the gate.

  • V groove or rolling gates are ideal where there’s limited or fixed space for access. They move sideways to the left or right, remaining parallel to the fence when open, and rely on the use of roller wheels attached to the bottom of the gate that slide over a V groove track on the ground. Installation involves the pouring of concrete footing to enable a consistent rolling path. Rolling gates are constructed of steel and designed with wheels that are sized and spaced along the side of the gate to support equal portions of hydrostatic load.
  • Cantilever slide gates are counter-balanced to slide out smoothly in a linear motion, but instead of being guided by rollers along a track, these gates move sideways and back via roller trucks or wheels mounted to gate posts. They are constructed of aluminum or steel and are optimal for applications where a large opening is needed, such as industrial security gates for airports, railroads, chemical plants and municipal authorities.
  • Overhead slide gates rely on an overhead beam to support an enclosed track. A gate panel, typically constructed from aluminum, hangs from the overhead track to roll back and forth at opening and closing. These gates require less space for the gate panel to open or slide into, as no counter-balance is needed.

Vertical Lift Gates
A vertical lift gate, as the name infers, moves upward to open (instead of sideways or out) via a system of hydraulics and electronics contained in the remote enclosure. It has two lifting columns, one on each side, and rises above the height of authorized vehicles passing through (up to 60 feet). It’s a compact solution for space efficiency, as extra space is not needed in front of, behind or alongside the gate.

Vertical Pivot Lift Gates
This type of gate opens by rotating upward at one lower corner, pivoting 90 degrees and resting on its side edge when fully open. It requires more space than the vertical lift gate, as the gate panel must have a spot to reside in the open position, and is better suited to non-height-restricted areas.

Drop Arm Barriers
These barriers are used to control traffic with a multi-purpose entry drop-arm that presents an anti-ram obstacle for safeguarding against vehicular threats. They are popular for controlling access to parking lots and garages and are available in engineered design lengths to fit specific site requirements. Drop arm barrier units can be operated automatically by card reader, keypad or telephone entry system, or they can be manually controlled within a guard station or kiosk.

Pedestrian Gates
Some secured facilities position gates at pedestrian entrance points for personnel and visitors, utilizing one of the following options for access.

  • Swing gates open and extend outward in a particular direction to allow entry of one person or party at a time. Similar to the vehicular swing gate, it opens like a door. Pedestrian swing gates are usually available in chain link, welded wire and ornamental steel or aluminum.
  • Turnstiles allow one person to pass at a time, enforcing one-way foot traffic or restricting passage to strictly those who insert a coin, ticket, pass, etc. A turnstile can be leveraged to manage paid access or to restrict access to authorized individuals.

Professional Installation of Security Gates & Access Controls

The added security that access control systems and automated gates provide is a major benefit for government and commercial properties that must continuously manage entry and exit points.

These systems elevate your ability to maintain security in a smart, efficient and effective way.

Given the complexity of such an installation project, it’s paramount to contract the services of a highly experienced professional in this area. Partnering with an authorized dealer and installer of leading gate and control systems gives you the advantage of knowledge and experience in choosing the right fit for your unique requirements and implementing a quality installation.

RFI is an authorized dealer of LiftMaster gate operators and Miller Edge gate safety products.

Interested in learning about how Rutkoski Fencing can help with your next access control project? Download our free brochure.