Gate operator

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A gate operator is a mechanical device used to open and close a gate, such as one at the end of a driveway. There are two main types of electric gate openers – hydraulic or electromechanical; these can be further split into the following categories, worm (or screw) driven, arm openers and underground openers. Automatic and Electric Gate operators are designed for both swinging and sliding gates. They can be programmed to open and close with a wireless transmitter or a manual device. Low Voltage Automatic Gate openers can also be fitted with solar panels to ensure function during loss of electricity or blackouts.

Operator Types[edit]


Drawing power from the mains to open a driveway gate. Generally there are four types of electromechanical gate operator: Worm driven (or screw type) swing gates, barrier arm operators and sliding operators Electric and automatic gate openers are designed for both sliding and swinging gates. They can be programmed to open with a manual device or a wireless transmitter. Automatic gate operators can also be fitted with solar panels to operate without high voltage power. Many manufacturers offer battery backup either integrated or as an add on to systems that ensure function during loss of electricity.


These are used to automatically open an electric driveway gate. As the name implies they use hydraulic fluids to operate their motion. Typically hydraulic operators have less moving parts than mechanical operators.

The hydraulic motors have a number of advantages when operating gates: they are capable of producing more power than mechanical motors for heavy sized barriers and do not have to work at full power when operating large gates.

Drawbacks of using hydraulic operated barriers are caused because of the technology itself, being under pressure, they tend to be harder to handle and less safe.

Gate Types[edit]


Swing gates swing open like the door to your bedroom or bathroom might, simply opening inward or outward.[1]

Swing gates can use three types of operators. A swing arm operator, which is a box, that sits off to the side and has an arm extending to the gate. A ram arm is located on the gate and post and uses either a hydraulic piston or a jackscrew-operated piston. Underground operators are located by the hinge and operate the gate via a link arm.


As its name implies, a slide gate either slides on wheels from left to right or right to left, not unlike many department store automatic doors.[1]

Slide gate operators are commonly installed at the end of the gate in the closed position but can also be installed by the end of the gate in the open position. In America the most common form of automation is a chain attached across the gate near the bottom and passing through the operator, which shuttles it back and forth. In the end of the gate/open position you do not see the chain or any operating equipment near the gate. In Europe a metal or plastic rack is attached to the gate with a gear fitted to the operator. The American method is more flexible and allows for greater movement in the gates, the European method makes for a quieter and more secure system. Sliding gates are often large, heavy and therefore more hazardous than swing gates they can however be equipped with appropriate safety devices making them some of the safest gate systems available.


Barrier gate operators are what you see in parking garages, at toll booths, and at other traffic control areas.[1]

It is an automatic gate consisting of a breakaway gate arm, motor assembly and housing installed at the departure end of a toll island or a car park. A traffic barrier is used to reduce violations and speed through a toll lane.


Overhead gate openers are generally commercially used in underground parking garages where space is at a premium. They lift the gate overhead very similar to a typical garage door opener. In this instance the gate may weigh much more than a garage door. The operator and track hardware is built much heavier to accommodate these loads.

Tigers Teeth[edit]

Tiger Tooth Traffic controllers enforce “One Way” traffic flow for parking facilities or other single direction vehicle lanes. The torsion spring actuated Tiger Teeth positively control traffic in one direction while permitting free flow in the other direction. The Tiger Teeth will puncture all pneumatic tires including steel belted radial and large truck tires. The TC28 incorporates Tiger Teeth that are rotated into position in less than 1.5 seconds by a highly reliable electro-mechanical system. The TC28 motorized traffic controller, with teeth sharp enough to cut paper, severely damages or deflates even the new generation of steel-belted tires.


It is vital to consider the safety of electric gates. An improperly installed automatic gate without proper safety devices may result in serious injury or death. Many manufacturers now produce 12V, 24V, 120V, and 230V operators, electric & hydraulic which are capable of detecting the difference between an obstacle and the effects of the wind on the gate leaf.

The 230V supply like all electrical additions have to be part P certified. If you already have power supplied to the gate then P certificate does not apply. Machinery directives EN 12453 and EN 12445 are the regulations concerning gates. Whoever installs the gate is the one responsible for the conformity. The major points are the maximum amount of force at certain test points. Example – a maximum of 400N of force can be applied in the last 50 cm of travel of a gate, during the mid travel of a gate the amount is 1400N. Most gate kits can be fitted so that these limits are not reached and so meet the requirements. Please also be aware that many gate installers have never heard of these regulations If in doubt contact the main equipment suppliers to discuss in more detail.

Safety devices[edit]

Risk assessments should always be undertaken to ensure that gates are fitted with appropriate safety devices protecting all crush and cutting areas that the moving gate creates

Photo beams[edit]

A standard on most gate systems, one or two infrared beams are recommended to prevent gates closing on to vehicles or pedestrians. It is better to prevent an impact than act after the impact has happened.

In ground loops[edit]

These are magnetic field generators that are able to detect metal when it passes into the field. The detector gives a signal to the gates either causing the gates to open or preventing the gates from closing.

Gate edges[edit]

The earliest safety edges used air pressure to activate a switch when crushed but the safety edge would fail if the air chamber was damaged. A different version has a tensioned wire inside a rubber strip which activates a switch when moved. Resistive safety edges contain a metal core when crushed the resistance of the metal core changes and this is detected by a monitored control panel.



Control devices[edit]

Telephone entry[edit]

Mobile phone based intercoms often known as GSM systems allow the operation of gates from anywhere in the world.


Digital key pads have replaced the need for keys in a lot of locations.


Transmitters are the perfect way to open and close the gates. The distances vary with some only having a limited range and fixed to a wall or fence.


Timer is a system with automation for automatic closing and opening on the setting on time mode.

Emergency entry[edit]

National fire code requires that an electric gate default to the unlocked position in the case of a power failure. Gate operators satisfy this requirement through one of three means:[2]

  1. a single open battery backup device (upon a power outage, opening the gate immediately or one time using a key switch);
  2. a multiple open battery backup device (allowing the gate to open multiple times until the battery dies);
  3. or a mechanical lock that releases upon power failure, allowing you to push or slide the gate open.

Card Reader[edit]


Most modern electric gates[3] installed can be installed first and the then the intercom systems retro fit at a later date. There are numerous types of intercoms available, simple keypads through to gsm intercoms activated by mobile phones. Audio can also be used alone or as part of a mono or color video setup.

Indoor push buttons[edit]

Push buttons are used mostly for opening and closing automation systems from inside or indoor its similarly works as key switches and remote controls but it is connected through wires with the device which is on control. For information or details for all entrance automation systems like gate, door, shutter contact for free inquiry.


  1. ^ a b c "What are the Different Types of Driveway Gates?". Retrieved 2014-02-07. 
  2. ^ "How Do I Open My Automatic Driveway Gate During a Power Outage?". Retrieved 2014-02-07. 
  3. ^ " Electric Gates". Retrieved 2015-03-10.