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Barriers, sliding gate or speed gate: which type of entrance control best suits your situation?

Jeroen Huijbregts - Marketing Manager, the Netherlands

There are many different ways to organise the entrance to your site. You can choose between arm barriers or turnstiles, robust sliding gates or swing gates, or for a rapid opening/closing speed gate. I see many companies struggling to choose the best solution for sealing their site. This blog explains the advantages and disadvantages of the different possibilities and offers advice on making the best choice.

When considering the security of their site, many companies think firstly about fencing, detection, cameras, protocols, monitoring and other methods. However, a safe perimeter is also dependent on how to best organise the access to your site. There are many different ways to organise access: consider turnstiles for pedestrians, barriers for vehicles, and gates to seal off the whole terrain. The following paragraphs describe the various categories.

A sliding gate is a robust barrier that can provide a wide entry point. This is useful, for example, when your site is regularly accessed by large vehicles. A sliding gate normally closes at a speed of 25 centimetres per second, but can reach a maximum of 50 centimetres per second. A sliding gate can close off a relatively large entrance in comparison to a speed gate, but takes up more space than other gates. Large sliding gates can be left open during the day when used in combination with an arm barrier.

A speed gate permanently closes off a perimeter and requires a minimum of space. Because of its clever harmonica construction, a speed gate can open and close in a matter of seconds. It folds closed after each vehicle. This makes the speed gate, and the arm barrier, perfectly suited for a high traffic density entrance. A speed gate also allows better control during rapid access, and completely seals a location.

A swing gate is a robust solution that can be both manually and electrically driven. After each movement, the gate completely closes off the perimeter within seconds (if electrically driven) for vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians. The gate requires more space than a speed gate because it swings open and closed a full 180 degrees.

An arm barrier creates a clear separation between public areas and your company site. It is an ideal method to regulate vehicle access to your site however it is not suitable to regulate pedestrian and bicycle access. An arm barrier does not close off an area completely, and allows intruders to easily sneak under, around or over the barrier. And most arm barriers cannot prevent vehicles crashing their way through.

A turnstile is used to regulate access to your site for (large numbers of) pedestrians. It only allows one person to pass at a time and can only turn in one direction. Depending on the model, a turnstile can be electromagnetic or motor driven.

What is the best choice?
Obviously there are enough choices for securing the access to your site, but how do you choose the best alternative for your situation? What do you need to consider? Here are a couple of handy tips.

Consideration 1: available space
How wide does your entrance need to be? A wide and open entrance is best suited for a sliding gate or possibly 2 arm barriers. Is the entry point narrow? Then consider a speed gate, arm barriers or a sliding gate. Also the area next to the gate is a consideration. A sliding gate will slide along its complete length, meaning that you need sufficient space left or right of the gate. This space left or right of the gate needs to be at least as wide as the gate itself. If this space in unavailable then a sliding gate is not an option. Arm barriers, swing gates and speed gates require less space left and right of the entrance.

Consideration 2: density and type of traffic
When controlling access to your site, the traffic density plays an important role. Are there many movements and do you need to announce your arrival or departure? Then arm barriers and speed gates are the best option. Do you only need to deal with a limited number of trucks loading or emptying? Then a sliding gate is an elegant solution. You also need to consider the type of transport. Is the access primarily used by vehicles or is access only allowed for pedestrians? Or are both welcome and you require other restrictions to regulate access.

Consideration 3: security level
An arm barrier allows you to easily regulate access to your site. However pedestrians can easily pass under the arm. A sliding gate is better to prevent intruders from entering. Sliding gates have a maximum height of 2.5 meter; preventing most people from climbing over. If the entrance should be mostly closed and should be compatible with the security level of the surrounding fence line, then you should consider a sliding gate or a speed gate. The sliding gate or speed gate can seal an entrance, however it can open in seconds to allow a vehicle to pass. It will then close again directly after the vehicle has passed. A speed gate closes quicker than a sliding gate.

It is also possible to combine a speed gate and an arm barrier to create an entrance with the highest security level. By positioning them at a given distance from each other you can prevent more vehicles from entering the site unauthorised at one time.

It is always good to ask yourself what type of intrusion you need to protect against. Some companies require the gate to be closed the whole day, while others only want to close the gate when no personnel are present.

Of course you can always hermetically seal off your site but this is not always necessary. Defining your security needs is best done using different scenarios. By considering the most likely risks and dangers for your site, you can determine the scenarios you need to prevent. An energy supplier that needs to prevent unauthorised persons entering high voltage areas has different needs to a farmer who wants to prevent trespassers on his property at night. By carefully considering all factors – scenarios, available area and movement – you can eventually choose the best solution for your company.

We at Heras would like to help you choose a suitable arm barrier, sliding gate or speed gate. We can work together to predict the scenarios relevant for your company and consider all the practical considerations. Contact us via info@heras.nl or call +31 88 274 0274.