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Choosing a Gate for your Self-Storage facility
Robert works for PTI Security Systems in the Engineering Department, and has worked in the self-storage security industry for over 25 years.
Maybe you’re building a new facility, or perhaps you have an existing site and you’ve just discovered a dozen 55 gallon drums of who-knows-what behind one of your buildings; either way, you’ve reached the point where you’ve decided to get a security gate. Each type of operator has advantages and disadvantages, and knowing these in advance can help make your decision process easier. There are also a few optional items available for most operators that you should be aware of, and those are addressed in a separate category at the end of this article.
This operator is the most common, but don’t automatically assume that it’s going to be best choice for your site. It uses a chain, belt, or hydraulic pump connected to pinch rollers to pull the gate open, and any gate company should be able to install one. Limit devices connected to the operator sense when to stop the gate in the open or closed position.
Advantages slide gates:
Disadvantages of slide gates:
Dual gate operators in a Main / Secondary configuration can be used for extra wide openings. This increases speed, but at the expense of having two gates and operators.
These gates are also common, and are usually paired with a manual or motorized slide gate. This operator uses a motor connected through a belt or chain drive to a lightweight (wood, fiberglass, etc.) arm that can be up to 20 feet long. The arm rises to allow vehicle passage, and then automatically closes once it is through.
Advantages of barrier arm gates:
Disadvantages of barrier arm gates:
This operator is less common than the others. The motor is attached to a pivot arm, which is then attached to a hinged gate that swings open like a door.
Advantages of swing gates:
Disadvantages of swing gates:
Vertical Pivot Gates
A vertical pivot gate uses a motor and belt system, and is attached to a counterweight spring system with the gate mounted on top. This allows the entire metal gate (up to 18' long) to open vertically. The gate itself is purchased from the same source as the operator.
Advantages of pivot gates:
Disadvantages of pivot gate:
Vertical Lift & Fold Gates
A VLF gate combines the operating principles of a Barrier Arm gate with a Lift gate. The gate itself is made of pickets that are connected to the gate arms through pivot points. As the gate arms are raised by the operator, the pickets "fold" into a smaller space.
Advantages of a VLF gate:
Disadvantages of the VLF gate:
For all gate operators, there are some optional items that should be considered. On some models, these may be standard equipment.
Notes about Safety Requirements