Automatic Swing Gates

There are a few different methods of opening a gate automatically. Different horses for different courses, so to speak. In this post I will explain what Automatic Swing Gates are and why you might choose this option.

If you have gates on your driveway already (the old fashioned, open and close them by hand type), then there's a 95% probability that they are swing gates.

Automatic Swing gates

These gates have a decorative steel frame and hardwood panelling infill in a herringbone style.

Swing gates come in one of two forms. Normally, there will be a pair of gates, that open in two halves (leaves), one opening on the left and one on the right. Occasionally, there may only be a large single gate leaf that is hinged on one side of the opening and locks on the opposite side. In either case, they are known as swing gates, because they "swing" on the pillar or post.

Any existing swing gate can be automated - as long as it is in working order. That means that you should be able to open and close the gates easily with one hand - there is no friction or resistance against the movement, the gate is not trailing on the ground, and doesn't require to be lifted to move it. The gates should also meet correctly in the middle when closed - not requiring any special knack or "jiggery pokery" to get them to fully close properly!

Assuming that they are in good condition, lets have a look at what is required to automate them. For automatic swing gates, there are several methods of actually automating them (each method will be described fully in a separate post later). There's underground gate automation, self-contained hydraulic ram systems, linear motors, telescopic actuators, wheel drive systems, articulated arm systems, heavy duty hydraulic underground systems and heavy duty hydraulic rams with a separate power pack.... That's a lot of choice - or at least it looks that way.

For your normal driveway, we would generally only consider four of the above - the underground system, linear motor, telescopic actuator and articulated arm system. These systems are all suitable for gates up to about 400kgs in weight (some much heavier than that) and a leaf length of up to 3m. Now if your gate is at these proportions - you have a huge gate! Most driveway gates in an urban setting are only about 3m (10ft) wide and weight maybe 250kgs - so any of the four methods can comfortably accommodate them.

So why all the options then? Different systems have different capabilities in terms of the geometry of the gate mounting. In other words, it depends on how the gate is hung on the pillar and the distance from the back of the pillar to the back of the gate. If the distance is quite shallow - for instance if the gates are hung on wooden or steel posts - the distance is 100mm or less - then a linear motor will work. If the distance is up to 180mm then a telescopic motor is better. If the gates are hung on concrete or stone pillars - this distance might be up to 350mm (nearly 14") then an articulated arm system will be the tool for the job. If you have wrought iron gates and don't want the automation to be visible - then the underground gate automation system is the one for you!

That sounds like a lot of complexity - but really it's more simple and straight-forward - as you will see when I write a post to describe each system in the near future.

I hope this helps answer any questions you might have if you are thinking about having automatic swing gates installed.

That's all for now, folks.

Thanks for reading. Adrian