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  • Writer's pictureMidwest Fence & Gate

Choosing the Right Gate Automation System: Factors to Consider


One part of an automatic swing gate swinging open toward the camera.

With advanced technology and convenience at our fingertips, automating gates is now increasingly popular. However, selecting the right gate automation system requires careful consideration of several factors including your property’s security needs.


Read on to explore the things you should consider before opting for gate automation for your property.


What is Gate Automation?

A gate automation system allows gates to open and close automatically with the help of technology. Automatic gates have become popular because they are less labor-intensive and aesthetically pleasing. These gates generally use a combination of the following systems:

  • Strong motors to power the opening and closing mechanisms. Your gate consultant will determine the type of motor based on the gate type, space availability, and budget.

  • Control Systems to operate the motors and other components of the gate automation system.

  • Sensors to detect objects and people in the area around the gate. This helps to prevent accidents and injuries.

  • Remote Controls to open and close the gate from a distance.

Different Types of Automatic Gates

Understanding the different types of automatic gates can help you make an informed decision. The following are the six common types available:


1. Slide Gate

A slide gate rolls horizontally along a track and is an excellent option for properties with sloping driveways. Since the gate slides to one side, it requires ample clearance to open fully.


2. Cantilever Gate

A cantilever gate is similar to slide gates but uses a counterbalance mechanism. Since the gate doesn’t have a solid track, you need more space on your fence for the supporting framework to maintain stability.


3. Swing Gate

Swing gates have motorized arms or underground operators that swing it open and close. This makes it ideal for properties with less fencing space and level driveways.


4. Vertical Lift Gate

Vertical lift gates are commonly used in commercial and industrial settings. They lift the gate panel upward, providing maximum security and access control.


5. Bi-Folding Gate

Bi-folding gates consist of two panels that fold inward or outward to create an opening. These contemporary gates are suitable for properties with limited space where a slide or swing gate may not be practical.


6. Barrier Arm Gate

Barrier arm gates are often seen in parking lots, toll booths, and gated communities. They are relatively easy to install and maintain because they only consist of a horizontal arm that pivots to allow or restrict access.


A parked truck in front of the last automatic door among a row of automatic doors in a warehouse.

Factors to consider before choosing the Automation System

Since an automatic gate is essential to your property, you should consider several important factors before choosing the right one.


1. Purpose of the Gate

While all gates are installed to enhance security and restrict access, each one might be used differently. The first choice would be to determine how often your gate will be used, as this will heavily influence the type of gate and supporting mechanisms. For example, swing gates require more power to open and are generally not preferred for frequently used areas. The nature of the property and the type of vehicles would also affect the choice of a gate automation system. Weather conditions and vehicle loads can hinder underground motors and cables.


2. Amount of Space Available

If the space in and around your driveway is restricted, you won’t be able to use some automatic gates. Since swing, slide, and other gates operate differently, assessing the layout and identifying obstacles like trees, walls, fences, and parking areas is critical. Understanding your space can help you find the best gate and identify customization options to ensure the perfect fit. To make this process smoother, you can hire a gate automation company to assess your property professionally.


3. Design and Material

The design of your gate can contribute to your property's overall look and feel. While the primary focus is on the function and security aspects of the gate, selecting a design that complements your surrounding environment can make it visually appealing. Since you might have to make design adjustments based on the type of system installed, you might need to restrict your design portfolio depending on your property’s space assessments.


You should also consider the choice of material for your gate as it impacts the style, durability, and maintenance requirements. Since automatic gates can be constructed using steel, wrought iron, aluminum, or wood, your choice will influence your automatic gate’s operation. For example, using a heavy metal like wrought iron for a cantilever gate can offset its balance.


4. Other Features

When choosing an automation system, you might find additional features like intercom systems, video surveillance, keypads, remote controls, or smartphone integrations. For example, a video surveillance system would help you add more security by monitoring the surroundings of your gate. While these can enhance your property’s security and convenience, you might need a security assessment to identify the most relevant ones. You could also partner with a leading fencing and gate automation company to determine the best options.


5. Longevity

It can be tough to determine the longevity of your automated gate, but it can be estimated based on a few critical factors. You can assess the quality of materials used in the system's construction, as high-quality materials offer better durability. Maintenance requirements should also be taken into account. Some systems require regular lubrication, mechanical adjustments, or inspections for optimal performance. Therefore, you should research local gate automation service providers who can offer maintenance and repair services.


Selecting a gate automation system could be tedious as it requires research and planning. To ensure you get the best option, you must partner with a reputed partner like Midwest Gate & Fence Company in Iowa that can offer custom gate automation support. Our highly trained professionals can expertly recommend and install the right automatic gate after assessing your needs. Contact us for more details!


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