A gate actuator is a mechanical device used to remotely open various types of gates. These actuators are used primarily to open access gates at security points, domestic dwellings, and parking facilities. They are normally electrically-powered and provide actuation via gear- or cam-type linkages. The electric motors used in these actuators may be rated for alternating current (AC) mains power sources or direct current (DC) battery power. Most gate actuator installations are operated remotely using a key fob remote, key card, or by an operator in a central control station.
Access gates are often remotely or automatically opened and closed for reasons of security and convenience. Automated or remote control gates are found in a variety of environments, including high security complexes, domestic dwellings, and parking facilities. Installing a gate actuator allows owners and security departments to control who enters or exits a premises, and affords the convenience and security of not having to leave a vehicle to open and close a gate. Gate actuators are typically used on vehicular access gates, but may also be installed on smaller pedestrian entries.
The majority of gate actuator installations are directly driven by electric motors. The source of power for the motor may be an alternating current (AC) mains supply or a direct current (DC) supply from a battery. In many cases, an AC mains supply is routed to the gate actuator enclosure, where it charges an integral battery via a control circuit board. When the actuator works, it draws power from the battery, and not the mains, allowing for a certain number of independent gate duty cycles in the event of a power outage. The actuator mechanism will typically include a manual override feature, which allows the gate to be opened and closed by hand should the power or actuator fail.
Most gate types may be opened with a gate actuator, including vertical swing and roll-up, one piece slide, and two-piece swing types. They are also used on boom-type gates, often in the form of hydraulic lifts. In most cases, though, a simple rack-and-pinion gear arrangement or an eccentric cam is used to transfer the rotary motor movement to the linear motion needed to open the gate. Most gate actuators are manually triggered from a central control point or using a key fob style remote. In the case of high traffic or unmanned stations, a key card or ticket system may be used to open the gate.