Is there an over reliance on pressure edges to deliver automated gate safety?

Type in automatic, electric or powered gate safety into Google and you will find numerous references to safety edges (also referred to as pressure edges).

But while pressure edges undoubtedly have a role to play in enhancing automated gate safety, Gate Safe’s view of the matter is that the priority for any powered gate is that the gate should never reach the point at which it could come into contact with anyone or anything. The only way to achieve this is to stop the gate from opening or closing in the first place – via the use of photocells or light curtains.

Currently the industry seems to err on discussing the use of photocells or light curtains to simply supplement force limitation measures, because ‘they are too easy to defeat by simply standing astride or leaning over the beam’. Gafe Safe contests this opinion on a number of counts:

  1. If photocells / light curtains had been fitted to the gates that killed Semelia and Karolina both children would almost certainly be alive today. Surely this alone justifies their contribution to automated gate safety? Correctly positioned photocells / light curtains will deliver the most important safety requirement of all, that the gate does not make ANY contact with a person. This is in sharp contrast to pressure edges, which work on the principle that if contact is made, the gate will stop. However, what happens when there is wind effecting the gate’s operation? When this occurs the force behind the gate upon the moment of contact is definitely beyond what would normally be considered ‘safe’
  2. Suggesting that you can stand astride a beam to defeat it is illogical. Unless you are able to fly (!), the actions required to attempt to site astride the beam will cause you to break it, which in itself will cause the gate to stop and reverse when it is closing
  3. A gate that is fitted with safety edges is still capable of crushing someone if, for example that individual is carrying a box. While the gate might stop when it makes contact with the box, the safety edges may not be activated if they are sited at the base of the gate

The fact is, there should not be an over-reliance on safety edges as the over-riding solution to automated gate safety regardless of the propaganda put out by the safety edge manufacturers.

Gate Safe therefore believes that photocells and light curtains have an equally valid role to play and as such, should never be overlooked in favour of a pressure edges / force testing combination.