Securing the Perimeter: Job #1 for Gate Locks

Feb. 4, 2019
Integrated solutions of mechanical, electric and EAC work together to on varied gate implementations

The variation of gate locking technologies on the market are almost as varied as the markets and applications they serve. Locksmith Ledger editorial director Steve Lasky recently posed some questions to several of the industry’s top vendors in gate locks to see what was trending in technology and for their companies.

Locksmith Ledger talked with the following experts in the field:

  • Jeff Horton, Marketing Manager North America for D&D Technologies
  • Nikolaas Talpe, Business Development and Marketing USA for Locinox
  • Mark J. Berger, President & Chief Product Officer at Securitech
  • Kara Kuntz, Director of Marketing for Lockey USA
  • David Busco, Director of Marketing for Global Security Solutions at Anixter

The first general question we asked our group of experts concerned the crucial nature of perimeter gates and their locking systems to the overall security of any facility. We asked them to discuss some of the different locking mechanisms on the market today and how the locksmith can partner with a vendor to service their customers and meet their application needs.

Mark Berger, Securitech -- Safety and security collide at the gate. There are many different gate types and operating systems. After the 7/7 London Tube Bombing in 2005, the New York City Transit authority decided to ensure safe exiting through all their fare array gates. Previously they had been access control gates, with the station agent controlling the release of the electromagnetic locks which held the gates closed. Life safety overrode all other concerns, and anyone can now exit through those gates at any time.

Kara Kuntz, LockeyUSA: LockeyUSA offers many different locks and the compatible hardware needed to secure a gate, whether it be a chain link, wood or ornamental iron application. LockeyUSA products range from mechanical lock latches, deadbolts, closers, panic exit devices and panic mounting shields, panic trims, and more. Many of our gate hardware solutions have bolt-on and retrofit capabilities, which makes for easy installation and less time spent in the field.

As a manufacturer selling products through distribution, LockeyUSA aims to educate distributors and make it simple for them to assist customers in finding the products they need to secure a gate.

David Busco, Anixter: There are two types of perimeter security gates at a secure facility, man gates and vehicle gates. Although securing each of them requires different security methods, there are similar criteria to consider.

  • Gate construction. For vehicle gates, the main purpose is to control vehicles entering or leaving the facility. Gates are constructed out of powder-coated steel or heavy gauge aluminum. Depending on the environment, the gate can have rollers and a track to guide the gate. Harsh environments that have snow or ice require cantilever gates that use a track attached to the supporting fence. Vehicle gates should incorporate mesh safety screening to prevent entrapment and to deter attempts to climb over it. Man gates are built out of similar construction; however, the mesh on a man gate and the surrounding fence should have smaller openings to prevent reach-in attacks to open the gate from the outside.
  • Closing mechanism. Vehicle gates have motorized operators. For man gates, self-contained spring closers can be bolted or welded onto the gate, and specially designed hydraulic closers can be attached to the gate and side post.
  • Locking mechanism. The type of mechanism depends on the level of security. Low-security man gates typically use a latch that relatches when the gate is closed. High-security man gates use an interlocking gate lock that secures the gate or a weatherproof magnetic lock. These are typically used in conjunction with electronic access control. Vehicle gates rely on the chain drive of the operator to secure the gate, which means the operator is also the locking mechanism. High-security gates also incorporate a 1500-lb. holding force or greater magnetic lock as well as the operator.
  • Type of access. Access can be either mechanical or electronic. For man gates, if the goal is to keep the general public out, then mechanical locks are used in combination with a restricted key system. Keys are usually numbered and assigned to specific users or homeowners. Applications would include gated communities, pools and tennis courts. Higher security applications typically use electronic access control to not only proactively manage who can get into the secured area and when they can gain access, but also to record the event and monitor the gate position.
  • Means of egress. Free egress is important for man gates if the gate is in the path of emergency egress. For low-security applications, free egress is provided so anyone can leave the secured area. The gate then closes and locks behind them. This is also true for vehicle gates where driving up from the inside activates the gate for egress. For high-security applications, authorized egress is required to exit. For man gates, this could be a mechanical key or credential. For vehicle gates, this could be electronic access control or an intercom that allows for remote activation.
  • Monitoring the gate for unauthorized access or attempts to bypass it. Tamper-resistant door contacts that come in aluminum or steel housings monitor the gate openings to ensure that the gate is closed completely. Tremor sensors connect to the gate and surrounding fence line to detect climbing or cutting attacks.

Nikolaas Talpe, Locinox: When discussing how best to secure a gate at any facility the first and most important question is: do we have access to power? While many customers will want electronic access control via a card reader, electric keypad, or key fob, it’s not always the most cost-effective solution. Without an easy way to tap into a supply of electricity the cost can be prohibitive. After all a key lock, electric strike, and an access control device will be about the same amount of money as a stand-alone mechanical code lock, but if the gate is 100 yards away from the building running power will be quite expensive. The main conclusion is that it’s important to talk to the experts in order to make an informed decision.

We then asked the experts how the locksmith can integrate other access control technologies onto the gate in conjunction with a physical lock and operator to enhance security.

Berger: Electrified trim or controls is one way. We did a storefront door security project for Wells Fargo on the West Coast, where we added electric release to their exiting Adams Rite locks, with an attractive retrofit power transfer (no visible cords). This allowed them to provide telephone access (I guess now it would be an app!) and retain the security of the Adams Rite lock. This same product has been used on gates to provide electric entry while maintaining a locking bolt in place of a latch.

Kuntz: LockeyUSA makes it easy for locksmiths to integrate other access control technologies to enhance the security of a gate. Most of our gate hardware is self-tapping or bolt-on products, which can be installed in the field without a welder, including our panic shield kits (panic shield, panic exit device, strike, panic trim, and more), LINX chain link gate boxes, and gate closers.

Many facilities are required to have a gate with free egress but still need to maintain a secure perimeter. Our panic shield kits make it simple to turn a gate into a panic exit. With more than 100 variations of panic shield kits, we’re sure to have an access control solution for your application.

Busco: The operator or closer that returns the gate back to the closed position and the physical lock or latch that keeps the gate secure are the very basic functions of a gate. A multitude of technology can be added onto it to turn it into a full-fledged access-controlled portal.

  • Intercoms allow two-way communication between the security personnel and the person requesting access. Upon verification, security can activate the gate by means of the remote release on the intercom.
  • Video intercoms allow security personnel to more positively identify visitors before allowing access.
  • Telephone entry systems allow the guest to call a specific person or home to gain access through the gate.
  • Bluetooth long-distance readers can be used at distances up to 45 feet using mobile credentials to access vehicle gates.
  • UHF readers for long distance can be used to grant access for on-the-move videos. UHF credentials need to be line of sight with the reader and are usually permanently attached to the vehicle.
  • Wiegand long-distance remotes are used by the vehicle owners in the same way a garage remote would activate an opener.
  • License plate recognition cameras use the license plate characters as a credential. The camera is integrated into the access control system. This is typically used in parking garages and other lower security applications.

Talpe: When considering options, locksmiths (or other installation or servicing companies) might also want to consider the ease of installation and speed of installation. Often, customers want their project done yesterday, and want the result to meet high standards. Historically a lot of gates were provided with a weld-in lockbox and corresponding locking mechanism; there are far easier and aesthetically appealing solutions on the market. Locinox is launching its new ALL-IN-ONE lockbox and mechanism, the LUKY lock. It’s a bolt-on and weatherproof powder coated lockbox that comes standard with a US mortise cylinder (easily rekey able), a set of active or passive leavers and an in/out adjustable set of bolts (latch bolt and dead bolt). In order to make it even easier to install these products, Locinox developed a drill jig (DrillFix) that will help you to easily drill the aligned holes and bolt on your Locinox lock.

Jeff Horton, D&D: D&D Technologies has over 28 years of experience in the gate hardware industry and is a leader in safety and hi-performance gate hardware globally, producing over 300 gate hardware products for every application.  D&D’s products are manufactured and continuously tested in their own facilities under ISO 9001 quality standards and are backed by limited Lifetime Warranty. D&D products are constructed with industrial-strength polymer, aircraft grade aluminum and stainless-steel components, are rust free and consistently exceed all relevant safety barrier codes around the world for the residential, commercial and industrial markets.

Horton provided some insight into the D&D Technologies product line:

  • Shut It gate hinges are produced with highest grades of steel for optimal welding, strength and performance. Shut It gate hinges contain sealed bearings with high-temperature grease for near frictionless movement and no maintenance.  Models capable of closing 1,000 lb. gates with Heavy Duty models capable of closing 1,500 lb. gates.
  • SureClose hydraulic gate hinge and closers offer superior corrosion resistance, hydraulics that are concealed within the hinge providing a controlled, quiet close in a tamper-resistant, compact design. SureClose hinges never need fluid added and can close 260 lb. gates.  
  • LokkLatch Magnetic gate latch locks and operate from both sides of the gate and features an unique push/pull action with a proven magnetic latching system.  They are both vertically and horizontally adjustable and have a stylish appearance with an affordable price.

Talpe says Locinox started more than 30 years ago by designing a gate lock that fitted the needs of a specific customer base (gate and fence installers). The solution needed to be easy and fast to install (no welding) and have an all-in-one solution. Locinox offers a variety of bolt-on gate locks that all fit the same drilling pattern (easy to standardize or service). These locks include mechanical code locks, regular locks, electric locks, along with the recently launched U.S. Mortise Cylinder lock.

He continues that their gate closers are in very high demand, and increasingly with locksmiths, mainly because of the ease of installation and the high quality.

“The biggest product range at this point would be the Locinox hydraulic Gate Closers. Gate Closers are mechanical solutions that will automatically close your gate after it’s being opened. The hydraulics will make sure the closing action is dampened, which avoids a gate slamming shut,” says Talpe, adding that Locinox has two types of solutions: retrofit application (for existing gates, or service calls) and new applications (these are what Locinox calls ‘gate closer & hinge in one’ – where there are no separate hinges required). The latter is in increasing demand because of its ease of installation and reliability. A gate closer and hinge in one has the benefit that the entire gate is perfectly aligned and destined to provide a reliable closing action.

According to Talpe, Locinox’s third product group are the automation products. With experts in electric engineering being added to the team a couple of years ago, the Locinox R&D team is increasingly focusing on these types of products. This has resulted in some innovative advancements over the past years. First, there are the Locinox electromagnetic locks (maglocks). Whereas the existing solutions were limited to maglocks that are time-consuming in terms of installation, Locinox developed a range of maglocks that focus on ease of installation: no more milling or grinding and no more Z-brackets.

Second, in 2017 Locinox launched a new range of electric strikes: MODULEC. These are again designed for easy installation, safety, and weather resistance.

Third, the SlimStone electric keypad was added to the team. This keypad is 100 percent watertight and has an integrated heating element, ensuring a proper functioning at any weather condition.

For more information on all the vendors in this story go to to find the technologies you seek.