How Does a Rolling Gate Motor Work + Installation Tips | All Security Equipment

The space-saving designs of driveway gates that slide make them widely popular in many residential and commercial properties. One or more vehicles can park in the driveway without getting in the way of the sliding gate, which isn’t the case with swing gates, particularly longer ones.

In addition to taking up little space, sliding gates support automation, meaning you can install a gate motor or gate opener kit and eliminate the need for manual operation.  

If you’re looking to install a rolling gate (a type of sliding gate), this article discusses what you should know about the workings of a rolling gate motor and a few tips to make the installation a stress-free process.

Types of Sliding Gates

black gate installed

Sliding gates come in a few different designs, including track or rolling, cantilever, and telescopic sliding gates. Here’s a quick overview of each sliding gate type:

Rolling Gate (Track Sliding Gate)

The most inexpensive sliding gate is the rolling or track sliding gate. Rolling gates have wheels that run on tracks in the ground.

Instead of manually pushing a rolling gate, you can install a gate opener (essentially a motor with a gear wheel system at the bottom rail of the gate) to effortlessly open and close the gate when needed.

Telescopic Sliding Gate

If you don’t have sufficient room along the length of your perimeter fence to install a track sliding gate, you can stack two or more shorter-length rolling gate panels in front of each other so they slide into each other. This design is known as a telescopic sliding gate.

Cantilever Sliding Gate

Cantilever sliding gates don’t require tracks because they don’t run on wheels. While these are safe, secure, and aesthetically pleasing, they use stronger frames and require substantially more installation space, and all of this boils down to a higher installation cost.

However, cantilevers are excellent options for large commercial and industrial applications, particularly where the traffic includes heavy-duty vehicles that may damage the tracks in rolling gate installations.

How a Rolling Gate Motor Works

Sliding gate motors have different weight ratings, voltage requirements, and features, but they generally work in the same way.

Typically, an output gear inside the electric motor connects to the gate’s rack. The output gear turns in response to signals initiated by a user from controlling devices, such as remote controls, vehicle detectors, intercoms, telephone entry systems, or mobile phones. This will, in turn, move the gate to open or close.

How Long Do Gate Motors Last?

One good thing about sliding gate openers is that they are built to last. Most models designed for residential applications usually run up to 100,000 open and close cycles. Most heavy-duty motors rated for commercial and industrial settings will open and close up to 250,000 times.

These figures roughly translate to about 15 years for a single residence where the gate is used about 18 times daily and approximately 13 years for a busy commercial property where the use frequency is about 50 times daily.

That said, the life span of a rolling gate motor can be considerably shorter if the gate is not installed correctly or if it is used to operate a heavier weight (gate) than it is rated for.

Weather and environmental conditions or vehicles crashing into the gate can also affect how long the motor lasts.

Rolling Gate Motor Installation Tips

automatic gate with motor installed

Consider the following important tips if you plan on installing a gate motor for your rolling gate:

Make Sure the Gate Runs Freely Along Its Track

Before you install a gate motor, it is crucial to ensure your sliding gate moves smoothly and freely along the entire length of its track.

Ensure that the track is completely straight and the wheels are properly installed to prevent the gate from contacting the ground.

This way, the gate motor won’t have to work harder to open and close the gate. Automating a sliding gate that’s not properly installed can put a lot of pressure on the opener and shorten its lifespan.

Choose the Right Size of Motor for Your Application

While your budget will ultimately determine whether or not you buy a particular gate motor, the price tag shouldn’t be the first and only consideration when automating a rolling gate.

First, consider the size and weight of your gate, and then pick the correct motor rated for those parameters.

Also, factor in any slope across your driveway. Remember that the weight rating on any rolling gate motor indicates the maximum weight of the gate that the motor is designed to operate on level ground, not slopes.

In other words, you might need a larger or more powerful motor if your gate is on a driveway that slopes across to efficiently push the gate’s weight uphill.

Using a less powerful gate motor for a sliding gate across a slopy driveway can be disastrous, as the motor might lose control, letting the gate slide uncontrollably downhill at full speed.

Ensure Proper Draining

Typically, a good-quality rolling gate motor, such as the FAAC C720, is designed to withstand harsh weather conditions, including being rained on. However, gate openers shouldn’t be allowed to submerge in water.

This means the pad for mounting the gate motor must be level, even on slopy driveways.

Install Only Two Wheels in the Gate

It doesn’t really matter whether you set up the wheels inside the bottom rail of the residential gate or mount them under the gate; the most efficient way to use wheels for roller gates is to install only two.

Only two wheels on the gate will contact the ground simultaneously, leaving any extra wheels to float and possibly cause derailing of the sliding door.

Avoid Setting up a Track Groove

A track groove in your driveway is bad news for you and your motor. Besides complicating the installation process, grooves collect dirt and debris, making it difficult for your gate motor to work as expected.

And while you can clean the groove, you’ll have to go through the trouble doing this chore frequently ― perhaps multiple times daily, depending on where you live and the weather conditions.

Find What Suits You

If you are in the market for a rolling gate motor, we urge you to browse through our collection of sliding gate opener options and discover the best motor for your slide gate.

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