How Do Gear Type Gate Motors Work?

How Do Gear Type or Rack Drive Gate Motors Work?

Pin It

If you live in North America, chances are you’re used to gate operators using a chain drive. That’s the standard type of gate operator in most of the United States and Canada.

However, you might be surprised to know that that’s not the only type of gate motor out there. In fact, in many parts of the world, gate motors operate with a gear or cog and a corresponding “rack” on the gate. Here’s what you need to know about how gear-type or rack drive gate motors work.

Where Are Gear Type or Rack Drive Gate Motors Used?

The first thing you need to know about how gear-type or rack drive gate motors work is that they are usually used in places where it doesn’t snow, or at least where it doesn’t snow much.

That’s because this type of gate motor is usually installed on the ground, and the toothed rack on the gate is only a short distance from the ground. Gates that use this type of gate motor also usually have a metal track on the ground and run on grooved metal wheels.

All of that means that if there were more than a few inches of snow on the ground, the gate would not be able to operate.

In fact, many of these kinds of gates have special brushes attached to the bottom of the gate that sweep sand and debris off the track as it opens and closes and leaves the track clear and ready for use.

How Gear Type or Rack Drive Gate Motors Work

As you can see in the image above, gates that use gear-type gate motors usually have a nylon or metal rack attached to the bottom of the gate, a few inches off the ground.

This rack has teeth that correspond to teeth on a gear or cog that is attached to the gate motor.

When the gate motor is activated, the motor turns a spindle, which turns the cog or gear, and then that uses the teeth on the rack installed on the gate to pull or push the gate open and closed.

A set of guides at the top of the gate ensures that the gate stays vertical, and these types of gates usually use special posts called “portals,” which are U-shaped posts that the gate slides through. They also often have anti-lift brackets that prevent the gate from being lifted off the track and the motor’s gears.

One of the big benefits of this type of gate motor is that unlike North American cantilevers, which are typically at least 1.5 times the width of the gate opening required, sliding gates that use gear-type gate motors are usually only a foot or two wider than the gate opening, so there’s a big saving on material and space.

Are Geared Type or Rack Drive Gate Motors Safe?

In North America, where chain drives are used to operate gate motors, special safety equipment is required to ensure that people don’t get trapped by gates when they are opening and closing. That’s because the chain drive will keep operating even if it hits resistance, which is why special safety features like edge sensors, infrared beams, and other features are legally required.

Gear-type gate motors usually also have those things, including infra-red beams, entry and exit loops, and so on, but their motors also usually have a safety feature that is designed to detect resistance within the opening and closing limits of the gate, and they are usually designed to automatically reverse when they meet that resistance.

This means these kinds of gates are generally a little safer than your typical chain drive gate because the motor has its own built-in sensors and safety features. However, it also means that you must watch your gate closing to ensure that no one stops and reverses the gate during the opening or closing cycle.

What Kind of Features Do These Types of Gate Motors Have?

If you’re wondering what the features of this type of gate motor are, you can rest assured that they have all the options and features you would expect from a North American-style gate operator.

You can use remotes, tags, keypads, and intercoms. There is a huge variety of add-ons and options available, and these kinds of gate operators also come in a variety of sizes and strengths, so you can automate everything from smaller residential-style gates to much heavier high-security gates.

As with any kind of gate automation, always look for high-quality equipment that offers local after-sales service. This will ensure you have the longest possible trouble-free life for your automated gate.

new cta image