Gate Operator Safety
When installing a gate, one of the first things you think about is how safe the operator is. But how do you know if your gate operator will operate correctly during every day use, and perform no malfunctions around children and pets? When you stop to think about it, garage doors and gates are often the largest and heaviest utility in the house. This page explains some of the most important aspects of having a safe gate operator.
Regulations and safety precautions have come a long way since the first gate opener and garage door, yet every so often you will see a story in the news about garage doors or gates closing at the wrong times. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 1990, usually refered to as the Improvement Act, mandated that automatic residential garage door operators manufactured on or after January 1, 1991 conform to the entrapment protection requirements of the 1988 version of UL 325.
Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL) is a non-profit organization self-described as “the leading third-party certification organization in the United States and the largest in North America.” UL’s primary stated mission is “to evaluate products in the interest of public safety.” UL standards are voluntary standards that establish minimum requirements and are developed via an open, nonexclusionary process. “Voluntary” means that the standard has not been initiated through any government or similar regulatory agency mandate. “Minimum” means that the industry and those who developed the standard believe that the requirements should be met by all participants affected by the standard, and that more stringent provisions may be adopted by some in the industry. Finally, an “open, non-exclusionary process” indicates that any interested party can participate in the development of a UL standard. In addition, a number of UL standards have undergone a “canvass” (ballot) process in order to obtain recognition as American National Standards.
The Improvement Act provides that when UL makes changes to the entrapment protection provisions of UL 325, UL must notify the Commission of the proposed changes. UL 325 is used as a basis to test products at a nationally recognized testing laboratory. Gate operators that choose to participate in a listing and labeling program submit their products for testing. If they are found to be in compliance with the UL 325 standard, they are “Listed” and receive a “Mark.” While UL is not the only laboratory capable of listing and labeling products, it is perhaps the most widely known standard in the industry. Gate Opener Safety gate operators meet UL 325 standards.
Now that you know a little more about gate operator regulations, what about the physical equipment? Perhaps the most important peice of equipment in a gate operator system in the photo eye, or photoelectric sensor. Most gate openers and garage doors utilize these life-saving systems. Photoelectric sensors detect the distance, absence, or presence of an object by using a light transmitter and photoelectric receiver.
There are three different types arrangements for photo eyes, and all help make gate operators and garage door operators safe. The detecting range of a photoelectric sensor is its "field of view," or the maximum distance the sensor can retrieve information from, minus the minimum distance. A minimum detectable object is the smallest object the sensor can detect. More accurate sensors can often have minimum detectable objects of minuscule size.
You can rest assured that every product you purchase from Gate Opener Safety meets all regulations in the industry. Your gate operator safety devices are top-of-the-line pieces of equipment that will perform great for years to come. We wouldn't have the word Safety in our name for nothing!