Closed steel swing gate
Force testing and maintaining a regular servicing schedule is a necessary part of automated gate ownership. Why? It protects you, your staff, visitors or vulnerable persons that may (accidentally or otherwise) encounter your gate. Whether big or small, an automated gate can produce large amounts of force which can (and sadly does) prove fatal. 
But what is force testing and what responsibilities do you have as an owner of an automated product? Read on to find out… 
Why do gates need force testing anyway? 
Automated products are a wonderful thing. They save you time and effort as they no longer need control from a person to operate them. Brilliant. However, this is also the reason why force testing (and regular servicing) is necessary and very, very important. 
A gate can (and does) apply lethal force to anything which happens to get in the way of its operation – which could be a vehicle, an animal or a child… 
Force testing then ensures that all the potential locations where injury could occur are tested not only for the level of force that is generated but also that the force quickly disappears once an obstacle has been detected. 
The lethal potential of gates is sadly all too often proven and, following two tragic incidents in 2010 where two children lost their lives in separate events during the same week, the safety standards relating to gate safety and compliance were raised. 
To be compliant with these new guidelines you need to be able to prove that your gates (and other powered equipment) have been tested periodically and are also subject to a regular service schedule to ensure that all risks associated with the gate – whether through damage, wear and tear or damage from the elements – has been assessed and rectified. 
What is force testing? 
Put simply – when an automated or electrically powered gate meets an obstruction – be it a person, animal or a vehicle – it applies a force to that person. Depending on the type of gate that you own, these forces could be different. 
However, there are some common dangers which can be generated by all gates. These include entrapment and crush zones which can easily imprison a person and leave them no option of escape, draw-in zones where a body part can be pulled into a moving part – typically between a gate and post or the ground, shear points where injury can occur by being trapped between two moving surfaces – think scissors and finally, finger traps. These are small pinch points which can be formed by the gate’s operation. 
The gate Force Test was created to help electric gate installers test the gate’s safety systems (including sensors and safe edges) as well as the forces generated by the gate under all conditions. The results of these tests prove that the gates comply with EN12453 safety legislation. Proof of this compliance is required for all owners of automated gates. 
Is force testing the same as servicing? 
No. A force test can help you avoid any chances of injury (or worse) from the forces generated by your gate and test the safety systems which have been installed upon it. However, it takes a fully-trained engineer to be able to spot potential issues within the gate itself that could signal potential damage to the gate’s systems itself – such as age, wear and tear or impact damage. 
Stanair’s fully trained engineers can not only provide the force test on your gate but can also provide a full Risk assessment and service at the same time to ensure that your products are well-maintained, compliant to the latest standard and safe for all users. 
Can I just use anyone? 
Powered and automated gates are more and more frequently used in the design of commercial and public buildings. Unfortunately, poorly installed and maintained gates continue to cause injuries and (in some cases) deaths. 
Force testing is a lengthy and vigorous procedure involving over 60 measurements using properly calibrated tools and is not something to be undertaken by anything less than a fully trained individual who can then, at the conclusion of these tests, accredit your gate as safe for anyone and everyone who may use it. 
Remember- having proof of a compliant system is not just about having the correct documentation. It is in the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your gate does not put yours, your staff or visitor’s lives at risk. 
As a member of the Door and Hardware Federation (DHF), Stanair is at the very forefront of gate safety legislation. We ensure that all our qualified gate engineers are fully and comprehensively trained to the DHF’s standards when it comes to making sure that our customers (and their equipment) are fully compliant when it comes to force testing and having safe gates – whatever their use or location. 
Finally, force testing and servicing can sometimes be overlooked as budget pressures are applied. However, knowing that your products have been rigorously assessed, checked and achieved full compliance is priceless for your peace of mind. 
To start your schedule of checks or to inquire about the assessment of a new gate or automated product, why not contact our experts and fully -trained team today and discover how we can help you remain safe, secure and compliant – whatever the product... 
An man afixing his security posts
Whether a swing or sliding, any automated gate must be force tested to ensure its safe use by users.  
Sliding security gates installed at a site in Coventry
It is not only automated industrial products which require testing and regular maintenance... 
Car park barriers at a site in Milton Keynes
Automated gates can be lethal - there are many ways in which a user can become trapped or injured by a gate - this is why force testing is so important... 
It is not only pedestrians and other vulnerable users which can fall victim to gates and other automated products - vehicles too can easily become trapped and damaged. 
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