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PROtect Your World™  
Manufacturer of anti-terrorism vehicle access control barriers and conventional access control gates

Are electrically operated barriers superior to hydraulically operated ones?

We received a call recently from a potential customer who wanted to install one of our barriers.  He wanted an electrically operated vehicle barrier because of his negative experience with his existing (not PRO Barrier) hydraulically operated barriers.  His barriers frequently leaked and were often down for repairs.  He was adamant that electrically operated barriers would solve his problem of unreliable hydraulics.

We reminded him that he uses hydraulic systems every day.  His car has several (automatic transmission, brakes, steering, cooling and air conditioning systems are all hydraulic or fluid systems) and every truck, train and airplane is loaded with hydraulics, as are all the machines that harvest, process, package, and deliver the food he eats.  When asked about the last time one of these systems had failed him, he admitted, "Never."  

We convinced him that hydraulics are not inherently troublesome and that perhaps his vehicle barrier supplier was responsible for his woes, probably by using a poorly designed system exacerbated by low quality valves and fitting. 

Another client went on a six month "fix the hydraulics in our existing barriers once and for all" campaign, only to throw in the towel and install two of our trouble-free Arrestor barriers.  That company was up against a poorly designed system that no amount of band-aids could fix.    

When it comes to hydraulics; it's not the system, it is the implementation.  Our hydraulics partner is one of the most advanced hydraulics companies in the United States.  They design, fabricate, and maintain hydraulic systems for companies that are household names.  They also provide the elaborate hydraulic systems for theater productions and celebrity concert tours, where performers' lives depend on their systems.  Their hydraulics design expertise is one of the reasons for the trouble-free performance of our barriers.  Read here about the routine maintenance requirements for our barriers.

Of course there is a role for electrically operated anti-terrorism vehicle barriers, but realize that hydraulics offer tremendous advantages over other systems.  They efficiently store energy, which makes for fast barrier operation, they are trouble free if properly designed, and if a problem occurs they are easily diagnosed and repaired.  This is why Boeing, John Deere, Ford, GM, Caterpillar and thousands of other companies use hydraulic systems in their products.  You can be sure that if a better drive system existed they would use it.

Sometimes a customer will admit that hydraulics are perfectly fine but is nonetheless concerned that even one leak could cause unacceptable environmental harm and damage to their reputation.  That is absolutely not a concern with the hydraulic fluids we use at PRO Barrier, as explained here.

As you discuss your vehicle barrier needs with us keep an open mind about electric vs. hydraulic.  Rest assured, whichever option you choose PRO Barrier will deliver a system that gives you years of trouble-free operation.  Return to FAQs.