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Manufacturer of anti-terrorism vehicle access control barriers and conventional access control gates

Do hydraulically actuated barriers require significant maintenance?

We get this question frequently.  Some people think that barrier activation by electrical motors is inherently superior to hydraulics.  In fact, a well-designed and properly installed hydraulic system usually offers a superior combination of cost, maintenance, and safety.

Think for a moment about how we use hydraulics every day without giving the technology a second thought.  Your car’s brakes, transmission, and power steering use hydraulic systems, as do the aircraft you fly in.  All of the food that comes to your table requires hydraulics for planting, harvesting, processing, and transportation.  Simple, periodic maintenance keeps those systems operating troublefree.

Remember that electrically actuated barriers also have their maintenance issues.  Large electrical motors are needed to move the mass of the vehicle barrier to the road-closed position.  Also, many barriers include so-called “E-Close” (emergency close) functions that move the barrier from the fully open to fully closed position in under two seconds.  Moving such a large mass so quickly requires significant motor power and gearing upgrades for what is a seldom-used function.  Unless the associated gearing is carefully designed and optimized for both the motor and the mass, premature gear wear can be a problem.  Also, those gear trains need regular lubrication so electrically actuated barriers are certainly not oil- or maintenance-free.  Finally, recognize the potential for fire exists with electrically actuated barriers should the high torque motors overheat from gear binding or lock-up due to wear or inadequate maintenance.  Go here for more information on electric vs. hydraulic barriers.

Hydraulic actuation is a safe and proven technology and our hydraulic systems are environmentally friendly.  A well designed and maintained system will deliver years of reliable, trouble-free operation and will help you avoid the Vehicle Barrier TrapContact Us with any questions you might have about hydraulic vs. electric actuation.  Return to FAQs.