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

Is barrier certification essential?

Certification has played an important  role in the evolution and development of anti-terrorism vehicle barriers, and has given buyers confidence in the products and their performance.  (See How is a vehicle barrier's stopping power certified?)  However, is certification essential?  Is there a downside to certification?

Yes, there is a hidden downside to certification.  Barrier crash testing is done at an authorized facility which attaches instruments to the barrier and vehicle, conducts the test, analyzes the instruments and crash videos, and issues a test report.  This is expensive and a barrier manufacturer may spend $100,000 or more to build the prototype, transport it, install it, test it, clean up the debris, and restore the test track.

No manufacturer wants to spend this money and fail a test, thus, most vehicle barriers are over-designed.  Over-designing a barrier means adding weight, complexity, and cost.

Second, once a barrier is certified the manufacturer cannot make modifications without doing another expensive certification crash test.  Not only are major structural changes prohibited, but even less substantial modifications are generally precluded.  So even when superior components or materials become available, manufacturers often cannot take advantage of them.  Yet other industries with significant public safety implications — such as the nuclear power industry — are allowed to upgrade critical components through engineering analysis rather than through full-scale testing.  The lack of such provisions in the vehicle barrier industry is an obstacle to innovation and cost savings.

AT PRO Barrier Engineering we have addressed this certification issue by developing engineering models that allow us to accurately calculate stopping power when we modify a barrier's design.  By working with customers to evaluate their true vehicle stopping power requirements, we can often offer customers substantial savings by delivering a rated vs. a certified barrier.  Contact us for the details.  Return to FAQs