How Do Automatic Gates Work?

So you’re considering buying automatic gates in Perth and you’re wondering how do automatic gates work?

It’s an important question because unless you’ve owned or used automatic gates it’s difficult to understand all the ins and outs of how they work.

You imagine they might crush your vehicle or stop working during a power cut. And exactly how long do they stay open for?

We’ve installed hundreds of automatic gate systems in and around Perth. So we’re passing our knowledge on here to help you. Let’s start with a summary…

Automatic gates commonly use electric motors or hydraulics to operate them. Swing gates rotate around hinges on gate posts at the sides of driveway entrances. Sliding gates are moved by a static motor. They typically have backup batteries, remote controls, other settings and can be solar powered too.

Here’s a bit of background information on gate automation, their popularity and uses.

Automatic gate popularity

Automatic gate installation in Perth and the surrounding suburbs are becoming much more common, in both commercial and residential areas.

Automatic gates have been in use for decades, but until recently were mostly found in commercial environments. Residential automatic gates are relatively new on the market but are growing rapidly.

In both cases, automated gates are used to enhance security levels, while allowing vehicle or visitor access during required periods.

If you want automatic gates in Perth or require some custom type of gate automation in the Perth area then contact us. We have our own fabrication arm at our Maddington workshop, and we can help you design your unique gate creation with our experts.

But for anyone in Australia, keep reading for more information on the mechanics of automatic gates, features of automatic gates, and the benefits of installing them at home or work.

How do automatic gates work?

Quite simply, automatic gates replace the manual gate system that requires someone to physically open it and close it. Automatic gates offer a range of benefits, along with a range of installation options.

They can be programmed to provide pedestrian access or voice control. They can use GPS or Wi-Fi integration, come equipped with obstacle sensors, timed movements, and a wealth of other convenient options.

One of the great things about automatic gates is probably one of their most basic functions: they save effort.

Gate automation provides not only added security but convenience too, either by sensors, or through the touch of a button.

Are automatic gates complex?

Although automatic gates may seem complex and difficult to implement, they’re fairly simple devices and they can be installed into a range of different settings. So don’t assume you can’t install them. We are often able to find a solution that works for you.

The basic concept of an automatic gate is not too difficult to understand. The gate will automatically open when you want it to, and close again after use.

It can do this in a few ways: either with sensors, or magnets, or using a stationary or remote control pad that requires the user to simply press a button or a combination pin code.

How the gate opener works

In simple terms, when a vehicle or visitor comes within range, the sensor will trigger the gate motor to open the gate. Once the vehicle has passed through and out of range, the sensor will instruct to close the gate. Varying trigger methods can be used, from keypads to remote controls and also induction loops for vehicles.

All the opening methods are commonly used in both commercial and residential gates. And with that, you might be wondering how the sensors in automatic gates work? Let’s answer that next.

How do automatic gate sensors work?

Some automatic gates use remote controls or keypads to trigger them. Others use sensors on either side of the entrance. The lasers are used to detect an obstruction. If the object breaks the laser beam from the parent sensor to the reflector, it triggers the gate to open, close, or stop, depending on the circumstances.

Another common sensor is an infrared beam that detects any obstruction in its path upon which it sends an alarm to the operator.

Failsafe systems

Modern gates have to come with safety in mind. So failsafe systems are an integral part of automatic gates. So if, for example, a car or person arrives while the gates are in motion, it will break an infrared beam. The gates will then switch directions to open and prevent collision with the vehicle or person.

All of these systems depend largely on your unique circumstances. Often the best way to approach it is simply to ask a professional for advice.

If you’re looking for automatic gates in Perth. Then why not call us now and we can help you understand your options. Or, if you know exactly what you need, then simply request a quote.

Let’s go on to the main features of automatic gates.

How do automatic gates work: Main features

Here are the main features and benefits you can expect from installing automatic gates.

Pedestrian opening capability

Automatic gates can be set to open for pedestrians as well as vehicles. This means you can decide who gets through and who doesn’t.

Low voltage or solar version available

Modern automatic gates are not as power-hungry as they perhaps once were. Modern motor designs and efficiencies mean low voltage gates are becoming the norm. Did you know we have 12V extra-low voltage (ELV) motor kits that don’t require an electrician licence to install? These are perfect for DIYers who want to install an auto gate themselves. There are even solar-powered versions to help you use free energy.

High push force

Push force is a term used to describe the amount of force required to break through the automatic gate or to force it open.

Automatic gates come in various styles including Slats, Colorbond, or Tubular re-enforced frames – but they remain lightweight. So as well as creating an impressive-looking home frontage, they can also withstand a lot of push force.

Revolutionary brake

Sensors built into automatic gates offer safety. Strategically placed sensors mean they can stop instantly using up-to-date braking systems.

Sensitive anti-crushing control

You’re not going to get crushed by your automatic gates, and they won’t put a dent in your vehicle either. They will sense any contact instantly and are designed to stop immediately.

Anti-fatigue cable harness

Old gates become worn quicker because in previous generations of automatic gates the mechanisms, pulleys, and harnesses would wear quicker than today’s modern gates. Now gate motors use anti-fatigue gearing systems to maintain the life of the product. They’ve been tested over thousands of uses.

All-weather construction

Regardless of how much rain pours down, or how bad the winds might get, modern automated gates are designed to withstand extremes in temperature, humidity, and gale force.

Easy to use

There are over 500 potential settings to help run your automatic gates. But once we’ve programmed the system for your needs then you barely need to think about it again. Simply press a button and use it.

Reliable battery backup

Power cuts are rare in Perth. But should a power cut strike then you’re not going to get locked in.

Automatic gates also come with…

Very fast but variable operating speeds

No one wants to wait for a gate to open as it’s akin to watching paint dry. So we install gates with the speed of operation in mind. This can be variable and programmed into the settings. Speed does not compromise the aspects either.

Reliably move almost any gate weighing up to 500kg

We’ve installed systems on all manner and types of gates, whether using your current gates or installing custom gates as part of the install (which we can fabricate). The systems we use can handle weights of up to 500kg. We have rarely encountered gates that have been over this weight.

Easy setup and program

Generally speaking, programming automatic gates is accomplished once the installation is complete. Technicians will fine-tune the system so it meets the user’s needs. Often later revisions can be accomplished if further fine-tuning is needed.

Stores up to 500 remote controls

Access to hundreds of predefined settings means automatic gates accommodate every need imaginable.


Installing automatic gates not only provides a sense of security, but it will deter anyone from coming onto your property without you knowing about it. Along with secure and robust fencing, and with the help of highly secured doors and windows, you’ll have total peace of mind.

That’s the list of the main features. We’d also recommend checking out the pros and cons of automatic gates.

What are the next steps?

If you want to install automatic gates or would simply like to learn more as part of your assessment, then we’re here to help.

We’ve been installing automatic gates in Perth for years. We can custom-build your gates on-site at our workshop in Maddington. Plus, we cater to both commercial and residential projects in and around Perth.

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