Force testing is a way of determining how an object will react when it is subjected to tensile of compressive loads – wither during normal operation or when being pulled/pushed until it deliberately fails or breaks. These forces can be classified as tension, compression, flexure, shear, and fracture. It is one of the key elements in ensuring the overall safety of your gates, and is essential for meeting al current safety guidelines and legislations.

Force testing gates is about limitation of forces in the crush zones of your gate. If a gate is tested and it does not comply then additional safety should and can be fitted until it is up to scratch. A gate installer that tests the forces can provide a compliant report showing all forces are within the safe parameters of the machinery directive.

The Health and Safety Executive state that:

At all times a powered gate must respond in a safe way when any person interacts with it. It’s design must take into account that foreseeable interactions may go well beyond normal use (eg children playing around or with/on the gate), as well as normal wear and tear, and adverse environmental influences, particular wind and rain/snow and other debris that can impair function.

They also list a number of ways in which safety should be delivered for electric gates, and not the following regarding force testing:

Limitation of forces exerted by moving parts (which may be delivered within the gate motor itself), or in conjunction with external protective mechanisms, including pressure sensitive edges fixed to leading and other edges where crushing/impact hazards exist, to detect and cushion the impact with an obstruction.

Why is Measuring Important?

It is recommended that all forces should be periodically checked on electric gates as part of a routine maintenance program.

If the readings are fond to be extremely high, then a compliant gate company has to take action and switch the gates off and leave them in an open position. This is done, not to inconvenience the gate owner, but to protect them and the company from something more serious.

What Can Cause a Failed Force Test?

Force Testing

It is important that the forces an automatic gate exerts, are within allowed levels, and a calibrated and compliant force test gauge should be used to undertake these checks.

The number of locations to measure from will vary dependent on the situation. Measurements need to be recorded wherever a gate could create a crushing point. On a swing gate this would be against the closing point of the gate (such as a gate post for single gates or following gate against the leading gate for a pair of gates. We will also need to evaluate a gate opening against a wall on either side.

On a sliding gate the forces must be measured on a closing gate towards the far gate post as well as any points on the opening cycle where the gate could pose a crushing trapping hazard.

This video explains why it is essential to ensure force testing, and other safety checks are important and required for your automated gates and barriers.

At CM Gates & Barriers, we strive to ensure that all safety standards are met, and pride ourselves on maintaining these standards by offering regular servicing to our clients, regardless of if the system was originally installed by us. Contact a member of our team to arrange a visit where we can go through these standards with you and carry out a full test to ensure your automated gate or barrier system is compliant with current regulations.