We have talked in previous editions about the various different types of electric gate motors for swing gates such as ram arms, articulated arms and also the very popular underground motors.

In this article we will focus on the pros and cons of installing underground electric gate kits to help you determine if this is the type of gate automation that is going to be the best for you.

Pros

Nearly invisible
This is one of the main reasons that make underground gate automation so very popular. Because the motors are buried under the ground, enclosed in boxes; all that is visible is the rust proof lid. This is particularly advantageous if you do not want to spoil the aesthetic of your gates by attaching arms across the back section of your gates.

Quiet
Whilst no automatic gate kits are especially noisy, the underground operators are amongst the quietest of all the opener types. This is something you may wish to bear in mind if you live in a residential street, especially if you are likely to be operating your electric gates during the night time hours.

Can move all gate types
Underground gate motors are most typically found on open patterned iron gates but they can also be used on closed boarded gates if required. In order to move a closed boarded gate you will need one of the higher specification underground motors such as a BFT SUB R or the Beninca DU.350.

Easy to manually release
All electric gate motors have a mechanism to release in the event of a power failure so you don’t get trapped on your driveway. The underground motors have a lever beneath the gate which connects to the motor. A large key (like an allen key) is all that is needed to disconnect this lever from the motor, it then clicks easily back in to place when the power is restored.

Cons

Can require lots of extra drainage
Due to being in boxes under the ground, they obviously have the potential to fill up with water. As standard, a soak-away will be added to provide drainage away from the boxes. The motors are rated to operate under water but it is never good for them to be permanently fully submerged.

Not ideal at the bottom of a slope
If your gates are at the bottom of a hill or slope, this can provide an additional drainage challenge which may not be combated with just a standard soak-away. You may well find that you need to put a drainage channel across your driveway to stop a cascade of water reaching your underground gate motor boxes in the first place.

Hard to retro-fit and requires welding
If your gates are already installed and you are wanting to retro-fit electric gate motors, it is far more difficult to install underground gate openers than it is to install arms. The installation process requires the removal of your gates and then welding of ‘shoes’ to the underside of the gate to connect to the drive mechanism of the underground gate opener. This is something to bear in mind when costing up the job as this can add a significant amount of expense to the project.

Not always possible to dig down deep enough
In order to embed the foundation box on to concrete and provide an adequate soak-away, you will need to be able to dig down to around 500mm and also excavate a significant area around the boxes. You would be best to test the feasibility of this before you purchase your kit.
If you are unable to dig down to this depth then there are some electric underground gate kits which need a slightly shallower depth. You would be best to discuss this with us prior to purchase.

In summary…..underground electric gate kits are a fantastic solution for all gate types but would be recommended more for a new gate install than as a retro-fit option.

If you want to discuss anything regarding underground gate motors, please give us a call on 01282 677300 and we can help you with any technical matter.