May 8, 2019
5 Min. Read

Your Guide to Understanding an Automatic Gate System

Automatic gate systems have been gaining popularity in Tanzania in recent times. Many of the bigger establishments in towns, as well as residences in big cities, use these systems. These gates offer a great way to control the flow of people in and out of a facility as well as control access to certain areas within a facility.

Many people are familiar with automatic gates, but not the types or how they work. Consider this guide, a means to help you understand automatic gate systems so that you can make the best choice when getting one for your home or business.

Components of An Automatic Gate

The first thing you need to know are the components that make up an automatic gate; They are the gate itself and the gate operator. No automatic gate system will work without these two parts.

We don’t feel the need to explain much about the gate component as most of us already know what it is. On the other hand, the gate operator is the machinery that runs the mechanism to open or close the gate. The machinery can be hydraulic-powered or electric-powered depending on the operator type as we shall see later.

Types of Automatic Gates

Many people in Tanzania will have only seen two types of automatic gate systems as they are the most commonly used. As a matter of fact, there are 6 types of automatic gate systems that can be used for your residence or business. Let’s have a look at each of them:

A look at a slide gate; one of the many type of automatic gates

1. Slide Gates

These are the most commonly used gate systems in residential homes. These gates also go by the name “rolling gates” or “V-track gates” as they sometimes require a metal track to be installed along the ground in the direction the gate will be opening. Rollers are also added to the gate to support it and aid in the movement of the gate.

For this system, the gate is installed parallel to the fence line so that they slide horizontally back and forth when opening and closing. One downside of this system is that the rollers could get blocked by debris or stones making it difficult to open and close the gate.

The gate could also be outfitted with a cantilever system making it easier to operate.

2. Cantilever Gate

Cantilever gate system; an automatic gate system with motor, gearbox and tooth track

A cantilever gate uses a motor and gearbox to move the gate open and close. These types of gates are mostly preferred by high-end residential areas and businesses in Tanzania.

The mechanisms of this gate (the motor and gearbox) are installed behind the gate pillar (in an area that makes it not quite visible). The gate is also outfitted with tooth tracks that provide the traction needed to make the gate move open/close.

There are up to six motor sizes for you to choose from. The motor service selected will depend on the size of your gate.

3. Swing gates

Think of swing gates like a door, they open/swing on a 90-degree arc. They operate like this because they are hinged on one side. You can have a single-leaf or double-leaf swing gate. These gates can open inwards or outwards depending on the amount of space you have or simply your personal preference.

These types of gates are more common with residences in Tanzania as they are low-cost and easy to install. In today’s Tanzania residential market, these gates are being replaced by Slide gates. Although not common in Tanzania, you can automate swing gates via the use of an underground or pillar-mounted system.

4. Vertical Lift Gate

Vertical lift gate opening for a truck 2

These gates are not the best looking, this might be the reason why we don’t see them much in Tanzania. As the name suggests, these gates lift upwards and are best used in areas where there isn’t enough space for a swing or slide gate. These gates need vertical support towers installed on each side of the gate that will hold it as it moves up and down. It’s important to understand the height of the vehicles that’ll use that gate as it needs to be lifted high enough to allow vehicles to pass through.

6. Vertical Pivot Lift Gate

These gates are similar to vertical lift gates except they rotate in and out instead of going up and down. These gates don’t need any additional support structures as the gate operator supports the entire structure itself. This type of automatic gate is not ideal if space is an issue for you as it takes up a large footprint besides the gate.

7. Bi-Folding Gate

Considering the name, these automatic gates consist of two gate panels that are hinged together. The system can also use a single panel if need be. You can see these gates being used in some of the high-end areas of Dar es Salaam as well as in offices and embassies. It’s probably used because it takes up less space and offers quick/fast opening and closing speeds,

8. Barrier Arm Gate

A barrier gate; a type of automatic gate

This gate uses a barrier arm that rotates in and out of the gate opening. This type of gate can be seen in most big shopping complexes in Tanzania such as Mlimani City. It is not always the best option in terms of security, but great for when you need to control vehicle traffic or movement or access to parking facilities. Don’t use these gates when you’re trying to control pedestrians as people can easily walk over or jump over the barrier arm.

Accessories that come with Automatic Gates

There are some accessories that you can use with your automatic gate system to add more functionality to it. For instance, you could add a video surveillance system to view and record activity that happens at the gate.

You can also add an access control system (this can be considered a priority for commercial establishments). This system will allow certain access control devices to control the opening and closing of the gate. For instance, in Mlimani City, card readers are used to controlling the opening of barrier arm gates to allow vehicles to get in and get out. Other systems such as portable wireless transmitters and digital keypads can be integrated with your automatic gate system.  


An automatic gate system is not an investment that should be taken lightly. The gate you choose will be an investment for the long term, you need to make sure it fits your security needs. It’s best that you consult with our professional experts to get helpful advice on what would suit your business or residence best.

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