Bump Gates – Dofygate is better because you will not damage the front of your vehicle or endanger livestock or people standing the other side
Bump Gates are used around the world though largely in the ‘ranch’ type situations more than the more intensive European production systems. They require the passing vehicle to make contact with the gate to push it open. In its simplest form this pushing action dislodges the gate from a ratchet type holder and the gate swings open against a ‘biased’ hinge. The bias means the gate hinges are positioned in such a way that the gate swings open and slightly upwards resulting in gravity returning the gate to its home position. This works in both directions. If ‘bumped’ correctly the vehicle can pass through before the gate swings naturally back to its shut position. In modern incarnations of these gates include a catch to hold the gate momentarily to afford the passing vehicle more time to pass through the gate opening before the gate swings back onto the vehicle side. A ‘bull bar’ fitted to the front of the vehicle will help prevent damage to the vehicle front but where legal or insurance restrictions mean one should not be fitted then modern plastic light clusters are vulnerable to damage. Any agricultural vehicle with a front linkage or other uneven front can become caught up in the gate.
Bumping into the gate to open it requires a bump of just the right speed. Not hard enough and the gate will not open long enough to pass through or not far enough to reach the ‘holding’ catch. Too fast and the opening movement may damage the gate or the vehicle. The most serious problem is the danger of injury to an animal or person standing on the other side of the gate when it is bumped. This danger can become acute if the gate is bumped to close to the hinging point.
Cattle grids – Dofygate is better as it is simple to install, virtually silent and requires no outside power source and considerably cheaper when all costs are considered.
The standard cattle grid is a series of metal bars sitting over a pre-formed hole in the ground. Animals are reluctant to cross the grid of bars. In yard or field situations the grid can fill with mud, straw or other debris requiring cleaning out to remain effective. Without drains the hole will fill with water but these drains add to an already expensive item. The cattle grid is a well proven system and accepted as safe so long as it meets the standards in terms of size and where pedestrian access is needed an alternative gate is provided. There can be problems. Hants Fire Brigade were called to free a Welsh Cob that had managed to get itself stuck in a cattle grid. There can be noise issues where the grid is near housing caused by the rumble of vehicles crossing the grid.
UK and US patent registrations show that cattle grids have been re-designed many times over the years. Most of the redesign is centred on the construction of the grid rather than its functionality, though a UK application dated 2006 does seek to overcome some of the drawbacks while at the same time creating some of its own.
The Heney Gate – Dofygate is better because multiple bars can contain a greater variety of livestock, carries its own ultra efficient energiser and will not get caught in mudguards.
Created in Ireland by John Heney and presented on their version of Dragon’s Den this is a take on the Bump Gate or Ecklund Gate with self centering electrified bars that the approaching vehicle pushes open.It does have the advantage opening from both sides meaning that that the force on the approaching vehicle is considerably reduced as is any risk of injury to a person or animal standing the other side. The bars themselves are energised by a standard unit or linked into an existing electric fence.
Drive over grids or mats – Dofygate is better because it is unaffected by ground conditions and much easier to open when the animals need to exit.
Over the years several patents have been applied for, largely in America to protect various forms of electrified grid that enable vehicles to pass while keeping stock at bay.In one example, the vehicle is driven over a mat of electric cables. The panels need to be the same width as the vehicle and not wide enough to enable an animal to cross. Another take uses a rubber mat impregnated with iron filings that means the mat surface is conductive. Simply unroll across the gap and turn the fencer on. This may become compromised in situations where mud, straw or water come into contact with the mat surface and surrounding ground. We have built a derivation of the electric grid ourselves and this has been working for two years. There are problems most of which have a solution but with adequate maintenance such as ensuring undergrowth is controlled or straw from the yard does not spill onto the bands it works well. Should any reader require more information on its construction then contact me via the comments box.
Electified Bars – Dofygate is better as there is no contact with the vehicle that can cause increasing damage to the paintwork and is better able to deal with cows and calves or sheep.
There are a range of gates consisting of bars with or without vertical hangers that act like a Bump Gate but are much lighter.They are opened by bumping into them causing the bar to swing away from the vehicle as it drives through, then the bar returns to the closed position by a biased hinge or spring. The gate itself (or bar) is electrified by a standard fence energiser which causes the animals to stay away from the gate and therefore enables the gate to be constructed using light materials. The fact the gate must carry a charge means that it must conduct an electrical current and this is achieved by wrapping the bar in a conducting tape, the use of a modified plastic coating or the use of carbon fibre. The gate itself will keep stock in the same way any electric fence will keep stock in place. Despite the lightweight nature of the rod ends the paintwork of any vehicle may be damaged as the rod ends scrape repeatedly down the side of the vehicle. If the rods become caught on or between parts of the vehicle then the rod ends can be replaced separately from the post hinge and spring mechanism. The Ecklund gate is of Canadian origin and does what it says on the tin. Stays shut when it should and opens when driven into with the ability to span up to 4.9 meters. Being a single span the ‘tip speed’ on opening is fast though any animal or person in the way would be within site of the driver. This gate has been sold throughout North and South America. The Koehn Marketing Drive-Thru Electric Gate combines the features of the Electrified Bar and Ecklund Gate, along with the added feature of vertical droppers. These droppers add significant visual depth to the gate but may be vulnerable to becoming tangled in awkward features of the passing vehicle such as wing mirrors or mudguards. Since the gate is split the bars will swing away with less vigour than the Ecklund.
Flexible Grid (We built this but the design is not 100% reliable) – Dofygate is better because it works all the time
This is not an item we are selling but a patent is currently under application. The patent is based on the unique fold down and damped re-tensioning system. It all works but is not considered to be a commercial proposition at present. Flexible Grid Video Flexible Grid Low Level View This is a home grown design that has been working in front of a yard for two years. There have been some hiccups along the way. For example, if the straw is not kept back the gate shorts out and cattle will eventually work this out. The grid itself is not the stand alone deterrent it was hoped to be and needs the electric shock to make it work. This in itself causes another problem. If the shock is too strong the cattle will not pass through the gate even when the grid is completely removed. A lower level of shock or moderated as will be included in our new design overcomes this to a large extent but without further development the moderated shock cannot cope with any degree of short before becoming ineffective.
Vertical opening gate – Dofygate is better because it closes within the normal sight line of the animal and is considerably faster opening or shutting – just 3.5 seconds
This is demonstrated by the Lazy Gate from America. The whole gate is lifted vertically and would be suitable in places where other gates would be difficult to fix. It is not any more suitable for containing stock in close proximity to the gate than other gate opening systems but does offer an alternative. A You Tube Video is available of the Lazy Gate in action. An alternative to this idea is available in the UK and offers a good looking option with Solar options. In this case the bars of the gates are hinged individually which means the gate does not tip back beyond the gate post. The efficiency will depend on all the joints being maintained correctly.
Actuator driven gates – Dofygate opens and shuts in 3.5 seconds not 15 to 20 seconds and Dofygate can absorb impacts without damage.
The standard way of operating a gate remotely is to use an actuator. The actuators usually consist of an electric DC motor driving a screw that extends an arm which when connected to the gate will open and close the gate. Achieving the correct balance between safety and moving a heavy gate in strong winds or other difficult conditions can produce a compromise where the gate may not operate correctly at times. Usually the gate has one control unit so where the gate is split into two halves a wire will need to be buried across the gateway to enable both sides to act together. The system is prone to damage from vehicles accidentally running into the gate.
These systems operate too slowly to be effective stock control gates. Their speed is dictated by the need for safety. Closing even a lightly built farm type gate over a four or five meter gap quickly creates a potentially harmful force from the momentum of the gate. Should the gate close against an animal then the gate will either open (or reverse its motion) in response to detecting an object as required by the automated gate regulations. Those who have dealt with animals in a yard or field that often crowd around a gateway when a vehicle is entering or leaving will be aware that if the gate is not closed quickly enough then escape is likely. Another version of this idea is the articulated arm. This works in a similar way to a standard door closer and is just as effective but difficult to scale up for larger or wider gates.