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Five Counties Automation Close Permanently

We are sad to report that earlier this year Five Counties Automation decided to close their operation.  If you have been trying to contact Five Counties on 01827 717555, sales@fivecountiesautomation.co.uk or are no longer getting a response from their website www.fivecountiesautomationltd.com this will be the reason. SEA UK was a long term supplier for Five Counties and we have extensive knowledge of the products they supplied.

Formally located on Unit 20 Innage Park, Abeles Way, Holly Lane Ind Estate, Atherstone, CV9 2QZ. Five Counties Automation where experts in fitting a variety of electric gate systems. Throughout their 30 year run Five Counties provided SEA automated systems to Rock Stars, major businesses, government institutions and of course many private households across the country. At every stage SEA UK and Five Counties shared their experience and expertise in tackling every challenge associated with the installation and maintenance of automatic gate systems.

In fact SEA UK and Five Counties have more in common then just their equipment, as SEA UK’s Managing Director Jof Reynolds was a joint owner in Five Counties for nearly 20 years, before leaving to take over ownership of SEA UK. Today Jof and the rest of the team at SEA UK wish everyone at Five Counties Automation the very best for the future.

Once again, if you have been trying to contact Five Counties on 01827 717555, sales@fivecountiesautomation.co.uk or via their website www.fivecountiesautomationltd.com and have a Five Counties Automation installation, we can offer you assistance; please feel free to contact us. Although SEA UK is a trade wholesaler we have a wide network of expert installers nationwide who are ready to help you maintain any gate or intercom installations.

Contact us today for help and information. 

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NEW Slim Profile Safety Edges

SEA UK is pleased to introduce the MiniCND and the PiccoCND 8K2 resistive safety edges to our range! Both edges provide advanced stop and reverse safety to new and existing gate systems, but now with a much smaller profile.

The MiniCND is similar in appearance to the CompactCND but is in fact around 20mm thinner with a total profile size of only 43mm. This narrow profile makes the edge ideal for swing gate systems. As with other edges in the range the Mini can be cut down to the correct size quickly on site, making installation of this edge very quick. Like other safety edges in our range the Mini and Picco can be cut down to any size in a matter of minutes, on site. Allowing installers to quickly retrofit an existing gate with an EN12453 compliant safety system on the first visit.

The PiccoCND is the ultimate slimline safety edge with a profile of only 15mm. The Picco’s small size means it can be inserted into hinge gaps, attached to the bottom of gate leafs or fitted to walls and posts. This makes the Picco an excellent choice on swing gates, for use in tandem with the MiniCND. For sliding gates, we recommend using the existing CompactCND, MultiCND and MaxxiCND edges, which have more foam to absorb fast moving, head on impacts.

All our safety edges have been designed from the ground up, to help you reach EN12453 compliance standards on any electric gate system you install. More over our edges can be cut to size on site and fitted in a matter of minutes. If you are a gate engineer or installer contact us today for a quotation!

As a nationwide wholesaler we have formed strong partnerships with local tradesman across the country. If you are searching for help fitting a new gate system or would like to upgrade the safety on an existing system we can help you find a qualified local fitter, contact us to find an installer.

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Electric Swing Gate Geometry

HOW TO FIT ELECTRIC GATES: Rear Bracket Geometry for Swing Gate Motors.

Hello and welcome to a new series of articles published by SEA UK showing you how to fit an electric gate system. In today’s article we are going to discuss how to set up the rear bracket geometry for an above ground electric gate Ram. Our method is simple and easy to follow and can be applied to any manufactures product, so you can get it right every time.

Gate rams are one of the most effective gate systems when fitted correctly, but if you get the rear bracket position wrong you will have a system which either works badly with no power, is dangerous or can be easily damaged.

First steps

There are 3 important elements which we must discuss before we go into detail about how to fit an above ground swing gate system:

  1. Gate/Motor Centre of rotation is the point which the gate or motor rotates around. This will always be in the centre of the gate hinge or at the back of the motor where it is pined or bolted to the rear bracket (see Figure 1 to 3 below).
  2. Stroke length is how much a gate motor can change its total length by, we will talk more about the importance of this later on.
  3. A and B measurements play a crucial role in correct installation. They can be quite hard to explain but the 3 diagrams below will show how to find the A and B measurements. Figure 1 and 2 show examples of standard inward opening gates but Figure 3 shows an example of an outward opening gate, notice how similar it is to Figure 2.




A Basic Installation Example

To successfully fit any piston or ram type automatic gate system you must first know the operators Stroke length. The Stroke determines the A and B measurements which can be used. In order to achieve the most control over each gate leaf you must take the stroke length in millimetres, subtract 20mm and the resulting measurement can then be divided by 2. These become your A and B measurements. Let’s use a the SURF 250 gate operator, which has a Stroke length of 400mm as our example. 400mm – 20mm = 380mm, 380mm/2= A: 190mm & B: 190mm.



Surf 250 Motor

A longer Stroke Length allows for more adjustment when fitting. With the Surfs long Stroke Length you could subtract 15mm from each end of travel giving operator a total piston stroke of 370mm; when split between A and B, this gives 185mm to each. Now there is extra margin to fit the operator comfortably and still have strong leaf locking, as in the figure 8 example below.


When A and B are not balanced?

A lot of problems can arise when the A and B measurements are too different. First let’s look at what happens when there is a relatively small imbalance. Returning to our previous example, what would happen if A is larger than B? In Figure 6 the A measurement is 210mm and the B measurement is 160mm. An imbalance will cause the operator to speed the gate up as it approached the open position and as the gate returned towards the close position it would lose momentum, reaching the close point with very low power (this can cause problems with electric locks).



If the reverse is true and B is large than A the gate operator will be moving faster as it comes to the close position, carrying more momentum but will be slow when opening and sometimes may not fully open. This can lead to unsafe gates, see the example in Figure 7 above. There will be situations where these imbalances cannot be avoided, but if installers are aware of the way a gate will change, measures can be taken to minimise the negative effects.

Extreme problems caused by poor geometry.  

When the difference between the A and B measurements is too high, or when very little of the operator’s stroke length is used you will find that the operator will move very fast but with very low force, or the operator will not move at all. As well as this, operators will be vulnerable to excess forces and could be easily damaged by a person or even the wind.

In figure 8 below a very small A measurement and a small B measurement has resulted in the gate operators having low power and low resistance to excess forces. This is because the combined A and B measurements only uses a tiny fraction of the operator’s total Stroke Length.



However, if the A measurement is still small but the B measurement is extended to use the full piston stroke there will still be a significant problem. In Figure 9 above, the A measurement is still 80mm, but B has been extended to use the remaining 300mm of the 380mm available. Unfortunately, because the front and rear bracket rotation centres are in line, causing the operator to be parallel to the gate, the operator cannot pull back. In this configuration the operator will also be extremely poor at resisting excess forces. Remember for a Ram type operator to move a gate there must be a triangle and in figure 9 the triangle is non existent.

Finally, if the A measurement is large but the B measurement is small, the Motor will hit the gate as it opens. This problem is usually spotted early on site and so very few people report this, but we think it is still worth mentioning here.

In conclusion for perfect geometry and a flawless ram operator installation simply find the operators stroke length, subtracted 10-15mm from each side and divide by 2. The resulting number will be you’re A and B measurement which you can use to find the correct location for the motor centre of rotation relative to the gate centre of rotation.

If you have any questions feel free to contact our technical team, or leave a comment below.

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Gate Safety & Force Testing

Several weeks ago, we wrote an article on the new SEA Position Gate device, demonstrating how an SEA Half Tank or Mini Tank system could pass force tests with ease. But what is a Force Test? Put simply when a powered gate meets an obstruction, be it a person, animal or vehicle, the gate applies a force to that person. A small force from a safe gate would result in, at worst, a bruise. However, a large force applied by an unsafe electric gate could result in serious injury or severe property damage.

The gate Force Tester was created to help electric gate installers test the safety systems on their gates. The test results show that the installed gates comply with EN12453, EN12445 and EN13859 safety legislation. Proof of compliance is required for any gate operated by a business or in a public place.

Force Testers measure the initial impact force and how the force changes over time. The results combine to show a graph like the example on the left (used in our previous blog). Force is shown on the vertical X axis and time on the horizontal Y axis. Notice that a larger force, shown by the pink area, is acceptable for a short time on initial impact, providing it drops away over time through the yellow area before disappearing completely.

Passing a force test can be achieved in different ways and each gate system is unique. Some can use current sensing systems such as our Field or Surf. Others will make use of encoders, like our Half Tank or Lepus. For the rest, safety edges and light curtains can still be used to make any gate system safe. In each case the same force test will prove if the chosen safety system is performing its roll correctly.

Force Testers as pictured above have revolutionised gate safety and every day thousands of force tests are carried out across the county. As a member of the DHF (Door and Hardware Federation) SEA UK is at the fore front of gate safety legislation. We regularly provide training for full compliance, which covers: the proper use of force testers, how to use force test data to produce hand over documents and how-to CE mark gates.

Contact us today for more information!

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Gate Safety Week 2017

SEA UK is please to support Gate Safety Week 2017

SEA UK are proud to continue supporting the DHF in raising gate safety awareness for Gate Safety Week 2017.  We are committed to improving gate safety standards across the automatic gate industry and have enjoyed a strong working partnership with the DHF in several areas.

Clarification of Health and Safety Laws
SEA UK has worked closely with the DHF to help clarify laws and form clear best practice guidelines for DHF members and gate installers to follow.  SEA UK have listened to installation companies and work with the DHF to find the best equipment and the best practices to meet every day safety challenges.  The DHF have been invaluable in providing clarity for Health and Safety laws!  

Continued free training
SEA UK are committed to helping all installation companies achieve the highest health and safety standards.  Over the last 12 months, SEA UK have run dozens of free training sessions and workshops focused on gate safety theory and best practice.  All sessions are run by DHF trained members of staff and will give an excellent base of understanding for those seeking to undertake the DHF’s own training program. Contact us to find out more information about gate safety training. 

Handover documentation
SEA UK has released a new handover document which helps guide installation companies through the safe commissioning of a gate system.  Support and guidance offered by the DHF was of great help while making this well received document.

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Position-Gate Product Focus

SEA are constantly striving to bring new safe gate systems to the market; to that end the company has made the Position-Gate. This device will enable Mini Tank and Half Tank systems to accurately “feel” where the piston rod is, while the gate is travelling open or closed.

By sensing the exact position of the piston rod, the Position-Gate knows where the gate leaf is in it’s travel, how fast it is moving and precisely when it will encounter a physical stop. Therefore, the Position-Gate can be used as an auto learn device and a stop and reverse safety device. It can also operate below the 50mm threshold, where traditional current sensing devices and encoder systems do not work effectively.

SEA UK Position-Gate Force Test Results.

At SEA UK we periodically tests our product range to ensure the highest standards of reliability are maintained. While testing the Position-Gate we carried out a series of Force Tests to confirm the Position Gate worked as intended.

The Gate.

These tests were performed using our repaired motor test gate; if you sign up to one of our free training courses, you will be working with this gate. Our test gate is 2.5m long, weighing approximately 280kgs when fully loaded. To better simulate site conditions, the gate has standard eyelet hinges, with weight added to the front of the gate leaf to increase momentum and loading on the motor. The motor is connected to a central beam which is unsupported by vertical bars. This is an intentional design to simulate common flexing found in many site situations. The operator used is a Half Tank 100, 270mm piston stroke, 230V AC motor. The control system is a Gate 2 DG, 230V control panel.


SEA Test Gate 2.5m long & 280kgs in weight.

SEA Test Gate With Half Tank 100 motor

Testing 2.5m Gate Leaf, Weighing 280kg.

When force testing a gate system, measurements must be taken at the bottom, middle and top of the gate leaf; as well as at different distances away from the close stop position. The diagram below shows where these tests are made and provides a useful numbering system to match up with the results later.

Test Position 8

The first test is typically carried out in position 8, the gates centre, at 500mm from the close stop position. At this point the gate leaf has entered slowdown and is moving at roughly half speed; our gate has no safety edges or other forms of cushioning to absorb the impact.

Point of MeasureDescription of testsFd [N]
-Measure
– Limit
Td [s]
– Measure
– Limit
Fs [N]
– Measure
– Limit
Fe [N]
– Measure
– Limit
Result    
8Height: at the center of door, or 2500mm above the floor, when the height of door is >5000 mm. Gap: 500mm from main closing edge and the opposing edge.119/4000.00/0.7524/1500/25     PASS

The results above show a PASS has been achieved, but more information can be seen from the force graph produced by Microtronics Blue Force software.  The initial impact is detected very quickly and the gate starts to reverse. The excess weight added to the gate leaf and the lack of central vertical supports on our test gate creates a wobble, this can be seen by the waves in the graph. As the gate moves away from the tester the waves diminish, before falling to 0 as the gate fully clears the tester. The gate is moving away from the obstructions within approximately 2.0 seconds.

This PASS is possible because the Position-Gate knows the precise position of the piston rod. The control panel knows that the gate is within the gate slowdown phase (the 500mm danger area) and is expecting lower momentum with pushing forces adjusted below the 150N threshold. It can therefore accept a longer reverse time allowing for wind slowdown at lower forces.

Test Position 10

Test are not often performed at 1m distance because the motors are moving at full speed. Many systems especially current sensing versions, struggle to pass at this distance due to site conditions and motor reaction times.

Before carrying out the force test SEA engineers perform a separate test to simulate site conditions and the effects of wind on the gate. With default pressures used on the Half Tank our engineers added a 90N (9kg) resistance to the gate. As expected the motor continued to open and close with this added resistance.

Next, with the same pressures, the resistance removed and the gate travelling at full speed again, our engineers carry out the Force Test. A clear PASS is recorded and it would even be possible to increase motor pressures for the Half Tank operator to cope with increased wind loadings if necessary.

Point of MeasureDescription of testsFd [N]
– Measure
– Limit
Td [s]
– Measure
– Limit
Fs [N]
– Measure
– Limit
Fe [N]
– Measure
– Limit
Result
10     Height: at the center of door, or at 1000 mm above the floor. Gap: 1000 mm from main closing edge and the opposing edge.372/14000.59/0.7512/1506/25     PASS

As we can see form the table above and graph below the Position-Gate allows the system to pass the test. Once again, a small bounce is recorded due to the style and construction of the gate, as well as the added weight at the end of the gate leaf.

Test Position 1

More tests are carried out at positions 1 and 2. Here again there is a small wobble due to the excess weight, our testers have added to the gate but importantly the Position-Gate has slowed the motor down ready for the gate to meet the physical stop. This means the initial impact is just above the 25N Fe mark.

Point of MeasureDescription of testsFd [N]
– Measure
– Limit
Td [s]
– Measure
– Limit
Fs [N]
– Measure
– Limit
Fe [N]
– Measure
– Limit
Result    
1Height: at 50 mm from bottom edge of the door. Gap: 50mm from main closing edge and the opposing edge.51/4000.00/0.7518/1500/25     PASS

Many encoder and current sensing systems must switch off at distances around 50mm or risk recording a false positive, but the Position-Gate continues to operate up to the physical stop position. This can render other systems ineffective at protecting the small closing gaps at the end of a gates travel. The Position-Gate measures the position of the motor ram switch off distance, which can be accurately and electronically adjusted; resulting in a passed force test.

Our engineers report that when the motors are set up to use low pressure, the impact force of the closing gate is below 25N (not registering on the Force Tester). This would not be recommended on site as it would cause reliability issues. It does however, underline the fine control which can be achieved with the Position-Gate system and reliable hydraulic operators.

Position-Gate Qualities

When considering gate safety products, it is important to understand the relative qualities of each product. The Position-Gate may not be the perfect solution for every site. For example, a very long gate leaf reduces the effectiveness of the system. A close boarded gate can act like a sail; the motor pressures may need to be increased to provide reliability, resulting in the FS Max being above 150N.   Furthermore, certain areas of a gate such as the hinge area and curb crushes could still be dangerous and need protecting.

Summary

The Position-Gate is a powerful new tool for SEA hydraulic electric gate systems and will lead to improved safety on many sites. It can pass force tests at all locations allowing the adjustment of the motor power to suit site conditions. However, it should be used in conjunction with a proper risk assessment and other safety devices such as Safety Edges, Photocells, and Hinge Guards.

Find out more about the Position-Gate here.

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New Hinge Guards Have Arrived!

SEA UK are pleased to announce that at last the upgraded Hinge Guards are available! Hinge Guards are simple products designed to protect the hinge area of manual and automatic gates. They are a cost effective and reliable way to protect the hinge area and thus help a gate meet the necessary Health and Safety standards for automatic gates in the uk.

The product consists of a long rubber extrusion designed to weather extreme hot and cold temperatures without weakening, tearing or becoming brittle. Each length of rubber is attached to the gate and the post by an aluminium fixing which clamps the rubber in place.

As SEA strive to continuously improve our products and services we have listened to our customers feed back and can now supply the aluminium fixing strips in a black anodised finish. This discreet new look will compliment the gate system while improving the safety for all users.

For more information on the Hinge Guard or to place an order please contact us on 0121 433 3348.

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SEA prove reliability with Zero Lepus returns in 3 years!

The LEPUS 600 & 1600 Sliding Gate Systems

LEPUS motors have been the main stay of SEA’s Sliding Gate range for almost 20 years. The latest versions (the 600 and 1600) incorporate a top of the range Gate 1 DG control panel, advanced safety systems and SEA’s most robust build quality yet.

From the beginning SEA envisioned the Lepus as a tough work horse motor which would have a gear box capable of meeting the heaviest sliding gate requirements. The gear box for the Lepus contains machined steel components, high quality bearings and oil lubrication through out. In fact, the Lepus 600 and Lepus 1600 share the same gear box as their larger brother the Three Phase Lepus 2000, resulting in a Lepus 600 having a gear box so strong that it has been rated to drive a 2000kg gate.

Today however, it is not enough to simply be able to drive a heavy load. A reliable gate motor must also be capable of working on busy sites, with a high number of operations each day. To ensure SEA motors can stand up to the rigour of real site conditions, the motors were destruction tested while carrying their maximum loads. SEA uses this data to calculate their duty cycles; you can be confident that the Lepus will perform as specified for more than the 2 year warranty, which could include as many as 400,000 operations!

When asked for a comment David Hardwick, the Head of SEA UK’s Technical team said, “We haven’t had a LEPUS motor returned in 3 years; since I’ve been working here we have only had 1 come back because it was installed without limits and without programming!” David goes on to say, “As a sliding gate system, the Lepus outperforms everything we have seen, even motors rated at 2000 kgs. We have found the Lepus can match them under practical site conditions and the best thing is, the motors are 230V.  You always have the power there if you need it and all the safety systems work with the motor still at full power. Our customers tell us its easy to use, easy to work with and totally reliable.”

Our technical sales team is ready to answer all your questions on the Lepus. Feel free to ask us about specification, and technical requirements, we are also happy to provide advice and guidance on installation best practices and gate safety. Just head to our contact page to get in touch.

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SEA UK 16/17 End of Year Report Card

Over the past 12 months SEA UK has achieved some remarkable things with our customers and partners. We are really proud of these stats, but we aren’t resting and are working heard to beat them next year!
One of the reasons we records such low product failures is arguably due to the high level of training and technical support provided to the installation companies we work with. SEA UK has continued to provide a bespoke training program which is tailored to each company’s needs. Any gate installation company can enjoy the benefits of our training, sign up HERE for a free session!

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SEA Develops a Hand Over Document

Comply with gate safety laws & use SEA’s handover document: SEA Handover Doc

SEA has been championing the highest gate safety practices since our company formed. We were one of the first companies to offer a dedicated safety edge contact for our control systems and have been recommending safety edges be fitted as standard for over a decade.

Today SEA are active members of the Gate Safety community and hold certifications in gate safety with the DHF (Door and Hardware Federation) as well as Gate Safe. We hold regular personalised training sessions helping gate installation companies across the country understand the regulations and find practical solutions to common safety concerns associated with electric gates.

At the request of our customers we have created a Handover document containing guidance on gate risk assessment, how to CE mark a gate system as well as important information for end users. While it is impossible to conceive of every eventuality, the SEA handover booklet provides a clear starting point for the installer.

Bespoke PDF versions of the handover document are available on request to account customers. When asked about why SEA had taken the step to produce the document Managing Director Joffre Reynolds said, “We always strive to give our engineers and customers the best service and equipment possible. The handover document will assist the smaller companies to enable them to fit safe and compliant gate systems more confidently.”

Visit SEA’s technical support page for more risk assessment documentation: Risk Assessment Technical Support Page