Polish company, Fancy Fence is the manufacturer of this retractable driveway gate, designed to hide driveways and walkways. Posts retract into the ground in less than five seconds and can be made from steel posts, wood sheets or quarts slabs.
The fence can be built up to 5 ½ feet tall and Fancy Fence claims the installation process takes just 24 hours, with the product working all year round and in any weather conditions (including flooding and snow).
A standard fence costs $280 per metre with installation and the gate span and drive mechanism are located in a prefabricated reinforced concrete vault in the ground.
Fancy Fence says that the way that this vault has been produced, as well as the grade of concrete used, “guarantee that it is 100% sealed and that it is impossible for ground water to get into the vault”.
From the top, the precast vault is covered by removable covers with holes cut out to match the shape and arrangement of span elements that will pass through these holes. The central cover has an additional service opening that enables easy access to the drive for maintenance purposes or for emergency opening or closing of the gate.
The span of the gate is connected to large counterweights through a system of cables and pulleys, where the weight of the counterweights is equal to the weight of the span.
This design enables the use of conventional and easily available low power electric drives, which guarantees reliability, ease of operation and maintenance of the entire drive system.
The complete unweighting of the gate span on the one hand makes it possible to use extremely low power electric drives. On the other hand, it makes it necessary to stabilise the span vertically with guide rails and wheels, as is the case with sliding gate systems.
Proven sub-assemblies were used for this, however in the vertical plane rather than horizontally.
All of the metal components that make up the gate mechanism are made from steel that has been protected against the elements by the application of a number of protective coatings.
Prior to the installation of the gate, the parameters of the ground and the possibility of encountering buried infrastructure or tree roots need to investigated, as does a thorough verification of the actual installation conditions is required.
If necessary, appropriate actions need to be carried out, e.g. partial or complete replacement of the soil, the use of additional reinforcement of land or a slight change in the location of the gate in order to avoid any potential issues.
What happens when water enters into the gate system?
Fancy Fence is keen to stress that water is not dangerous for this type of gate, adding that all of the components are designed for outdoor installation as well as for extreme weather conditions.
Due to the complete waterproof sealing of the precast concrete vault, the only way for water to get inside the vault is through the holes in the covers of the vault.
In the event that a large quantity of water gets into the vault, the pump located at the bottom will automatically pump out the excess water.
How does the gate operate during winter?
Again, Fancy Fence has this covered: neither the cold nor the snow are obstacles to the proper functioning of the gate. This is due to it being assembled from standard components designed to operate in all weather conditions. These elements, such as the drive, in the case of sliding gates are directly exposed to the snow and cold outside temperatures.
Fancy Fence has these components hidden beneath covers, under the ground at a zone with a relatively stable temperature of about 0-5°C (depending on geographical location).
It is worth remembering that 99% of the time the gate remains closed, with the span protruding above ground level.
When the gate is opened, any ice that may have formed or accumulated around the span elements cracks under the weight of the span descending into the vault.
What happens when there is a power outage?
In the event of a power failure there are two possible solutions: emergency manual opening or closing of the gate, which can be done with the use of a handle, through the service opening, located in the centre cover.
The span-counterweight system has a neutral weight differential, allowing it to be lifted or lowered even by children.
The second option is to purchase the optional integrated battery that allows for five to 10 opening and closing cycles without charging.
Is the gate safe?
The retractable gates that descend into the ground are fitted with identical sensor systems as those used for sliding gates.
They are mounted on the outer components of the fence on both sides of the gate. In the instance that the light beam is broken by any object, the safety system immediately stops the movement of the gate.
What happens in the event of failure of the assemblies of the gate?
Exactly the same components are used that are found in sliding gates, meaning there is no reason for retractable gates to be less reliable than sliding gates, says Fancy Fence.
As with other gates, the most common potential problems during use are with the drive system.
This is why it is easily accessible through the central cover; any other mechanical breakdowns require the removal of the other covers, and this enables the service technician to have easy access to all of the components of the gate.
More on Fancy Fence.