A gate motor is a machine or device which is used to open and close a gate.  They normally work with electricity, and be connected to the central electricity source, or run on a battery which can operate independently from the central electricity source.
Some gate motors come with their own power source, and these are used in areas where high security is needed in places where power cuts are likely, or where anybody could try and disable the gate motors by interrupting the central electricity supply, such as in a jail or high security facility.  The power sources used for gate motors may even include solar panels.

There are two key types of devices – those that are operated by electromechanical means, or others operated with hydraulics.   Gates are made in a variety of shapes but normally operate on a sliding track, by rolling upwards on a track, or by opening overhead.  They can also swing open.  In all of these cases a gate motor is required which will effectively open and close the gate on demand.  Electrical transmitters can be fitted with timers, which will open and close gates at particular times.

Mechanical gate motors come in four variations:

  • Worm or screw driven
  • Barricade arm
  • Sliding motor for swinging gates
  • Sliding motors for sliding gates

All of the above types of electromechanical gate motors can be automated to release with a device which is controlled either manually or wirelessly.  Battery backup systems are quite often built into the motor power source.

Hydraulic gate motors are also used to open a gate by electric means, but they operate with hydraulic liquids in order to work.  Generally, this type of gate is easier to repair as they contain fewer moving parts than other gate motors.  They have some benefits – they provide more power and can therefore be used for heavy or large gates, or they can work with less energy when opening and closing smaller gates, and they do not require locks to remain closed, as they are effectively “locked” by hydraulic power.  A common problem with these is that the seals may be damaged due to the continuous pressure, but these can be fixed easily.