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Fencing and gate automation – working together

fence with underground gate motor

Fencing and gate automation have more in common than is apparent on the surface.

We all work outside in all weather conditions and must deal with mud, water, wind, and all while making sure we meet our customers’ expectations. At the end of the day we continue doing what we do best because we enjoy the work and the lifestyle it creates. Standing back and looking at a job well done makes us all proud of the work we have completed.

Gate automation is a small but vital part of our industry and all the work carried out by the fencing contractor can either complement an automation install or bring out the shortcomings.

History of OPENZ Limited

Tony Phaal owner OPENZ Limited

OPENZ Limited, operated by Tony Phaal, has been working in tandem with the fencing industry for many years and is a name synonymous in the gate automation sector throughout the Canterbury region.

Tony has a solid background within the security industry having been involved in gate automation and access control for more than 30 years, specializing in domestic and commercial automation solutions.

Tony has been based in Christchurch since 1996 with his wife and 3 daughters. With his background in the gate automation industry and qualification in electronics, he saw a huge opportunity for this type of business.

OPENZ started operating in the South Island in 1999 and they have done numerous installations in Christchurch, Wanaka, Queenstown, Dunedin, Nelson. Over the last 20 years they have concentrated more on the Canterbury region. “We prefer to focus our talents and expertise on the local market. We have also learned a lot about the local requirements regarding access control solutions for domestic, commercial and rural installations” says Tony. 

Automation today

“We are now seeing more automation companies focusing on rural and lifestyle blocks, where the security benefits are becoming more and more necessary as well as the ease of use. The use of solar panels within a rural or lifestyle property is very attractive where there is no access to power”. OPENZ operates the Roger brushless motors from Edgesmith which run effortlessly when powered by their solar kit.

The aesthetics of the entrance way are also becoming increasingly important and automatic gate technology has come a long way from the farm gate mounted on wooden posts, which was more often than not never closed.

Customers now have access to bespoke designed and engineered gates which operate seamlessly such as swing gates, sliding gates, cantilever gates, telescopic sliding gates, bi-folding swing gates, and sectional sliding gates. Pretty much a solution for any application. 

“The selection of the type of automation system is critical for a successful installation and functionality of the installation,” says Tony.  “This is where we spend a huge amount of time with our customers, to ascertain exactly how they would like the system to perform for their specific needs. There is nothing worse than investing in a new entranceway for the enhancement and security of your property and ending up with a system that does not perform. The system needs to be designed correctly from the start.”

Roger Automation is a great product due to it being a BRUSHLESS system and this enables the motor to slow down and speed up during its run cycle without compromising the power of the motor, resulting in a super smooth operation. It’s also super quiet. 

The gate shown in the featured photo (above) uses an underground gate motor. A foundation hole is dug with drainage and a special tub is concreted into the hole. The motor fits into the tub and the gate sits directly on top of it, effectively acting as the bottom hinge for the gate.

This has three benefits:

–  it is a clean and elegant look, with no external motor detracting from the aesthetic of the gate
–  because the gate sits directly on the motor there is no chance of the hinges letting it down and very large gates can be automated this way
–  the geometry is very flexible – gates can be made to open up to 180 degrees and there are no limitations with the posts

For a fencing company, forming a relationship and working with a professional gate installer can open up a far greater range of solutions than just a standard sliding or swing gate and will give you confidence that the automation is the right choice for the job.  

Article written by OPENZ Limited

Published in the Gates Feature in WIRED Issue 66 / September 2022 by Fencing Contractors NZ