Are Automatic Rising Bollards Any Good?

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In the modern era where security is a constant concern, effective access control has become a crucial factor in both public spaces and private premises. Rising bollards, which can be lowered and raised as needed, offer an adaptable solution for managing vehicle access. But when it comes to convenience and functionality, how do automatic rising bollards measure up?

Below, we’ll explore what makes automatic bollard systems distinct, how they work, their key benefits, and how they compare with other types of bollards. We’ll also discuss some factors to consider when weighing up automatic bollards for your own application.

What are Automatic Rising Bollards?

Automatic rising bollards, also known as automatic retractable bollards, are vehicle access control barriers that can be lowered or raised remotely at the push of a button.

Once raised, automatic bollards form a robust barrier to unauthorised vehicle access. When lowered, they retract fully into the ground, allowing authorised traffic to pass through unobstructed. Their automated functionality sets them apart from manual telescopic bollards, which rely on physical operation. Automatic bollard systems are often used in high-security commercial and public applications, but they can also be installed on private driveways. They’re ideal for areas where

How Automatic Rising Bollards Work

Automatic bollards feature an internal hydraulic or pneumatic lifting mechanism which moves the bollard up and down upon activation. Sensors detect when the bollard needs to be raised or lowered. This triggers the pump to push fluid or compressed air into a piston, which raises the bollard up from its housing. The bollard is returned to its retracted position when the fluid is released.

For ease of use, automatic bollards are wired in and controlled via a remote system, not manually. This may be a simple push-button control, swipe card/fob system, number pad for entering access codes, or integration with intercoms.

More advanced systems can even be linked to timers, number plate recognition or alarm triggers. This allows the bollard to operate automatically under certain conditions.

How Good Are Automatic Rising Bollard Systems?

There are several key advantages that automatic retractable bollards hold over their manually-operated counterparts:

  • Enhanced convenience – They remove the need for physical operation to raise or lower the bollard each time. Access can be granted with the minimum of effort via remote controls.
  • Increased speed – Automated systems can raise or lower bollards rapidly, avoiding delays involved with manual operation.
  • Improved safety – Reduces risks associated with manual handling of heavy removable or manual telescopic bollards.
  • Greater efficiency – Automation removes potential for human error (e.g. failing to lower bollard before approaching).
  • Flexible functionality – Access can be tailored for individual users via swipe cards. Timers, sensors and other external triggers allow automatic control.
  • Aesthetic appeal – Automatic steel bollards feature a modern, minimalistic design. When retracted, they lie flush with the ground so as not to impede the surrounding landscape.
  • Enhanced security – Can integrate with alarm systems and other technology to automatically activate when threats are detected.

There are a range of automatic rising bollard systems available, each with different specifications and suited to different purposes.

Downsides of Automatic Rising Bollards

While offering excellent functionality and convenience, some potential downsides of automatic bollard systems should be considered:

  • Higher initial cost – Their installation requires excavation, specialist equipment and wiring. Semi-automatic or manual alternatives may be cheaper.
  • Increased chance of mechanical issues – As they are more complex than basic manual systems, there may be a higher likelihood of malfunctions needing repair.
  • Requires power source – Needs mains electricity supply, and their operation uses energy.
  • Maintenance requirements – Automatic bollard systems may have higher maintenance requirements than other types of bollards to keep them in reliable working order.

Whether the pros outweigh the cons will depend on your needs and preferences. Speak with an expert at MACs Bollards for tailored advice.

How Do Automatic Rising Bollards Compare to Other Types?

If you’re in the process of choosing the right vehicle security bollards for your site, here’s how automatic rising bollards compare to other popular types:

Fixed Bollards

Fixed bollards remain in place permanently. While they can provide robust security, they do not offer flexibility, and so may not be suitable for locations where authorised or emergency personnel would require access. Automatic retractable bollards provide impact resistance with the benefit of being able to lower into the ground when required.

Removable Bollards:

Removable bollards can be completely removed from their housing when access is needed. This allows full clearance, but the manual removal process is laborious. Automatic bollards offer the same full retraction without needing to repeatedly install and uninstall bollards.

Manual Rising Bollards

Manual telescopic bollards need to be lowered or raised physically. This can be time-consuming and labour-intensive, while also potentially posing a safety risk. In high traffic areas it can also create congestion. Automatic bollard systems dramatically increase speed and ease of operation.

Semi-Automatic Bollards

Semi-automatic bollards are fitted with lift-assist mechanisms to make operation easier, but still require manual lowering or raising of the bollard. Fully automatic systems remove this manual exertion, providing greater convenience and speed.

What Are Automatic Bollards Used For?

With their ability to provide flexible access control without manual input, automatic rising bollards have a diverse range of applications. For example:

  • Access control for car parks: Allow only permitted vehicles to enter while keeping unauthorised cars out. Bollards lower for authorised access, triggered by swipe cards.
  • Business premises security: Providing protection while allowing employee access. Bollards may integrate with alarm systems.
  • Gated communities: Allow residents access while restricting public traffic. Bollards can link to video intercoms for visitor management.
  • High-security areas: Protecting sensitive facilities by integrating rising bollards into the broader electronic security infrastructure.
  • City centres: Managing traffic flow by limiting access to certain streets or pedestrian zones while allowing service vehicles.
  • Crowd control: Used at major events or sports stadiums for controlling vehicle volumes. Linked to timers or traffic light systems.

Whether for access control, security or traffic management, automatic bollards offer intelligent functionality that adapts to the needs of each environment.

Explore Your Security Options with MACs Bollards

Here at MACs Bollards, we supply high-quality automatic bollard systems catering to any application. Our security bollards come in a range of sizes, finishes and specifications. We also provide an ongoing maintenance service to keep your vehicle security system functioning optimally.

With over 15 years’ experience installing automatic bollards across the UK, our expert team can advise you on the perfect solution for your vehicle access needs and budget. Contact us today to discuss your requirements or request a quote. Call 0161 320 6463 or email

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