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2022 / 2023 Edition

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Closing The Gate

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Ancillary Equipment

Robust gate locks at the heart of quarry perimeter security

During the last decade in the UK, heightened security and safety concerns have made restricting unauthorized access to quarry locations a significantly more complex and essential challenge.

Mirroring the growth in the custodial sector, keeping miscreants out has become as big a business as keeping them locked in, and systems to reduce the vulnerability of key national infrastructure sites, such as quarries, from casual trespass and vandalism or from organized criminal activities are becoming increasingly sophisticated.

Quarry sites pose particular challenges for perimeter security systems, and providers of security equipment need to consider a comprehensive and integrated defence against the growing frequency of these security breaches to deter theft and safeguard the general public.

Perimeter fencing is the first line of protection against both targeted and casual attack and, as a result, is now a growing sector in the UK security market. Because of the wide area perimeter fencing normally covers at a quarrying site, it can also be a weak link in the chain of defence and there are still significant inadequacies in most perimeter fence systems.

However, sourcing suitable high-security products has previously been a challenge and adapting them to operations at specific sites can be expensive and potentially damaging to the integrity of the overall security system.

Leeds-based gate-lock manufacturers Pickersgill-Kaye Ltd think that a more collaborative approach to the installation of perimeter security systems is needed and manufacturers of fence, gate and lock systems need to work together to develop a co-ordinated solution to reliable security at quarry sites.

Several major operators agree with this approach and are already specifying Pickersgill-Kaye locks at critical national infrastructure sites, and leading gate manufacturers are working with the company to adapt their products to accept the locks and create a robust and seamless security system.

A secure and reliable gate lock is the cornerstone of effective perimeter protection but it must also be flexible enough to allow the legitimate and effective flow of people and assets – such as during the emergency evacuation of personnel. Pickersgill-Kaye’s slide-bar and claw gate locks can be interfaced with most existing access-control systems or security devices to permit the easy evacuation of personnel, without compromising external security. In addition, the status of the lock can be monitored from a patrol vehicle up to 20m away, cutting down on the time needed to patrol and check the perimeter is secure.

Perimeter fencing has become more sophisticated and should no longer be viewed in isolation when considering protection for key sites. Integrated security applications might be effective in thwarting intrusions, theft and deliberate vandalism, but the systems used must also suit the conditions prevailing at the site and offer the most robust and reliable solutions to ensure long life.

One of the major problem areas for quarry sites is the issue of corrosion as, by the nature of their location, the locks are exposed to extreme weather conditions, dust and corrosive elements. To test the Pickersgill-Kaye locks, White Technology and Engineering Ltd undertook a rigorous durability examination involving more 100,000 operations and a corrosion test that bathed the locks in a salt spray at 100% humidity for 96h.

The UK market for access control equipment and systems is worth around a billion pounds per year and it is now accepted that increasing protection for large-area sites is a necessary capital investment. Companies providing high-quality, less cost-sensitive equipment will be those that benefit from this investment as the long-term reliability of security systems is given greater precedence over short-term cost savings.

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