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Security bollards and barriers – How effective are they?

2019 Update - Catching up with the latest developments after our blog last year which looked at security bollards and barriers, we have since designed and released a new range of hydraulic bollard controls which offer synchronous lifting for up to five separate devices.

This is thanks to our use of modular valve design which simplifies operation, maintenance procedures and helps with emergency lift raise scenarios with an added hand pump backup and fail-safe controls. 

With the new features and security measures the bollard controls contain, they offer greater versatility and flexibility in a range of security applications.

Due to the recent spate of terror related attacks across the globe where vehicles were used to create maximum damage, countries are looking more at preventative security measures to combat such attacks.

Traditionally, concrete blocks and bollards have been the solution to tackling security breaches but after extensive tests carried out by the German Motor Vehicle Inspection Association (DEKRA), it was proven that concrete barriers (PAS rating 68) were no match for a 10 tonne HGV travelling at 48kmh, with the vehicle carrying on for another 80 meters after striking the blocks.

With this lack of effectiveness of traditional methods something with more stopping power was needed and this is where hydraulically operated applications come to the fore.

These systems are much more versatile than the traditional concrete barrier and can be adapted for many different uses and applications, typically coming in the form of the following:

Wedge barriers - Primarily used for entrances of businesses and compounds where security is of paramount importance, wedge barriers offer the greatest protection from vehicular breaches.

Normally employed by banks, large depots and embassies amongst others, wedge barriers have proven in testing to offer the greatest protection from ramming with results showing that a 7.5 tonne truck travelling into a fully raised barrier (K-12/PAS68) at 80kmh only managed to travel a further 10 metres past the point of impact, receiving severe damage in the process and rendering it totally immobile.

Wedge barriers are typically used in association with standard security barriers and are controlled automatically, raising to stop suspect vehicles and lowering to let in those with the necessary security clearance.

The barriers are powered by hydraulic power packs, which we ourselves here at Hydraproducts produce specifically for this application.

Security bollards - These are a good effective method of protecting against security breaches while at the same time allowing access to pedestrians and passers-by and can be typically seen at stadiums, airports, shopping centres and city centre areas that would be classed as likely impact sites.

Crash tested successfully for impact speeds of up to 80kmh, the bollards can handle big impacts like their wedge style big brother while still being space-friendly and versatile, with their availability in varying sizes and designs.

Drop arm barriers - As well as wedges and bollards detailed above, hydraulic mechanisms can also be found in some drop arm barriers and are proving popular due to their high reliability record and smooth operation.

This type of barrier is usually found at entrances to industrial estates and large corporations and is automatically raised and lowered when a vehicle has been granted access to enter the premises, commonly working along with a stop/go traffic light type system.

They are also very secure with tests proving that they are very effective in stopping vehicle penetration and also a very cost effective method of security for businesses to employ.

Overall, with the back-up of a number of leading tests, it looks like hydraulic powered security systems are here to stay and provide the best and most cost effective solution to infrastructure needs as well as offering proven reliability.

Traditional concrete based applications have been shown to be ineffective for front-line security use as the industry moves into the future with new technology and applications and with the ever increasing list of applications and options, businesses now have a wide range of proven security measures to choose from to protect themselves from security breaches.


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