Floor to Ceiling: Do I Need Full Height Access Control Products?

|By Drew Schwarz

At a Glance: Full Height Turnstiles and Gates for More Than Just High-Security Applications

  • There are certain project needs that make full height turnstiles and full height ADA gates the better choice than waist high alternatives
  • Full height turnstiles and full height ADA gates work best for high-security engagements, fenceline integration, and automated credential checking
  • Full height turnstiles and full height gates are often paired together to provide a more comprehensive access control solution
  • Full height access control can be used for a number of applications from simple credential checking all the way to high security applications
  • There is no project too big or too complex for our Hayward Turnstiles access control specialists

What is Full Height Access Control?

Full height access control includes all access control and entrance security products that provide what we call “floor-to-ceiling” coverage. In other words, these are turnstiles and ADA gates that are taller than the people entering them, barring your local NBA big man. Whereas, waist high access control products usually only reach the waist of the average person.

There are some distinct advantages to installing full height access control products. Being so tall, these full height options are inherently great at deterring unauthorized entrants; you would have to be an Olympic high jumper to hop these turnstiles.

Full height access control includes two main product subcategories: full height turnstiles and full height ADA gates. These products are great for many applications, including—but not limited to—high-security engagements, fence line integrations, and autonomous credential checking. Read on to learn more about the different types of full height access control options.

What is a Full Height Turnstile?

Full height turnstiles are floor-to-ceiling turnstiles with arms that rotate mechanically around a center post. They operate similarly to a revolving door with the only difference being that they have the capability of only allowing access to one person at a time: locking after a single person makes entry into the facility. These access control turnstiles are designed to offer maximum security because it is impossible for an unauthorized entrant to crawl under or climb over them. Their simple yet robust steel construction makes them virtually impenetrable and tamper-proof.

There are two types of full height turnstiles: single and tandem. Read on to learn more about each type.

Single Full Height Turnstiles

A single full height turnstile is the generic full height turnstile that people have gotten used to seeing in subways and construction sites, among other places. They are called “single” because they only allow access to one person at a time. These turnstiles are great for controlling people traffic, securing entryways, and more. Multiple single full height turnstiles can even be installed one next to another to form an access control system fit for areas with large amounts of people traffic like you would see at stadiums or amusement parks.

Tandem Full Height Turnstiles

The tandem full height turnstile, or the single full height’s older brother as I call it (don’t judge me), takes the functionality of two single full heights and sandwiches them into one neat and cohesive unit. Tandems are a great option for buyers that want more lanes without taking up as much space as having single units installed one next to another. They are often configured with one side as the entrance and the other as the exit, making it easy to direct traffic and avoid confusion at entryways.

What is a Full Height ADA Gate?

For all intents and purposes, a full height ADA gate is a door. But these aren’t your run-of-the-mill doors, they are constructed of high-strength steel with heavy-duty locking functionality. Further, each and every full height ADA gate is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, meaning they have 36-inch clear opening to allow for wheelchair access. Just like with turnstiles, these gates can integrate directly with any access control system, meaning they can be opened with card swipes, push buttons, and anything else you have integrated with your access control system.

For facilities that require handicap access that do not want to compromise the benefits of full height security, full height ADA gates are the definitive solution. Plus, our full height ADA gates aesthetically match our full height turnstiles, making them a great pair. More on that in the next section.

Creating a Comprehensive Solution

Full height turnstiles and full height ADA gates are often used together to form a cohesive access control solution. These turnstiles and gates match aesthetically and complement each other functionally. When used together, these products work for anyone that may need entry. But, if a full height turnstile is used on its own, entrants in wheelchairs cannot gain entry. Further, when a full height ADA gate is used on its own, it lacks the security of a full height turnstile as entrants can hold the gate open for each other. So, I guess you could say these products were a match made in access control heaven. Well, I would say that at least.

Customers use this complementary combo for more than just allowing handicapped access. Many construction sites add a full height gate with their turnstile to allow people with large tools or lumber entry into the site. Further, many factories and fulfillment centers add full height gates to their access control system when they expect frequent deliveries.

Finally, it is not uncommon for customers to add a full height gate to their turnstile system when thinking about exiting in the event of an emergency. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, it would be much easier for everyone in a facility to exit through an open door instead of having to go single file through a turnstile. In fact, some fire codes require a door exit option for emergencies.

Whatever the reason, full height turnstiles and gates complement each other functionally and provide a much more flexible entry solution than if either were used on their own.

When Would My Access Control Project Benefit From Full Height Turnstiles and Gates?

There are many reasons to choose full height access control solutions. Some of the main reasons include:

  • When a high level of entrance security is required
  • When access control is required at the entrance of a fence line
  • When a fully automated access control solution is desired
  • When access control is needed in extreme environments

When High-Security is Required

When an access control project calls for the highest level of security available, full height turnstiles and gates are the clear choices. These specific products are often installed in prisons, data centers, military compounds , and more because of their ability to provide floor-to-ceiling coverage with their virtually impenetrable barriers to entry.

Facilities that install these turnstiles for their high-security engagements enjoy the fact that only one person can pass through at a time, making it easier to keep track of people, break up crowds, and spot threats. Further, in harsher environments, facility managers enjoy very low maintenance efforts due to these products’ tamper-proof construction and rugged longevity. Being low maintenance and tamper-proof makes full height turnstiles and gates perfect for any high-security engagement because there is little to no risk of equipment failure or security breaches.

To Control Access at Fencelines

Many construction sites, factories, data centers, plants, and more all implement fence lines to keep people out of dangerous areas and away from expensive equipment. But, like Thomas Reid’s famous proverb says, “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link,” and fence lines of all shapes and sizes have one major weak link in common: their entrances.

To strengthen these inherent weak links, many savvy implementors integrate—you guessed it—full height turnstiles and full height gates into their fence line. If you think about it, these products act like an extension of the fence because of their height and impenetrability. This effectively strengthens the weakened link.

With full height access control products implemented, construction sites, plants, and other facilities can protect their valuable assets from intruders and keep intruders out of dangerous areas with confidence. We often find construction sites in big cities and other high traffic areas benefiting from these full height solutions in the form of less equipment theft, fewer instances of vandalism, and less unauthorized entrant injuries on site.

To Automate Access Control and Credential Checking

When integrated correctly into a security system, full height turnstiles and full height gates will not easily be bypassed by unauthorized entrants trying to steal their way into your facility. Effectively, the products themselves act as your very own Queen’s Guard: keeping intruders out, sans the fuzzy hats.

The autonomous nature of these products coupled with their ability to keep intruders out without a security guard makes them the perfect contenders for automated credential checking. Fitted with a card reader, biometric scanner, or any other credential-checking device, these turnstiles and gates can act as your very own security guard only allowing access to authorized entrants and staying shut for those occasional unauthorized entrants.

Being able to automate entrance control means saving money on security guard salaries, cutting human error out of the equation, and minimizing overall risk. In fact, every Hayward Turnstiles product, not just our full heights, comes ready to integrate with almost every access control system and credential checking product on the market.

When Access Control is Required in Extreme Environments

Wouldn’t it be great to experience Southern California weather every day? Well, one can dream. But, the reality for most is an ever-changing climate, seasonality, and sometimes harsh weather environments. Installing access control systems into these environments presents some issues. Corrosion and prolonged weather exposure tend to be the bane of most turnstiles and gates, so only a few types are recommended for outdoor use.

Our full height turnstiles and gates are perfect for use in extreme environments, especially those with powder coat or galvanized finishes. These units are rugged and built to withstand even the harshest weather Mother Nature can muster.

Beyond weather, these products can combat harsh use with ease. Prisons and construction sites tend not to have the gentlest individuals, so they require a product that won’t break down after a couple of rough experiences. Our full height turnstiles and full height gates are constructed of steel with strong welds that would make even the strongest of individuals quiver.

What Does This All Mean for You?

Well for starters, it means you read through the whole article; thank you! But on a serious note, full height access control products can be the solution to your problems in more ways than one. They can provide levels of entrance security even the most seasoned guard cannot, they can be used in the harshest of environments (but probably not in your secret volcano lair, Dr. Evil), and they are great for autonomous credential checking.

All of our full height turnstiles and gates are made to order right here in the United States. Further, our access control expertise is only matched by our unparalleled product quality and customer service. So what are you waiting for? Reach out today for a one-on-one consultation with one of our access control specialists to spec your next full height access control project!

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