Wedge or pop-up barriers are a type of barricade used as part of an active vehicle barrier (AVB) system for high-security facilities. These dynamic security barriers are used for access control, allowing or preventing vehicles from passing through critical points such as entry gates or tunnels.
Wedge barriers get their name from the shape they form when activated and raised, which looks like a wedge of pie jutting from the ground. When inactive, they lay flat on the road to let vehicles pass through freely.
A pop-up barrier offers a significant upgrade to regular barrier gates because they can withstand far greater impact. These effective anti-ram security barricades can routinely stop large trucks or heavily armored vehicles driving at 50 mph.
The majority of wedge barriers are independently crash tested to conform to ASTM F2656 standards (ASTM stands for American Society for Testing and Materials). The ASTM F2656 protocol was implemented in 2007 upon publication of the F2656 Vehicle Impact Test Method for Perimeter Barriers report.
Meeting ASTM F2656 standards is one of the requirements set by the U.S. Department of State before a wedge barrier can be used in sensitive government facilities.
Wedge barriers provide some of the most robust anti-ram measures for stopping a wide variety of vehicles. They have a rigid and reinforced construction that provides additional protection for strategic, high-security facilities like government buildings, military bases and nuclear sites as well as vulnerable public infrastructure like stadiums, car parks and corporate headquarters.
Hydraulic wedge barriers are also easy and quick to operate. They can deploy in less than five seconds, offering a fast response during an emergency. This is crucial as, with any emergency, time is of the utmost importance. When inactive, a hydraulic wedge barrier blends in with the road seamlessly. As a result, it is not at all obtrusive. The sturdy construction and high axle load can support a massive amount of weight, so there are typically no restrictions on the vehicles that can pass over it.
Some wedge barriers are delivered pre-assembled, making installation quick and easy. Some are portable and ready to be placed on site. Other hydraulic vehicle barriers require certified installation by a manufacturer. They come in various widths from 8 ft. – 14 ft., so you can easily combine two or more to cover a wider area - no need for customization.
These barriers only require shallow foundations (around 16-20 inches on average) and can be deployed in all climate zones. The materials used are also typically corrosion-resistant, so wedge barriers have incredible longevity with minimal maintenance.
Most barriers also have LED lights installed that flash while activated to warn motorists to stop. This eliminates the need to install stoplights.
Wedge barriers rise or sink via a mounted actuator powered either hydraulically or electronically. In some cases, you can also find barriers with manual actuators. The operator controls these via an accumulator or hand pumps.
When activated, the actuators push on a pivot arm that causes the top impact plate to rotate and rise in place. The deployment process takes less than five seconds. Some models even have an emergency fast operation (EFO) mode that activates deployment in just under 1.5 seconds.
A hydraulic vehicle barrier is an essential protective measure when a high level of security is desired. Some of the examples include:
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