Integrating turnstiles with an access control system is an effective strategy for enhancing a building’s physical security. These devices keep unauthorized individuals out while efficiently granting access to authorized personnel. But with so many different types of turnstiles available, how can you decide which one is best for your business? Optical turnstiles are one of the most popular choices because they provide security, convenience, and aesthetics to places with heavy foot traffic.
Mechanical Turnstiles Vs. Optical Turnstiles
An optical turnstile is a physical security device that restricts access to a building. The difference between mechanical and optical turnstiles is that optical turnstiles have infrared sensors. Mechanical turnstiles have physical rotating or swinging barriers attached to the cabinets that unlock or swing open to allow passage through when access is granted. After each person walks through, the barrier resets to its original position for the next person. If access is denied, the barriers remain in place to block passage.
Optical turnstiles use infrared sensors to create an invisible barrier between the two cabinets. Physical barriers are not necessary like mechanical turnstiles, but they can come with them to reinforce security. When access is granted, the invisible beams disconnect and if the turnstile has physical barriers, they swing open or retract to allow the person through. After passage, the beams reconnect and any physical barriers are reset. If a person is denied access but tries to walk through, the sensors trigger an alert.
Why Use Optical Turnstiles?
Optical and mechanical turnstiles serve the same purpose – to control access into secure buildings. However, optical turnstiles have more advantages when it comes to security, efficiency, and aesthetics.
Higher Rate of Passage
Mechanical turnstiles tend to have a slower throughput because after each person passes through, the next person must wait for the physical barriers to rotate back into place or swing shut before proceeding. In contrast, optical turnstiles operate at a faster pace. The barriers do not rely on a fixed time for closure; instead, they use infrared sensors to track each person’s passage. The barriers and beams remain open while a person is in the lane and promptly close once they pass, ready for immediate use by the next person. This quick pace of opening and closing is why optical turnstiles are also known as “speed gates”.
Compared to mechanical turnstiles, optical turnstiles are more effective for preventing tailgating. The infrared sensors can detect when each person has finished passing through the lane to immediately close the barriers and reconnect the invisible beams. This instantaneous closure bars the next person from entering, even if they’re following closely behind the first person. Mechanical turnstiles close on a fixed schedule so the lane might remain open even after a person has passed through. Tailgaters can take advantage of this and gain unauthorized access into the building.
Strengthens Physical Security
The presence of optical turnstiles deters unauthorized entry by creating a physical obstacle that trespassers must bypass and increases the likelihood of them being caught. If unauthorized entry is attempted, the sensors will trigger an audible and visual alarm to alert security personnel. The automatic gates strengthen physical security by preventing unauthorized individuals from entering while accelerating the process for authorized personnel. Additionally, using optical turnstiles eliminates the need for a guard to monitor entry, reducing workloads for security teams.
Supports Facial Recognition for Access Control
Optical turnstiles can support a range of access control devices such as card readers, number pads, RFID scanners, and more. However, the most secure method of access control is facial recognition. Facial recognition is a biometric method that verifies access by scanning each person’s face. Unlike access cards, digital codes, or RFID tags, faces cannot be stolen or exchanged between people. This makes it impossible for an unauthorized person to gain access using an authorized person’s credentials.
Provides Touchless Entry with Facial Recognition
In addition to being more secure, optical turnstiles that use facial recognition for access control are also more hygienic. Individuals can gain access simply by walking up to the facial recognition terminal and having their face scanned. No physical contact is involved, reducing the risk of germ transmission. The touchless entry is also more convenient as it does not require the use of cards, keys, or PINs. Authorized personnel can get in quickly without having to search for their badge or stop walking to enter a code.
Improves Handicap Accessibility
Individuals with mobility issues or those who use wheelchairs may find it difficult to use mechanical turnstiles. Turnstiles with rotating barriers require the user to push the arms as they walk through. Swing gate turnstiles open automatically, but they stay open for a limited time. Individuals with disabilities risk being hit by the closing gate while they are still in the process of passing through. Optical turnstiles are more accessible for the handicapped. The turnstile gates automatically swing open or retract and remain that way until the person has finished passing through. Additionally, the distance between the two cabinets can be widened to accommodate wheelchairs.
The physical barriers on mechanical turnstiles, typically metal bars or gates, give them a bulky and visually unappealing appearance. Optical turnstiles do not require physical barriers since they use infrared sensors to create invisible ones. However, when optical turnstiles do incorporate physical barriers, they are usually made of tempered glass or acrylic. This gives them an elegant and aesthetically pleasing look, suitable for corporate lobbies or high-end buildings. Additionally, their sleek design allows them to seamlessly blend into various interior settings.
Get the Best Optical Turnstiles from 2M Technology
Optical turnstiles are popular for access control because they provide more security, but without sacrificing efficiency or aesthetics. At 2M Technology, we offer a wide selection of optical turnstiles in a variety of styles including glass swing gates, retractable turnstiles, and wing turnstiles. Each turnstile can support our access control terminal, which provides touchless entry, temperature scanning, and facial recognition. We also offer different options for barrier material, cabinet material, and motor type so you can get exactly what you need for your business. If you need an estimate or help choosing the best solution, contact our security experts at +1 (866) 708-5401 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also request a live demo to see the product in action or chat with a sales consultant directly using the links below: