What Is a Turnstile?
Simply put, turnstiles are access control gates. They’re effective in limiting access to buildings or restricted areas. Still, their main job is to ensure only one person passes through the gate at a time.
Most often, turnstile gates can restrict access in two ways. RFID Card or QR scanners restrict access based on payment. In other cases, ID card or pass scanners restrict access based on clearance.
Turnstile gates improve safety during events that call for crowd control. Security personnel can screen pedestrians passing through the gate one by one. However, turnstiles can also work without guards. They can be programmed to allow entry only to people with proper clearance.
Moreover, turnstile gates can be integrated with existing security systems. Businesses can also add alarms to prevent unauthorized access attempts.
Types of Turnstiles
Turnstiles come in all shapes and sizes. Some models may have extra security features that can have an impact on the overall price. But, in general, there are three main types of turnstiles.
1. Waist-High Turnstiles
A waist-high turnstile often has three fixed arms at waist level. Other common names are tripod turnstile or half-height turnstile. This type is, by far, the most popular on the market. As a pedestrian barrier, it has a wide range of possible uses.
It often comes with a coin slot or a bar-code scanner. When a pedestrian gets access, a motor will rotate the metal arms to allow entry.
Still, waist-high turnstiles are vulnerable to “tailgating.” Similarly, people can jump over them. This often happens at metro stations.
2. Full-Height Turnstiles
Full-height turnstiles look like revolving doors. But, the key difference is that this type of turnstile allows only one-way passage.
When a person passes through the gate, a locking mechanism will activate. Rotating metal arms create a barrier that prevents entry to more than one person at a time. So, it’s impossible for two people to pass through the gate at once.
Full-height turnstiles are often bi-directional. They can allow entry and exit based on security requirements. They are also more secure than waist-high turnstiles, for example. People can’t jump over or crawl under them, as they are about seven feet high and can go all the way from the ceiling to the floor.
3. Optical Turnstiles
Optical turnstiles are a variation of the traditional waist-high turnstile. This type is common in places where physical barriers aren’t needed. They don’t have rotating metal arms but can have retractable glass flaps or a single metal arm.
Some models of optical turnstiles come with infrared sensors for access control. In case of unauthorized access, infrared beams will trigger an alarm. Alarms can either be visual or audible.
Also, a common use for optical turnstiles is counting the number of entries.
Application of Turnstiles
Turnstiles have a wide range of practical uses. Governments often use them to restrict access to their buildings to protect their Asset. Also, businesses that deal with sensitive data use turnstiles for extra security. For example, they are common in data centers.
In amusement parks, turnstiles make sure visitors pay before gaining access. Public transportation services use them in a similar way. Sports Arenas and Entertainment Concert ticket system,Crowd Control and Queuing, Last but not least, construction sites and college campuses install turnstiles for safety reasons.