Turnstiles as Access Control Security Systems

Turnstiles used to be the only way to control crowds who were entering large buildings, events or establishments like amusement parks. Consisting of three or more horizontal bars that were supported by vertical frame or post. Non-electrical turnstiles rotated when someone pushed on one of the bars and walked through a passageway secured by the turnstile. In addition to preventing too many people from rushing into one place, turnstiles also allowed attendants to obtain tickets or fees from each person passing through the turnstile. This prevented profit loss and reduced the ability for people to "sneak in" to an amusement park or event without paying.

Different Types of Turnstiles Today

In response to people jumping over traditional, waist-high turnstiles and thus avoiding being counted or paying, builders of turnstiles now offer full-height turnstiles that are usually around seven feet high and are commonly found in NYC subway stations. Full-height HEET turnstiles (High Entrance/Exit Turnstile) rotate both clockwise and counterclockwise to allow for two-way traffic. Exit-only, full-height turnstiles turn in only one direction and are frequently used for crowd control in mass transit areas.

High-tech optical turnstiles are generally one component of a sophisticated access control system that involves card readers, controllers and software. Instead of relying on bars to inhibit the flow of people, optical turnstiles employ infrared beams of light to detect the entrance of an unauthorized individual. Because the alert system of an optical turnstile uses sirens, lights or other warning sounds to inform managers of a security breach, these kinds of turnstiles are not usually found in areas catering to the public.

Facilities such as business parks, manufacturing plants, government offices and other buildings where security demands are high find that optical turnstiles are compatible with additional security devices and provide effective security measures that involve:
  • Biometric integration
  • Card readers
  • LCD/electronic counters
  • Wireless remotes/push button features
  • Metal detection
  • Override capability using manual keys
For added security, waist-high turnstiles equipped with bi-directional card-reading devices offer the following benefits:
  • Only one individual possessing one card is permitted to pass through the turnstile at any given time
  • Can be adapted to outdoor or indoor use
  • Optional modes "free passing" or "forbidden"
  • Easily combined with other readers, such as barcodes, RFID cards and magnetic cards
  • Automatic collection of statistical information
  • Infrared detection capability
In addition to providing optimal security, digitally enhanced turnstiles are also more aesthetic than traditional turnstiles and require much less maintenance or repair.
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