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Traffic bollards have proven to be particularly effective in mitigating the destruction caused by vehicle ramming attacks and securing high-risk sites such as embassies and consulates and, as we shall discover in this article, their strength, durability and versatility allow them to be used in a wide variety of settings.

What is a bollard?

A bollard is a short, sturdy post or pillar made from various materials such as steel that is fixed into a concrete surface and is mostly used for controlling pedestrian and vehicle traffic. Bollards can also be used to protect the perimeter of buildings and its surroundings.

Why are bollards needed?

Traffic bollards have been designed to meet the security demands of commercial and industrial sites, such as office parks, car dealerships, hospitals, embassies and banks, and are able to withstand a variety of threats. In addition, with Africa’s growing vehicle population, it is becoming increasingly important for institutions to protect the perimeter of their buildings so as to reduce the likelihood of damage should a vehicle lose control or be used in an attack.

Where are bollards used?

Traffic bollards can be used for controlling vehicle and pedestrian traffic, as well as to provide enhanced security.  Crash-rated bollards are particularly effective when it comes to securing the perimeter around high-risk sites such as embassies, government buildings and banks, thereby protecting important national infrastructure.

Different types of bollards

Bollards vary in terms of their design, operation and the level of security that they offer. Fixed bollards, for example, are suitable for medium- to high-security sites and mainly used in traffic management applications where it is necessary to restrict vehicle access permanently. The main benefit of fixed traffic barriers is that they do not require extensive installation work or electrical wiring. Fixed installations might not always be ideal, however, as selective access may need to be given to emergency vehicles and authorised personnel.  Retractable or automatic bollards offer a much more flexible perimeter security solution, and can be raised and lowered as required using a remote control or other access control device.

Crash-rated bollards

With regards to a traffic bollard system being used for hostile vehicle mitigation, institutions such as the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM International) have developed standardised, stepped tests for establishing a bollard’s stopping power and impact resistance. According to the ASTM’s specification guide concerning the standard test method for crash testing of vehicle security barriers, “[knowing] the penetration rating provides the ability to select an appropriate barrier for site-specific conditions around a facility”.

Since high-target sites such as military barracks and government buildings require the application of exceptional security measures, the use of crash- or attack-rated bollards with a known penetration rating is recommended.

Introducing the FAAC bollard range

FAAC‘s range of access automation products have become associated with quality, reliability and performance around the world for over 50 years.

FAAC traffic bollards are made using only the highest quality materials, are available in a variety of different styles and configurations and, with easy installation and maintenance, they are the automatic choice for adding high security in urban, commercial and industrial settings.


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