What are Optical Turnstiles?

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  • Written By: Garry Crystal
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 05 October 2019
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Optical turnstiles are used in many large corporations and businesses. They have many distinct advantages over traditional turnstile systems or card entry systems. The sophisticated technology used in optical turnstiles includes numerous sensors incorporating a matrix of detection beams. The beams detect each time a person passes through the turnstile. Optical turnstile sensors are also placed at very low levels to deter people from crawling through the turnstiles illegally.

There are many ways an unauthorized person can pass through an entry system unnoticed. One common way is tailgating, which occurs when a person follows another into a building after the first person has used his or her ID card to open the door. The use of optical turnstiles can eliminate this practice. If someone enters without using a valid ID card, then an alarm will alert security staff.

The beams in optical turnstiles can monitor the number of people entering a building by using the one card, one person system. If more than one person breaks the beam after an ID card is presented, then the system will notice. Optical turnstiles are an extremely useful system for buildings with a high level of people entering and leaving. They are also useful for monitoring how many people are in the building at any given time in case of emergency evacuation.


As opposed to the old ID card system, optical turnstiles have many different programmable options. They can be set for both incoming and outgoing traffic using card access for both directions. They also speed up the entry process, as the door or turnstile does not have to be shut to allow another to enter. As long as the card is presented, a person can enter. Up to 40 people a minute can be allowed through access using optical turnstiles.

Optical turnstiles are an excellent option if you want your lobby to have an open plan look. They can be stylish and unobtrusive, and they also eliminate the need of door staff. They project an image of protection and security, but do not detract from the aesthetic of the interior design.


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