Tuesday 10 August 2021

DHF Celebrates a Decade of Support for the Automated Gate and Traffic Barrier Sector

Two years ago, Director of Security Access Systems Ltd, Martin Keelagher, was named Chairman of DHF’s Automated Gate Group. 

 Here, following a year of unprecedented industry turbulence, and with DHF celebrating 10 years of unequivocal support for the industry, he offers his thoughts on the factors impacting the sector because of Brexit and Covid-19: the perfect storm.

This year, DHF has celebrated a decade of support for the automated gate and traffic barrier sector, and what a year it has been. There have been few years to rival the last, with Brexit and Covid-19 collaborating to cause untold uncertainty across the business landscape. It’s a view shared by Martin Keelagher, who, together with DHF, continues to be a passionate advocate for raising industry standards and furthering its objectives.

“DHF is celebrating ten years of setting the standard in both education and support of the Automated Gate sector, against the backdrop of perhaps the most challenging period in living memory for the industry, and indeed, the wider national and international community,” he says. “But there are a huge number of positives and milestones to be celebrated for DHF and the automated security sector in general. If nothing else, it has brought us all together.”


“DHF continues to lead the way in training for the sectors that we represent,” he states. “We continue to raise awareness of the unwavering need for on-going improvement in automated security equipment, ensuring that installations remain both fit-for-purpose and safe to users and the general public alike, lobbing both nationally and internationally for our members, with publications such as the DHF TS 011:2019; our Code of Practice for the Design, Manufacture, Installation and Maintenance of Powered Gates and Traffic Barriers, which provides a framework to ensure a gate is safe and therefore complies with applicable laws and regulations. This was created in collaboration with DHF members and with input from certification bodies; it remains under proactive review by our DHF technical committees with feedback from our members and stakeholders.”


As one of the oldest trade associations in the UK, DHF is lauded for its efforts in advancing safety across all of the sectors it serves by means of its training and collaboration, and as a result, improvements are being made.

Yet whilst DHF continues to advance safety at every turn, the challenges facing the industry following the past year-to-eighteen months are undisputed.

“We have faced unquestionable challenges as a sector, for example, we are seeing longer lead times of component parts for installation and maintenance impacting both installations and maintenance. In addition, we are experiencing fluctuations in prices, such as the domestic price for steel products in Europe, which increased dramatically in the second half of 2020; again, this has impacted 2021. One of the main drivers of this has been a shortage of both domestic and imported steel products after demand started to recover, compounded due to the Covid-19 lockdown measures across Europe during 2019 and 2020, when a number of steelmakers had to idle capacities to balance supply with sharply declined demand.


“Availability of imports has also been limited due to trade protection measures in place combined with a global price recovery,” Martin continues. “Market sources claimed that traditional non-European Union suppliers preferred to divert material to alternative markets because, although prices in Europe recovered, growth was slower compared to other regions, such as China. This has created greater competition for supply. Manufacturers, providing product and services to the sector, have so far absorbed a number of these price fluctuations, but moving forward, the sector must factor in a potential price correction in the cost of raw, manufacturing materials which will impact the cost of goods and services.


“Throughout, DHF has continued to work closely with the industry and its 242 Gate Group members, demonstrating its support, and passion for a sector determined to become the best version of itself.


“We are also pleased to see the safe return of physical meeting events to support the sector, and DHF will be supporting Fencex 2021, in its 10th year, in October. If you are not yet a member of DHF,” concludes Martin, “I strongly recommend joining this ever-growing community of like-minded individuals, committed to making the security sectors the very best that they can be as we move forward.”


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