Friday, July 24, 2015

Gator Power Gate, Evolution of an Invention

The Gator Power Gate has gone through many transformations since its early beginnings in John Curry's shop.  Let's take a look at how this innovative gate opener has evolved over years of design and testing.
Gator Power Gate
John started with a simple observation: whenever people open a gate or door, we naturally push or slide from the free edge, not the hinged side.  Opening a gate from its hinges, as traditional gate openers do, is much less efficient.  With the training of a NASA engineer and the practicality of a blueberry farmer, John took this concept to his shop and set out to build his own automatic gate opener.

The first Gator was a single-wheeled unit that used a bike chain and electric motor to drive the wheel in opening and closing his gate.
Gator Power Gate
While developing this prototype, one of John's main challenges was to produce a unit that could handle the varying terrain conditions on his farm, including sand, gravel, and tree roots.  His solution was a purpose-engineered mounting plate suspension system which allows the Gator to easily tackle uneven pavement or terrain.  
Gator Power Gate
Finding that one wheel could bog down in sand or gravel, John increased the traction and stability by using a dual-wheel approach.  
Gator Power Gate

A 10 watt solar panel provided more than enough power to keep the Gator going.


Gator Power Gate

By 2006, the Gator had already come a long way.  John's innovations were awarded a United States Utility Patent, and several of his neighbors were putting the Gator Power Gate through the paces on their own farms and estates.  However, John was not nearly done yet.  

Gator Power Gate

Over the years, he continued to refine and improve on his earlier models, making the unit more compact, weatherproof, and durable.  He gave the Gator a powerful new motor, re-designed the drive train (goodbye, bike chain!) and made the unit easily compatible with slide gate applications. 

Gator Power Gate
With each improvement, the Gator Power Gate became better and better.  But let's be honest...it wasn't winning any beauty contests!
Gator Power Gate
With a new fiberglass cover and a forest green paint job, the Gator started to gain some curb appeal! 
As you can see, a lot has gone into making the Gator Power Gate an effective, convenient, and reliable gate opening solution.  This Gator is farm-raised, field-tested, and ready to impress!

- Jana Badger





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