What Are Bollards and How Do They Deter Threats?

Nov 1, 2022 9:01:10 AM / by Adam Baird

A bollard is a short, vertical post used to protect vulnerable areas that are at risk of accidental or intentional vehicle crashes. Bollards are seen around the perimeter of a facility as the general purpose of installing them is to protect the exterior of buildings, customers, pedestrians, and staff. Bollards have been used for many years, but the material used to design them has evolved to withstand the weight and velocity of a moving vehicle. With the increase of cars crashing into buildings in recent years, it is crucial to understand what kind of bollards are needed for your facility, how you can utilize them, and how much they can withstand.

Types of Bollards

To determine what kind of bollards are needed, you must understand the differences between the available choices. Fixed post bollards are feasible for most uses and can provide long-term protection as they are embedded into the ground. Shallow-mount bollards are installed through an anchor system that keeps them at a shorter depth and allows them to take on high collisions. Shallow-mount bollards are a much cheaper option than fixed post bollards but less secure.

Removable bollards provide flexibility to your security measures as they can be taken out and relocated. If your goal is to add both strength and versatility to the area, consider a removable bollard, especially for temporary security requirements. Rising bollards are retractable and can enhance access control on an as-needed basis. Rising bollards can be lifted from the surface automatically or manually. Calpipe Security Bollards offers three options for retractable bollards; manual lift, assisted lift, and automatic.

Where Are Bollards Needed?

Areas such as parking lots, storefronts, malls, power plants, and educational institutions are all good examples of locations that may require the use of bollards. Government buildings are at risk of politically motivated vehicle attacks and the presence of bollards can provide a visual deterrent as well as a physical barrier of protection. Retail stores and malls are both at risk of being crashed into by a vehicle intentionally for the sole purpose of theft, especially during riots. There is also the risk of unintentional car crashes that can impact all areas mentioned above as well as pedestrian walkways and sidewalks. Bollards help manage that risk by providing a visual barrier that separates the road from those walkways and sidewalks. Bollards can also designate corners and intersections, which will help enforce traffic regulations more clearly.

Bollard Crash Ratings

Bollards are either labeled as tested, certified, or engineered. A bollard can be engineered to withstand a certain kind of impact but not tested for it. The product could also go through testing for impact but could not meet the requirements for certification. Regulated crash ratings exist to aid in determining the durability of bollards and gates to ensure that they can withstand collisions. There are three primary factors that determine a bollard’s crash rating: the weight of the vehicle, the speed at which the car is traveling during impact, and the distance the truck bed travels beyond the opening.

There are two general rating systems for bollard testing: K-ratings and M-ratings. K-ratings are predicated on how far a 15,000-pound vehicle can get past the bollard at a given speed. M-ratings have served as a replacement for k-ratings in recent years and these tests are predicated on how far the payload of a vehicle can get beyond the bollard instead of the front. Both tests are similar regarding the tested travel distance and the tested speeds are an exact match.

Contact Kontek Industries

Kontek Industries specializes in security barriers, gates, and bollards for DOD, nuclear facilities, law enforcement, and a wide range of other organizations. We offer a series of ASTM F3016 crash-rated bollards, protecting both people and property when vulnerable to low speed vehicular impact. Our partnership with Calpipe Security Bollards helps us provide impact tested and field certified products that have been utilized in commercial, retail, industrial, high-security, government, and military applications. These bollards are produced with experience and expertise from the early stages of design and specification through the final installation.

Contact the office at Kontek Industries today to discuss your needs for security bollards, gates, or barriers.

Topics: Counter Terrorism, Target Hardening

Adam Baird

Published by Adam Baird

Adam Baird is the Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President at Kontek Industries. Adam handles many operational responsibilities such as contract reviews, purchasing, CNC machining, and light fabrication. He also plays a role as a key decision maker for the organization. Prior to joining Kontek, Adam worked as an engineer at Marathon Oil Corporation. His prior engineering work is credited as a driving force behind seeking education in Explosives Engineering. Adam has earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s degree in Explosives Engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology. During his time at Missouri S&T, Adam developed sophisticated skills in the integration of explosive technology into complex systems for a wide range of applications. Adam also developed strong business management skills while obtaining a Master's degree in business administration at Nicholls State University.