VARIATIONS ON THE BELT BARRIER
DIFFERENT STYLES OF RETRACTABLE BELT BARRIER
We’ve talked a lot about the ubiquitous, tried-and-true retractable belt barrier stanchion and what makes it the go-to choice for pedestrian crowd and queue control. But not all belt barriers are the same; there’s actually quite a bit of variety in the retractable belt world. In this article we’ll take a look at some of the different styles of belt barrier stanchion and what they’re used for.
By now you probably know the basic makeup of a portable belt barrier: a fabric belt that retracts into a cassette, atop a metal post which connects to a round base. Your typical belt barrier stanchion is around 40 inches high with a base around 12 to 15 inches in diameter, with maybe a ten foot belt. But each of the posts we’re about to describe bucks that trend in some way. So let’s take a look at what sets them apart, shall we?
Gallery or Display Posts are the runt of the litter, so to speak. They’re shorties, typically around two feet tall or less. Otherwise they don’t look too different than your typical belt barrier…it just seems like someone smashed them from above with a cartoon hammer. But why would you need such a short post?
Well, as their name implies, these stanchions are designed to be used around items you want to display, such as something in a gallery. When you’re displaying a valuable object like a sculpture or painting and want to keep people at a safe distance while also not obstructing their view, a gallery post is a good choice. It creates a low profile visual barrier without actually blocking whatever it is you’re trying to show off, be it a fancy car or an Egyptian sarcophagus.
Often, these posts are metallic in color to match the décor of the museum or gallery they’re being displayed in, or to display a level of elegance at auto shows or similar venues. A brightly colored belt can reinforce the visual barrier by calling attention to it without being in the way of whatever object is meant to be seen.
DUAL LINE POSTS
Dual Line Posts are so named because…anyone? Yes, that’s right, dual lines (or in this case, belts). These stanchions feature a belt cassette at the top of the post, like a normal belt barrier, but also feature another belt at the mid-way point along the post. So what use could an extra belt have?
Well, these belts serve a couple of purposes. Number one, they provide a stronger barrier option for higher traffic environments, discouraging children from running under barriers and adults from ducking under them. These barriers also provide an aid to visually impaired individuals, who can detect the lower belt with a cane but may not be able to detect the upper belt.
If you’re going to use a retractable belt barrier in an outdoor setting consistently and often, you’ll want to ensure it’s designed for the task. There are a few things that separate most outdoor posts from their indoor counterparts.
The first difference is material. Outdoor posts are often made from PVC plastic instead of the more traditional steel seen on other stanchions. This makes them lightweight, but also resistant to damage from exposure to sun, rain and other weather conditions. Sometimes, these posts will have hollowed out bases that can be filled with material such as sand, gravel or water to keep it stable once it’s placed.
Outdoor metal posts exist as well, and these are frequently made of aluminum instead of steel, since aluminum doesn’t rust like steel. While aluminum will corrode, the corrosion actually creates a protective hardened layer that strengthens the metal.
The next thing you’ll notice about most outdoor rated belt barriers is the coloration. Unlike indoor posts which tend to be dark and neutral tones to be discreet, or metallic finishes to match a certain décor or aesthetic, outdoor posts usually opt for bright colorations: think oranges, reds and yellows. The reasoning behind this is that posts used consistently outdoors don’t have the benefit of indoor lighting. They’re going to have to be highly visual to be seen in dark or low light conditions, when artificial lighting can’t be relied on. Their coloration also helps them denote hazards or construction areas, which can be more prevalent but difficult to see in an outdoor setting.
A Rolling Stanchion is essentially just a belt barrier on wheels. The wheels often require the stanchion to be tilted to start turning, so that the post isn’t just rolling around when it should be staying put. Why would you want a stanchion on wheels?
Obviously, it contributes to the portable nature of the post. While most belt barriers are light enough to be carried by your average person, the process can become tiring after a while. That’s why stanchion carts are so important. But if you’re going to be doing a lot of moving in a temporary set-up, a cart can become cumbersome. A rolling stanchion, however, can be easily moved and reconfigured as needed, without causing too much fatigue.
Many times, rolling stanchions will feature extra long belts. Your typical belt barrier features a belt length that usually won’t exceed 15 feet, whereas rolling stanchions can sometimes feature belts well over 30 feet in length. For stability, these long span posts frequently weigh more than standard stanchions, making them harder to move. In this case, wheels come in handy to help transport and set up the post.