A preliminary design has been made to motorise the side ports so they can be opened and closed remotely. The main idea is to use a design based on a system for automatic sliding gates used at the entrance of driveways. The main advantage is that these kind of systems are made for a usage very similar to that for the side ports, i.e., opening and closing no more than a few times each day, and are readily available also on La Palma. In particular, one might expect to find a system that needs little modification, is highly reliable, requires little maintenance, but is not very expensive. Still, some issues need to be checked properly, in particular the fact that the side ports move in a curve and that each unit is made of two doors. Quotes have been solicited from several companies for a single motor for test purposes. If the one selected is found to be satisfactory a further eight will be purchased along with rack and safety bars for automatic stopping, in case of obstacles in the path of the door or emergencies.

Thomas Augusteijn 2013-05-10