Electronic lock systems - Expert commentary

Moving to Sophisticated Electric Locking
Moving to Sophisticated Electric Locking

In part one of this feature, we introduced the shotbolt – a solenoid actuator – as the workhorse at the heart of most straightforward electric locking systems. Shotbolts remain at the core of most sophisticated electric locking solutions as well. But they are supplemented by materials and technologies that provide characteristics suited to specialist security applications. Here we look at some more demanding electric locking applications and contemporary solutions. Preventing forced entry Where the end of the shotbolt is accessible, the electric holding force can be overcome by physical force. That’s why anti-jacking technology is now a frequent feature of contemporary electric solenoid lock actuators. Anti-jacking, dead-locking or ‘bloc’ technology (the latter patented by MSL) is inherent to the way the locking assembly is designed to suit the requirements of the end application. The patented bloc anti-jacking system is highly effective and incorporated into many MSL shotbolts deployed in electric locking applications. The bloc technology uses a ring of steel balls in a shaped internal housing to physically jam the actuated bolt in place. A range of marine locks is widely used on Superyachts for rapid lockdown security from the helm Real life applications for MSL anti-jacking and bloc-equipped shotbolts include installation in the back of supermarket trucks to secure the roller shutter. Once locked from the cab, or remotely using radio technology, these shutters cannot be forced open by anyone with ‘undesirable intentions’ armed with a jemmy. A range of marine locks is widely used on Superyachts for rapid lockdown security from the helm. While anti-jacking features are an option on these shotbolts, consideration was given to the construction materials to provide durability in saltwater environments. Marine locks use corrosion-proof stainless steel, which is also highly polished to be aesthetically pleasing to suit the prestigious nature of the vessel while hiding the innovative technology that prevents the lock being forced open by intruders who may board the craft. Rotary and proportional solenoids sound unlikely but are now common A less obvious example of integrated technology to prevent forced override is a floor lock. This lock assembly is mounted beneath the floor with round-top stainless-steel bolts that project upwards when actuated. They are designed to lock all-glass doors and are arguably the only discreet and attractive way to lock glass doors securely. In a prestigious installation at a historic entranceway in Edinburgh University, the floor locks are remotely controlled from an emergency button behind the reception desk. They act on twin sets of glass doors to quickly allow the doors to close and then lock them closed with another set of subfloor locks. No amount of stamping on or hitting the 15mm protruding bolt pin will cause it to yield, thus preventing intruders from entering. Or leaving! Explosion proofing In many environments, electric locking technology must be ATEX certified to mitigate any risk of explosion. For example, remote electric locking is used widely on oil and gas rigs for stringent access control, general security and for emergency shutter release in the event of fire. It’s also used across many industrial sectors where explosion risks exist, including flour milling, In many environments, electric locking technology must be ATEX certified to mitigate any risk of explosionpowder producers, paint manufacture, etc. This adds a new dimension to the actuator design, demanding not only intrinsically safe electrical circuits and solenoid coils, but the careful selection of metals and materials to eliminate the chance of sparks arising from moving parts. Resilience under pressure The technology boundaries of solenoids are always being pushed. Rotary and proportional solenoids sound unlikely but are now common. More recently, while not directly related to security in the traditional sense, proportional solenoid valves for accurately controlling the flow of hydrogen and gases now exist. Magnet Schultz has an extensive and somewhat innovative new range of hydrogen valves proving popular in the energy and automotive sectors (Fig. 2-6). There’s a different kind of security risk at play here when dealing with hydrogen under pressures of up to 1050 bar. Bio security Less an issue for the complexity of locking technology but more an imperative for the effectiveness of an electric lock is the frequent use of shotbolts in the bio research sector. Remote electric locking is commonplace in many bioreactor applications. Cultures being grown inside bioreactors can be undesirable agents, making 100% dependable locking of bioreactor lids essential to prevent untimely access or the unwanted escape of organisms. Again, that has proven to be topical in the current climate of recurring coronavirus outbreaks around the world. More than meets the eye In part one, I started by headlining that there’s more to electric lock actuation in all manner of security applications than meets the eye and pointed out that while electric locking is among the most ubiquitous examples of everyday security, the complexity often involved and the advanced technologies deployed typically go unnoticed.Integrating the simplest linear actuator into a complex system is rarely simple For end users, that’s a very good thing. But for electro-mechanical engineers designing a system, it can present a challenge. Our goal at Magnet Schultz is to provide a clearer insight into today’s electric locking industry sector and the wide range of locking solutions available – from the straightforward to the specialized and sophisticated. Integrating the simplest linear actuator into a complex system is rarely simple. There’s no substitute for expertise and experience, and that’s what MSL offers as an outsource service to designers. One benefit afforded to those of us in the actuator industry with a very narrow but intense focus is not just understanding the advantages and limitations of solenoid technology, but the visibility of, and participation in, emerging developments in the science of electric locking. Knowing what’s achievable is invaluable in every project development phase.

Providing Fast and Secure Access in Life-Threatening Emergencies
Providing Fast and Secure Access in Life-Threatening Emergencies

A defibrillator can save the life of a person suffering from cardiac arrest – but it is most effective when used in the first few minutes of the patient collapsing. Studies have shown that a shock given within the first three minutes provides the best chance of survival and even one minute of further delay can substantially lower the chances of recovering. Public Access Defibrillators (PADs) were created to allow untrained members of the public to deliver life-saving treatment in those precious minutes before an ambulance arrives. There are currently over 10,000 in the UK, located in parks, offices, high streets and sporting venues, and they are especially popular in rural communities, where ambulance response times are longer. Every second counts Over the years there has been a long-running debate as to whether PADs should be kept openly accessible or locked. Leaving them open could lead to theft, vandalism or misuse. Leaving them locked could mean that precious moments are lost waiting for a local guardian to arrive – and could even cost a life. To save as many lives as possible, it’s clear that PADs need to be available 24/7, fully operational and easily accessible to users and local guardians. But there is a solution that can meet all these conditions – a lock that can protect against vandalism while providing convenient instant access when required. Life-saving solutions Over the years there has been a long-running debate as to whether PADs should be kept openly accessible or lockedDigital locks are ideal for securing PADs because they don’t require a key, and anyone can be given access over the phone. In the case of a cardiac arrest, the user calls 999 and the ambulance controller provides them with a simple, easy-to-remember code. The ambulance controller can then advise them, step by step, what to do. Local guardians, who have responsibility for the PAD, can be provided with an override key to enable them to monitor and maintain the defibrillator. The PAD cabinets built by Duchy Defibrillators show exactly how this works in practice. Based in rural Cornwall, Duchy Defibrillators manufactures, supplies and installs monitored PAD cabinets. To provide public access to the defibrillators, it needed a lock that could keep its cabinets secure, make them easily accessible and withstand the stormy Cornish weather. Codelocks recommended a digital electronic lock that could operate on a standalone battery, making it especially suitable for remote areas. As well as offering flexible access, digital locks come with a range of varying options and functions to suit different applications. As Duchy Defibrillator cabinets are installed in a wide variety of locations and sometimes need to withstand outdoor exposure, it opted for a robust electronic digital lock that is both affordable and easy to set up. A digital-access revolution Using smart locks in combination with a dedicated app or portal allows operators to send time-sensitive codes to end-users The example of Duchy Defibrillators shows how digital locks can be used to keep defibrillator cabinets secure while affording instant access to users when they are needed. But the flexibility of digital locks also makes them suitable for securing property and equipment in a wide variety of situations, especially for shared and public facilities. This is why you’ll increasingly see digital locks used to secure restricted areas in hospitals, schools and offices, as well as shared facilities like hotel and gym lockers, public restrooms and more. Digital locks are available for a number of specific applications, including doors, lockers and cabinets. They can range from simple mechanical locks through to more sophisticated electronic locks and state-of-the-art smart locks. Using smart locks in combination with a dedicated app or portal allows operators to send time-sensitive codes to end users – making them very popular for contactless entry and with facilities managers that need to manage access to buildings and campuses. One thing is certain – whatever your access control requirements are, there’s a keyless lock solution to suit. The digital access revolution is here.

Automatic Gates: Making The Right Investment For Access Control
Automatic Gates: Making The Right Investment For Access Control

The experience of the COVID-19 pandemic has made us all more conscious of who is coming and going from our property. Whether it is a family home, business premises or public building, property owners want full control over access for protection and peace of mind. As a provider of access control technologies, we are seeing a growing demand for automated gates with a variety of access control systems. There are a number of considerations that buyers need to make when investing. And as an installer, there is advice that you can offer to help your clients make the right choice for their property. Here are some of the key considerations you’ll need to make and discuss with your client. Whomever you buy from, you should be offered more than a simple instruction manual. Electronic locks, magnetic locks and code security In the first instance, you’ll need to advise on the type of lock and access control available. Electronic locks release on the operation of the automation system to allow the gates to open. Locks are required for all non-locking (also known as reversible) operators and are recommended for any gate on a multi-user site or any gate over 2.5m. Apply the same logic to an automated gate as you would to a domestic door – for example, you wouldn’t fit your front door with a lock on the same side as the hinges or a drop bolt at the hinge end of a manual gate so why dispense with this logic when the gate is automated? Electronic locks release on the operation of the automation system to allow the gates to open There are a number of locks on the market including magnetic locks, drop locks that “shoot” a bolt into the ground and side latching locks. These are all designed for external use. While the gate itself will provide physical security, the customer will want to feel in control of who enters their property, when and for what purpose. Consider access for mail and deliveries, waste disposal and visitors arriving on foot etc. There is a range of options available. Intercom systems will allow the user to vet visitors, keypad entry can allow remote access for visitors with a specific code, remote controls allow an oncoming driver to open the gates without getting out of the vehicle, and a timer control can be used to open or close the gates at certain times of the day. Vehicle detection loops can be installed discreetly under the tarmac allowing the presence of vehicles to exit the gates and prevent closing while obstructed. Sliding gates versus swinging gates There are a number of locks on the market including magnetic locks, drop locks that “shoot” a bolt into the ground and side latching locks Gates can be automated to either swing or to slide open and in the case of swinging gates, the opener may be concealed underground or gate mounted. The most suitable opener for your installation will depend on the space available and the type of gate selected. Concealed underground automation is ideal for highly ornate gates. However, where gates are fully infilled (typical of many timber designs), gate mounted openers are concealed from the front of the gate by the gate leaf and present a cost-effective option. The choice between slide and swing is largely down to space - swing gates require a clear space for their opening arc while sliding gates require space to one or both sides of the gate. Sliding gates are perhaps the best choice where the drive slopes or when drive space is limited, as they use the least space when opening. Voltage Most swing gate and sliding systems are available in 24v or 230v. The 24v systems still need 230v mains power – there is a transformer built into the 24v control panels. Deciding which voltage to use can include a combination of factors such as the material of the gates, the location of the system and the safety features you want. Concealed underground automation is ideal for highly ornate gates With wrought iron gates, the wind can pass through them whereas with fully boarded wooden gates (popular because they give full privacy) the wind has nowhere to go, so they act like sails. For commercial or industrial applications with larger entrances and a heavy gate, you may need 3 Phase 400v power (sliding gates only). Installing gate motors in confined spaces The environment in which you are fitting may well influence which gate and motor you recommend. Will it be in an exposed area which is subject to the elements? Will it be positioned on a slope? Sliding gates are perhaps the best choice where the drive slopes or when drive space is limited Installers have always faced the challenge of installing gate motors in confined spaces. When fitting a pedestrian gate, there is often limited space in which to work – potentially making an installation time consuming and technically demanding. If this is the case for you, consider a gate operator which is designed specifically for installations with limited space for maneuver. An example of this is the E5 compact gate operator. The operator is not only small but has an optional slide lever attachment designed for installations where there is extremely limited space, meaning that just 8cm of the pillar is needed for installation. What’s more, improved fixing points and a simple ‘hook and fasten’ process means assembly is safe, quick and straight forward. Ultimately, you’ll be looking for a good quality, reliable product with good service. Work with a supplier that offers more than just a manual. If they are happy to offer training, their time and advice when you buy, the chances are you’ll get their support long term.

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IFSEC Day 1: H.265, Apps And Cybersecurity Shine Through Other Security Innovations
IFSEC Day 1: H.265, Apps And Cybersecurity Shine Through Other Security Innovations

H.265 compression, apps and the inherent security of security systems were some of the themes to be gleaned on the first day of IFSEC International. Almost every video exhibitor I saw on day one of the show mentioned that many of their products use H.265 compression in these days of high definition, bandwidth-hungry cameras. Over at Vivotek’s stand, for example, Emilio Sanchez, project consultant, spoke of the company’s H.265 Smart Stream compression algorithm. He said this saves anything between 70 and 90 percent bandwidth, depending on the amount of movement in the images, compared to H.264. People are asking for higher resolution video, which requires greater recording capacity to accommodate, hence the need for H.265. 360-Degree Surveillance Vivotek also displayed its 360-degree fisheye camera with built-in infra-red illumination, and a 180-degree camera fitted with four image sensors designed to provide a single, seamless image on the monitor. The company also emphasised its products being tailored to various vertical markets, such as a people-counting camera for retail applications (which also measured the heights of people in a scene) and city surveillance products. Another exhibitor with a focus on vertical markets is manufacturer and distributor Genie CCTV. John Boorman, sales director, explains that various verticals have different requirements, as examples, fingerprint recognition, gait recognition or face recognition. The company believes in communicating with end-users as well as installers and integrators, and this approach is helped by having a full-scale demonstration facility at their headquarters. When I asked him about cutting the number of cameras or decommissioning entire public space CCTV networks by various UK local councils because of squeezed budgets, he said he is not surprised as no thought was given to maintenance budgets when the schemes were first set up. At the Y3K stand, all of its Smart-I range can be accessed through apps to control products such as PIRs, contacts and the wireless power control socket and repeater Apps Are A Major Theme At IFSEC Apps are all over the place at the show this year. One instance is the Y3K stand where all of its Smart-I range can be accessed through apps to control products such as PIRs, contacts and the wireless power control socket and repeater. Using the app, the user can control cause and effect settings and can be emailed or can receive a text alert when certain events occur. Mike Barrett, national sales manager, explains that other consumer markets drive the development of the home security market, such as camera modules used in mobile phones. “The theme is that everything is app-driven. It has existed for a long time but was expensive – now it’s much less expensive and more readily available.” Other features of Smart-I cameras include easy setup – such as using a QR code instead of having to enter a load of IP information – and easy pairing to Wi-Fi. And over at key management specialists Morse Watchmans, mobile apps as well as ease of use, integration and better technology are said to improve systems. Cyber And Physical Security What secures the security systems is another theme at the show. Bosch Security Systems, for example, has a mission to encrypt its range of cameras and recording platforms. The idea is to safely store all certificates and keys for authentication and encryption – which is part of ensuring secure communications in a network – to avoid "flashing" of firmware by hackers. Meanwhile at video management system company Genetec, Andrew Elvish, vice president of marketing and product management, was almost evangelical about the need for good cybersecurity on physical security products, especially where cybersecurity and physical security meet. “Cybersecurity has to be approached at a very fundamental level of the network. We have very unique cybersecurity features that are demanded by our enterprise customers.” After a quiet start on the first day, the aisles at the Excel exhibition centre in London became busy and the noise level rose by quite a few decibels. Tomorrow I’ll be reporting on day 2 of IFSEC, and I expect it will be busier still!

IFSEC 2010 – Home To The International Security Industry
IFSEC 2010 – Home To The International Security Industry

IFSEC is the world's leading global annual security event With representation from 112 countries at IFSEC 2009 and 31% of the 25,427 attendance (ABC Audited) coming to the UK from overseas, IFSEC has cemented its position as the key event in the international security industry calendar. 2010 is set to build on this reputation with several countries benefitting from dedicated pavilions to house leading manufacturers and suppliers from the respective countries. Supported by the US Commercial Service, IFSEC 2010 will feature its first US Pavilion. Based in hall 4, this pavilion will house a plethora of innovative manufacturers to allow visitors to source US security products and services in one concentrated location. Commercial staff from the U.S. embassy in London will also be on hand to answer any queries. In addition to the US, there will be a raft of other pavilions for visitors to take advantage of including those representing Belgium (new for 2010), China, France, Italy, Korea and Taiwan. Furthermore, IFSEC 2010 will feature its first Spain Pavilion with the Secartys association, a voluntary organization which represents more than 1,200 industries in electronics, information technology, telecommunications and solar energy across Spain, also introducing new exhibitors from Spain in the different product areas within the exhibition. James Blue, Director of Fire & Security at UBM Live, organisers of IFSEC, said: "For many years we have successfully hosted international pavilions, including China, Korea and Taiwan, to support the worldwide expansion of leading security companies from the respective countries. IFSEC provides a great opportunity for these organizations to expand their overseas trade and we are confident that these international companies will greatly benefit from their presence at the 2010 event." The pavilions will be located within the extensive exhibition at IFSEC 2010 which will be organized into the following categories: Integrated Security: IP & Network Solutions, Access Control, CCTV, Intruder Alarms, Counter Terror & Physical Security, Security Solutions and Fire Solutions. Axis, Dallmeier, Genie CCTV, Hikvision, IndigoVision, JVC, Norbain, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony and Tyco are amongst those exhibiting. IFSEC 2010 is running alongside Safety & Health Expo and The Facilities Show from 10 - 13 May at the NEC Birmingham, UK. Companies interested in exhibiting should contact Charlie Cracknell on +44 (0)20 7921 8069 or at charlie.cracknell@ubm.com. Further details on IFSEC 2010 will be announced in the coming weeks. Please keep visiting the website, follow us on Twitter and join our LinkedIn group for the latest information.

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