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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SMARTair™ Equips New Co-Working Offices In Alicante With Real-time Access Control And Modern Design
SMARTair™ Equips New Co-Working Offices In Alicante With Real-time Access Control And Modern Design

At one of Spain’s newest co-working spaces, the founders’ vision incorporated using the latest in security, accessibility and design to create a 21st-century business center. Flexible and wire-free, SMARTair™ from TESA delivers real-time access control that can accommodate both regular daily traffic and busy one-off events at ULab’s dedicated events area. SMARTair Wireless Online Management SMARTair™ Wireless Online management now enables access to the building and individual offices to be controlled in real time. ULab’s SMARTair™ system securely manages regular daily traffic of approximately 100 people, and has the flexibility to accommodate many more temporary visitors when their event space is full. “In addition to regular daily traffic, weekly traffic can almost multiply by 10 if an event is held,” says Enrique Burgos. “We needed an access control system as flexible and convenient as SMARTair™.” Also — and critically for ULab — SMARTair™ escutcheons and wall readers complement the ultra-modern design aesthetic of this new workspace. With SMARTair™ Wireless Online, ULab’s facility manager can monitor the building’s security status from a single control point and in real time, controlling who enters and when. The installation permits remote opening of any door at ULab, enabling easy access in cases where users have lost or forgotten their credential. Remote access can be granted from the SMARTair™ Web Manager software, which works on any device inside a standard browser without software installation, or from the SMARTair™ admin app for Apple and Android cellphone devices. Individual Access Rights For User Profiles It’s also easy to schedule individual access rights for different user profiles — allowing, for example, site managers to access all doors, but offering occasional users more limited entry to common areas. Changes in status can be made instantly from the Web Manager. And because SMARTair™ locks are operated with RFID smartcards, there’s no security problem if an employee loses their credential. With the SMARTair™ admin software, a simple click cancels the credential’s access rights — a much quicker and cheaper process than replacing a mechanical lock. With contemporary, low-profile design, user-friendly operation and flexible, real-time security functionality, SMARTair™ wireless access control has captured the spirit of ULab.

Wireless Access Control Sees Major Growth In 2016
Wireless Access Control Sees Major Growth In 2016

The shift from wired to wireless access control was expected to gather pace in 2016—and that has happened. This year we at Assa Abloy surveyed a large cross-section of security professionals, seeking their insight into the changing market. Comparing our data with research we did in 2014 showed a clear trend towards wireless access control.   Wireless Access Data Our 2014 survey found 23% of commercial properties using a wireless or hybrid wired/wireless access control system. By 2016, that was 29%, with 5% of premises already fully wireless. We know we’re on the right track: ASSA ABLOY has invested heavily in market and product research, and we will continue. More card- and key-based wireless access control products are releasing through 2017 and beyond. We see a parallel trend in the residential market. Connected smart door locks, as part of smart homes, are becoming more high-profile, vindicating our investment in this sector. Our Yale brand has the largest range of smart door locks on the market.Efficient Security Solutions In 2016, more efficient security solutions have been right at the top of the agenda. Corporate and public sector budgets are tight, and that is likely to continue. On the commercial side, customers increasingly demand access control solutions that integrate with their current building management systems, even if those are made by different manufacturers. That’s why our Aperio wireless locks, cylinders, and escutcheons are built to open standards, for example. On the domestic side, connected living is taking off Connected Living Solutions Solutions must be easy to manage with low installation and maintenance costs, which is a major benefit of wireless access control. On the domestic side, connected living is taking off. More service providers in the domestic market—from energy suppliers to telecoms and security providers—are offering smart door locks as part of connected living solutions to their customers. Access Control In 2016 Looking ahead to 2017, interoperability and compatibility will be increasingly important in commercial access control, as customers expect multiple systems to integrate seamlessly. In smart-home technologies, too: Platforms like Samsung SmartThings, the UK’s O2 Home, innogy SmartHome in Germany and many others are critical to the growth of smart-home security. We also see a growing role for access control solutions in small and medium-sized businesses. Wireless access systems like our SMARTair or CLIQ Go product line make it more affordable and easier to install and run than ever. See the full coverage of 2016/2017 Review and Forecast articles here Save

Wireless Access Control Moves Closer To Mainstream Adoption, With More Potential Waiting To Be Tapped
Wireless Access Control Moves Closer To Mainstream Adoption, With More Potential Waiting To Be Tapped

Everything about wireless access control makes life easier for those who install and operate it A lot of market data crosses my desk at ASSA ABLOY. Sometimes it can be hard to spot patterns or pick out the trends. But not always. Some recent access control market research we commissioned pointed in one direction. Our conclusion? Slowly but surely, access control is becoming a wireless technology As the global leader in door opening solutions, we are able to survey a large, representative segment of security professionals. Comparing our latest data with similar research conducted in 2014 clearly indicates the trend. Our 2014 report found 23% of commercial properties using a wireless or hybrid wired/wireless access control system. Fast forward to 2016 and the proportion has risen to 29%, with 5% of the installed base already with a fully wireless setup. That’s a significant leap, in a relatively short time. Already, 69% of respondents consider wireless locks a cost-effective alternative to wired access control. A whopping 62% even predict that few business premises will still have mechanical locks within a decade. We published the detailed results in a report, “The Wireless Access Control Market in 2016”. Easy To Operate, Easy To Integrate But why wireless? What aspects of the technology appeal in particular to facility managers, integrators and installers? Cost-efficiency, ease of installation, and the compliance requirements for audit trails are often cited by building managers. Everything about wireless access control makes life easier for those who install and operate it. It’s easy to extend an existing third-party access control system by switching mechanical locking cylinders for battery-powered, electronic Aperio® cylinders, for example. You can bring them into the existing, single control panel via communications hubs (online integration) or via update-on-card (offline). Compare that to the full-scale rewiring job needed to add traditional magnetic locks! Key management headaches are eliminated by RFID smartcards, as are the security risks posed by a lost mechanical key — an all-too-common occurrence Equipping doors previously locked using mechanical keys with electronic access control upgrades a site’s security in an instant. Key management headaches are eliminated by RFID smartcards, as are the security risks posed by a lost mechanical key — an all-too-common occurrence, and something 86% of our survey respondents also worry about. EN, DIN and CE wireless lock certification drive still more customers to wireless. Easy, effective integration of wireless lock technologies like Aperio® with CCTV, alarm and other security systems is another major benefit. The era of the smart building is here; locking systems that integrate seamlessly with complementary building management infrastructure are increasingly vital. “Wireless locks are often specially designed for integration with other systems. The integration capabilities and ease of use can be a significant benefit,” writes Blake Kozak, principal analyst at IHS Research, in commentary on our report. Extensive Adoption Across Many Business Sectors Wireless is extensively adopted across many business sectors. In a corporate office setting, the ability for facility managers to amend access rights remotely, to instantly cancel lost cards or to extend an existing wired access control system without disruptive structural alterations are all valuable. Sensitive settings such as hospitals and residential care homes need the real-time information flow that only electronic access control can supply. Online wireless locks provide this much more cost-effectively than any other technology — and are even available with hermetic sealing and anti-bacterial coating. In the event of a security breach at a medicine store of patient records area, wireless locks generate detailed audit trails for locks, users or smartcards that regulatory compliance demands. In student accommodation blocks, lost keys are a recurring security risk and drain on resources — risks and costs that are eliminated by installing wireless access control instead of mechanical locks. Critical infrastructure sites are often widely dispersed or remote (or both). Wireless locks don’t need a mains electricity connection, making them a perfect choice for reservoirs, electricity sub-stations and power generation or distribution facilities. Certified locks and encrypted communications between lock and system ensure security meets the stringent demands of such critical premises. Wireless locks don’t need a mains electricity connection, making them a perfect choice for critical infrastructure sites Aperio Wireless Locks Among our own product portfolio, Aperio® wireless locks integrate with almost any leading access control system, allowing facility managers to take access control much further into a site than would be possible with wired access control. At i2 serviced offices around the UK, Aperio® wireless locks replaced the slow and expensive job of hardwiring every newly sublet office into i2’s central access control system. Aperio® is the access control backbone of a 100% wireless deployment at Ghent’s Hospital Maria Middelares. It enables real-time management and “gold standard” resident care at a new care home in Umeå, Sweden, as well as flexible, online access control at the University of Surrey’s Manor Park campus. SMARTair For Small To Medium-sized Premises SMARTair™ is a stand-alone wireless locking system aimed at small to medium-sized premises, including offices, retirement homes, hospitals, small hotels and universities. Building managers at Frankfurt’s Tower 185 chose SMARTair™ for its easy installation and access rights processing speed. Because SMARTair™ locks are wireless, they consume less energy and emit much less CO2 than wired magnetic locks. It’s no coincidence, then, that Tower 185 was among the first European high-rises to be awarded Gold LEED Certification by the US Green Building Council. The flexibility of SMARTair™ was also a major factor in the Red Cross’s decision to select it for its new Córdoba headquarters. CLIQ key Management Solution CLIQ® is a mechatronic technology, based on patented, high-security cylinders, battery-powered, programmable keys and encrypted electronic communications between cylinders and system. It is widely adopted in critical infrastructure settings around Europe. Its security credentials and the ability for in-house managers to issue contractors with programmable keys are a major benefit to workflow management in these complex organizations. The ability for in-house managers to issue contractors with programmable keys is a major benefit to workflow management in complex organizations In Helsinki, Finland, CLIQ® secures 3,500 interior and exterior doors at 70 different sites for Helsingin Energia, ensuring 400,000 customers have uninterrupted electricity supply. The whole ecosystem is managed remotely from simple, web-based CLIQ® administration software. Industrielle Werke Basel needed a locking system that would equip it to face 21st-century security challenges — as well as padlocks that could withstand extremes of climate and weather. CLIQ® technology ticked all the boxes. Adopting Wireless Beyond Doors Interestingly, our recent customer research also finds the market is already tuned-in to the potential for wireless beyond just doors. Well over half of respondents judged electronic access control well suited to securing server racks, cabinets, lockers, safes, and machines, as well as padlocked outdoor structures. Flexibility makes wireless technology the natural solution. “Interior doors, file cabinets, carts and other deployments will increasingly use wireless electronic systems,” says Kozak. “In deployments beyond doors, IHS expects mechatronic locks to see the most growth. Globally, we forecast that these devices will see volume growth of about 24% in 2016 as security personnel strengthen security to adhere to strict compliance regulations, which often require audit trails. Mechanical keys simply don’t offer this level of tracking.” With audit trail compliance, easy installation, cost efficiency, and seamless integration, wireless access control makes life easier for security managers, installers and system integrators. This, surely, is the secret to its rapid growth. We see it in survey responses and its increasingly widespread adoption across many sectors— and we expect to keep seeing it, as we analyze market trends through 2016 and beyond.

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