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.

Latest Videx Security Ltd news

Videx Security Equips Hicking Building Ltd’s Residential Flats With Its GSM 4812 Intercom System For Assisted Access Control
Videx Security Equips Hicking Building Ltd’s Residential Flats With Its GSM 4812 Intercom System For Assisted Access Control

Hicking Building RTM Company Ltd has teamed up with Videx Security and Joes UK Limited to solve a major door entry issue for a large residential complex. The Hicking Building Ltd. is a Nottingham-based development comprising 329 self-contained flats, managed by property agents Walton and Allen. Many residents were struggling with a call issue because the existing intercom system developed a fault which meant residents weren’t receiving calls from the system panels. Because of this, tenants were missing visitors and deliveries with people thinking they weren’t home.  Videx GSM 4812 intercom system Installer Joes UK Ltd. was tasked with finding a suitable intercom system Installer Joes UK Ltd. was tasked with finding a suitable intercom system that would also work in conjunction with the existing access control system, where the fob entry element of this was working normally. Joe, who owns and manages Joes UK Ltd., said “The system installed is a very old system and we were struggling to source the repair parts needed to fix the calling issue tenants were experiencing. To fix the problem and reduce the risk of the issue happening again, I recommended the installation of a digital audio GSM 4812 intercom system by Videx that could work concurrently with the fob entry function of the existing solution.” He adds, “With the Videx GSM 4812, when someone calls a specific apartment the call is automatically directed to a registered phone number of the tenant’s, which is usually their smartphone. They now will never miss that important visitor or delivery and are made aware of who has visited even when they are not there and can authorize entry if they wish, while away from their home.” Parallel operations with software-based fob entry solution The Videx system works alongside the existing software-based fob entry solution that residents have used for many years. Mobile phones are now the handset of choice for the majority of people and as they are enabled with Wi-Fi calling, there’s no need to worry about poor mobile signal. If the existing fob system also developed a fault and stopped working, the Videx GSM system includes a preinstalled fob reader so it would be easy to switch this over to the GSM solution. Mark Gibbon, Sales Manager at Videx Security, said “The GSM system is the ultimate entry system of convenience that also provides maximum security too. There’s no infrastructure or wiring involved; it’s very easy to set up and use.” The GSM system is the ultimate entry system of convenience that also provides maximum security Mark adds, “It’s a win-win situation for both the resident and management company because it means residents won’t have to stay home waiting for a delivery, or miss a visitor, as they can answer the call to their apartment from anywhere in the world. For management companies, our GSM solution offers a fixed cost and minimizes the risk of call outs because there’s no handset maintenance involved.” Remote event log with online access A really useful feature of the GSM system is that it also carries a new remote event log that can be accessed online, allowing events to be viewed in real time, on the move via a phone, tablet/laptop. It’s a great security feature because it’s where a record is kept of calls, gate/door openings and much more. What’s also useful is that alerts can be programmed where an email will be sent should that alert be triggered. For example, if the gate or door is opened out of normal hours or if the registered number for a flat or property is changed too frequently - any unusual activity is flagged.

Videx Launches Two New Apps & Firmware With Additional Features For Its WS4 Web Server Access Control System
Videx Launches Two New Apps & Firmware With Additional Features For Its WS4 Web Server Access Control System

Globally renowned access control systems manufacturer and supplier, Videx has announced the launch of two new apps for its web server access control system, the WS4 and has also released a new firmware with additional features. WS4 web server access control The WS4 can manage up to 20 entrances locally or remotely from anywhere via a mobile phone, tablet or PC using a web browser to connect to the system and it’s very easy to install. It can also hold approximately 2,500 proximity and coded access users, each with up to two proximity fobs and store up to 50,000 events which can also be viewed online or via the app. The two new apps are now available, making the access control system even more convenient to manage The two new apps are now available, making the access control system even more convenient to manage. The admin app allows system managers to simply add, edit or remove users on the go, and additionally, gives them a real time event log and status updates on the system’s health, by indicating power issues or alarm trip events. The system administrator is also able to open any of the entrances via the admin app. Secure access control system The user app provides a great alternative or addition to the user carrying a proximity fob or when remembering an access code. Users of the app are setup via the web portal and can be given access through selected entrances on any of the developments or buildings that the WS4 access control system manages. They can also be restricted to certain days and times, and the ability to set an expiry date, which is considered a highly useful feature for short term users, such as visitors or temporary staff. James Gray, Project Manager at Videx, said “The WS4 is one of the most secure and convenient access control systems on the market. It’s easy to install, standalone and the entire system can be accessed and managed from anywhere in the world via a web portal - you only need an internet connection.” Admin app for enhanced system administrator control The user app enables specific user profiles to be created, to let administrators control authorized entry" James adds, “The new apps create even more benefits to those managing the system with the admin app giving greater control to the system’s administrator to ensure the system is running smoothly and providing an easier way for it to be modified as and when it needs to, which can all be done remotely.” He further stated, “The user app enables specific user profiles to be created, meaning administrators can drill down into the specifics of authorized entry, whether that’s via selected entrances or only allowing some users access to certain buildings or sections of a building or property on certain days and times.” Intuitive access management capabilities The WS4’s web portal provides highly intuitive access management capabilities enabling multiple developments and buildings to be managed from one convenient web page. 1, 2 & 4 door control cabinets are also available with options for connecting to the network via an Ethernet connection or via the optional 4G router for those applications where an Ethernet connection is not available. All controllers can be combined up to 20 doors if required (using a maximum of 10 cabinets). Security alarm integration Additional features of the WS4 include security alarm integration, where a user can set or unset the alarm system from an access control reader, a lift interface option using an additional relay card, colored proximity fobs for easy management of users and email alerts for both managers and engineers.

Videx Announces The Launch Of MiAccess HL1000-MF Access Control Range For Small To Mid-Sized Installation
Videx Announces The Launch Of MiAccess HL1000-MF Access Control Range For Small To Mid-Sized Installation

Door entry and access control manufacturer Videx has introduced a new handle for its range of MiAccess proximity readers. The HL1000-MF provides an ideal access control solution for small to mid-sized installations including offices, guest houses, industrial units and schools. The Mifare proximity handle can be used as a standalone unit or as part of a system including MiAccess readers and other accessories, such as the AL500-MF handle. Sian Luxton, Key Accounts Manager at Videx, said: “The HL1000-MF is an extremely versatile door handle and lock that can provide access to an unlimited number of users, access to one or more doors, and can restrict access whenever it is required therefore making it ideal for different access control solutions." Programming information Fobs are also available in a range of colors to further simplify the management of the system "It’s very easy to install and use too; all you need is the handle, a PC and a USB desk reader for programming alongside the user’s cards or fobs. User cards and fobs are programmed at the PC and then issued to the users without the need to visit the site or development to program anything further; saving time and cost because no wiring connections or power supply are required.” Fobs are also available in a range of colors to further simplify the management of the system. It is compatible with both the PROA MS and PROH MS MiAccess software, where programming, configuration settings and event logs of the built-in reader can be transferred between the PC and the reader. This is carried out via the micro-USB or with programming cards where the programming information is transferred from the card to the reader. Key override facility User cards can be created via the software with the PROX-USB desktop enrollment reader where access rights can be registered directly onto each corresponding card. Sian added: “The battery powered handle can be used internally or externally and has a robust stainless-steel body and handle. It also includes a dead lock with a key override facility to the secure side and thumb turn release for the inside." "Two override keys are included. It can be used on up to a maximum of 80 doors, has an unlimited user capacity and up to 3,500 events can be logged. There are four variants of the handle which can be used for inward or outward opening doors and doors which open to the right or the left.”  The handle is  powered by 4x standard AA batteries giving on average 60,000 opening cycles.

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