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 Paxton Access Limited news

Paxton Releases New Net2 Tutorial Series Available For Installers
Paxton Releases New Net2 Tutorial Series Available For Installers

Paxton has produced a new series of Net2 tutorials to support installers with the latest features in the innovative access control software. The short, informative videos provide guidance on how to make buildings more COVID-secure with Net2.  The unprecedented nature of the coronavirus has led many businesses and building developers around the world to consider how people can move safely around their sites and maintain social distance while ensuring their business remains economically productive in the months ahead. In what seems to now be the new normal, varying degrees of social restrictions are likely to remain in place across many countries. Access control role Jonathan Lach, Paxton’s Vice President Sales explains, “We recognize the role that access control has to play in making buildings safer and limiting the spread of the coronavirus.” “As a technology company, we want to provide solutions that address the problems posed by the pandemic and help people to safely return to work.” Since the start of the pandemic, Paxton has introduced several updates to its flagship access control system, Net2. The system is installed globally in a variety of commercial and public sector buildings, as well as critical sites such as schools, hospitals and laboratories. Increase in demand Lach further explains, “Net2 is installed in many different types of buildings around the world. Making those sites safer for people during the pandemic means a lot to our installers and their end-users.” “Because of this, we have seen an increase in demand for contactless and thermal scanning technology. So, we have developed the features of Net2, and created some extra functionality that really does help make a difference.” Tutorial videos To roll out these updates quickly and efficiently, as well as provide simple and useful information for our installers and end-users, Paxton has produced five easy to digest tutorial videos. Each of these videos showcases the new features and the potential to reduce contamination among users on site. Contactless access control: Hygienic access via touchless entry and exit points, moving away from touch-based devices Flexible access permissions: Meeting social distancing guidelines, limiting access to high traffic areas and implementing a one-way flow of movement Occupancy management: Assigning visitors and staff to designated areas and monitoring people numbers with alerts to further support social distancing Thermal scanning: Using thermal cameras to support health and wellbeing in high-security areas and identifying people that could be at risk Checkpoint Control: Setting designated checkpoints in specific areas of a building where users must be validated before they can access other areas Alongside the software updates and tutorials, Paxton’s on-demand webinar is also available to help new and existing installers identify how access control can help make their specific sites more secure and in line with current guidelines.

Paxton’s Net2 Access Control System Integrates Additional Thermal Scanners
Paxton’s Net2 Access Control System Integrates Additional Thermal Scanners

Paxton has released an online video tutorial which explains how thermal scanning can help buildings installed with Net2 become more COVID-secure. They have also updated the systems software and have six new thermal scan integrations available to boost installer and end-user flexibility. Developing solutions Paxton has been developing solutions throughout 2020, which help reduce the spread of the virus in sites installed with their access control system Net2. While researching relevant updates to give Net2 greater functionality against the current pandemic, Paxton established that thermal scanning upon entry to a site or designated area would be beneficial to monitor people’s well-being, reducing the risk of infection to staff and visitors. Paxton’s Global Product Manager Steve Rowlands explains “Currently in the access control industry thermal scanners are seeing a significant rise in demand. This is due to the symptom commonly associated with the virus, of a consistently high temperature.” Using Net2 Access Control As global scientific evidence suggests, one of the most common symptoms of Coronavirus is a fever with a temperature above 98.6F. A site being able to detect this is an efficient way to increase their building’s defense against the pandemic and help to meet COVID-secure guidelines. The way in which a site manages the process after detection can be greatly supported by using Net2 access control. Steve Rowlands continues “By utilizing thermal scanning in combination with access control, we are able to further reduce a building’s risk by denying access to people with a heightened temperature.” Integration Benefits The new thermal scanning integrations compliment Paxton’s recent software updates occupancy management, flexible access permissions, and checkpoint control. When these elements are combined, a system administrator can set up designated checkpoints to manage the flow of people and reduce overcrowding as well as maintain social distancing. When monitoring and approving an individual’s well-being, this can be achieved by a manual or automated validation. Checkpoints with thermal scanning detection can also be set up in multiple areas across a site and managed remotely.  Steve Rowlands explains how the thermal scanning process works with Net2 “The user presents their physical token, and their temperature is taken simultaneously by the thermal scanner. Access is permitted if their temperature is in the acceptable range and their token is valid. If a valid token is presented but their temperature is too high - their access is denied. This process takes less than a second and works in conjunction with Net2 access levels and our new series of COVID-secure feature updates.”

Paxton Access Limited Enables Instant Access To Essential Tools Through Their Paxton Installer App
Paxton Access Limited Enables Instant Access To Essential Tools Through Their Paxton Installer App

Paxton’s Installer app has officially gone live. The tool has been designed as a centralized platform giving installers and system administrators instant access to key information they need to install and manage Paxton products and solutions on the go. 2020 has been a productive year for the people of Paxton, despite the on-going consequences of the global pandemic. Regulatory guidelines and social distancing measures have led to essential and innovative updates for Paxton’s long-standing access control system Net2. Provides digital access Paxton’s Chief Executive Adam Stroud explains: “There are certain things, such as this pandemic, that happen outside of our direct control and where possible, I think it’s important to try to see the opportunity to do something fresh and different.” Along with rolling out these important feature updates, Paxton added their new Paxton Installer app to their 2020 agenda. The simple-to-use pocket tool provides digital access to Paxton’s Knowledge Base. Installers how have convenient access to up-to-date product specifications, technical documents, video installer instructions as well as answers to many FAQs right on their cellphone device. Expert technical support team Paxton has designed the app’s search functionality with a seamless experience in mind Adam said: “At Paxton we are always looking for opportunities to improve the service and information we provide to our valued installers and their customers. Saving them time and making their working lives more convenient is why we have invested in developing the new Paxton Installer app”. To make life simple on site for their installers, Paxton has designed the app’s search functionality with a seamless experience in mind. Individual product information can be accessed within seconds via the app’s built in bar code scanner. Installers will also be able to direct dial Paxton’s expert technical support team and find a list of their local distributors to make sourcing products and getting installation advice quick and easy. Products and solutions Adam continues: “We have an ever-growing library of content about our products and solutions. Finding the right information when you need it can often be a challenge. Making this easier for our installers has been one of the key objectives of the new app. You will be able to simply scan or search for your product, and all the information is right there for you. In addition, the app gives you immediate access to our vast knowledge base that is used by our own customer support team”. Another benefit of the app for installers is the ability to favorite link documents for quick access and share information with co-workers or end users via email, text, Airdrop, or WhatsApp. All documents and videos are also available offline as they are downloadable within the app. This makes it possible to access information when internet access is a problem. Efficient for installers Adam concludes, “I am very pleased we have invested in the development of this app to make things simpler and efficient for installers. Watch this space as we have much more planned for it in the future!”. The app is available to download now on iOS and Android smart-devices. One can also check out the Paxton Installer app video that explains how installers can use the app’s functionally and how they can get the most out of the innovation.

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