Electronic locking devices - 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 specialised 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 post 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 whilst 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 whilst 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 manoeuvre. 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 2015: TDSi to demonstrate integration opportunities with other security providers
IFSEC 2015: TDSi to demonstrate integration opportunities with other security providers

The event is the opportunity to learn more about how products can be integrated with a broad range of complementary systems Integrated security manufacturer TDSi will be demonstrating the considerable benefits of full integration of its solutions with other specialist manufacturers, including Texecom, Milestone, ASSA ABLOY and SimonsVoss, on stand F1100, at IFSEC International 2015 this month. John Davies, Managing Director of TDSi commented, "IFSEC International is the perfect opportunity to learn more about how our products can be integrated with a broad range of complementary systems, from wireless locking systems to intruder alarms and CCTV VMS Platforms. All of these can be centrally administered by our EXgarde software, which provides a fully comprehensive, centrally managed security." TDSi to be a key part of 'Harmony Village' TDSi will again be a key part of the 'Harmony Village' at IFSEC International, which includes partners Texecom, GJD and Elmdene all in close proximity – making it simple for visitors to understand the connecting technologies. TDSi will also be working in close co-operation with Milestone, ASSA ABLOY and SimonsVoss at the show to explain the integration partnerships between the technologies and the providers. Distribution Partner Manager; LeAnne Hill, Channel Partner Manager; Alex Rumsey and Channel Partner Manager; Richard Hill will all be on hand on stand F1100 to discuss the benefits of working with TDSi in the UK. For international visitors attending the show, International Business Development Manager; Mica Negrilic will be available to talk about opportunities to partner TDSi in EMEA. John Davies will also be on hand to talk about the opportunities in China and the Asia Pacific region. Latest range of readers on display On stand F1100 TDSi will display its latest range of readers. These include new versions of its MIFARE and Proximity Readers, including MIFARE Plus and DESFire technologies, for added security and flexibility. Also on display will be the company's SOLOgarde, MICROgarde and EX-Series controllers, along with the combination options of its software products - including EXgarde security management and VUgarde Video Management Software. Motivational speakers This year IFSEC International features a number of well-known motivational speakers - including British racing driver and former track cyclist Sir Chris Hoy MBE, sporting executive Baroness Karren Brady CBE and Adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes OBE. TDSi is keen to encourage visitors from across the UK who may be considering attending the show. A recent blog (www.tdsi.co.uk/ifsec15_north) outlines the benefits of attending the show and also makes suggestions on the best ways to travel to the ExCel and to make the most of the event.

Intersec 2015: BSIA members experience positive response
Intersec 2015: BSIA members experience positive response

The BSIA-organised UK Pavilion the focal point of the highest-ever turnout of UK companies The Intersec exhibition held in Dubai last month is fast becoming a must attend event for British security providers. Members of the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) and its Export Council, who were there in force for the 17th year, report a high level of interest in the wide range of innovative UK security solutions, from integrated systems to access control, CCTV, perimeter protection, intruder alarm and power supply technology, on display. The scale of the British presence at Intersec 2015 was certainly impressive this time around, with the BSIA-organized UK Pavilion the focal point of the highest-ever turnout of UK companies. The positive experience of Export Council member companies at Intersec 2015 was captured by a post-event survey, with 75% of respondents answering that the number of visitors coming to their stands had grown year-on-year, paralleling what the organisers themselves have been saying. Beyond this, half of the member companies surveyed pointed out that the quality of attendees had improved - a welcome trend. Reflecting on the bottom-line business benefits, three-quarters said that they expect to obtain more orders thanks to Intersec and, looking ahead to 2016, all of the companies who replied confirmed that they were planning to attend next year's event. So what were visitors to Intersec 2015 most interested in? Well, security integration seems have been the hot topic, with all respondents to the BSIA's Export Council's post-show survey selecting it as one of the standout technology areas. This mirrors the findings of the BSIA's security and business trends research and underlines the increasing recognition amongst BSIA members’ customers of the enhanced security, and day-to-day management, benefits that can be unlocked when a number of elements from access control to video surveillance can be brought together in a seamless IP environment rather than remaining in their own discrete, and unconnected, silos. "From our members’ survey it is clear that not only was the number of on-stand visits on an upward trajectory but, crucially, there was a corresponding uplift in the level and quality of enquiries" Other technologies on the shopping list for Intersec 2015, according to the BSIA survey, included: HD (High Definition) CCTV and ultra HD in the form of 4K which continues to prove a popular choice thanks, undoubtedly, to the ability to provide additional detail in security critical applications such as banks and hotel lobbies and changing legislative requirements across the region. Beyond this video content analysis, biometrics for access control and ANPR were also in the frame. Commenting on Intersec 2015, Tom Sharrard, Vice Chair of the Export Council at the BSIA, is delighted with how the exhibition turned out for member companies: “Intersec 2015 certainly surpassed our expectations. From our members’ survey it is clear that not only was the number of on-stand visits on an upward trajectory but, crucially, there was a corresponding uplift in the level and quality of enquiries. It will, of course, be interesting to see how this translates into physical orders in the months ahead. There is little doubt that Intersec remains a strong platform for our members targeting the region, an area which appreciates the benefits of working with British businesses which offer best practice solutions that comply with the latest industry standards." Member companies were asked for their thoughts regarding Intersec 2015: Chris Williams, Director at VMS (Video Management Software) specialist Wavestore (www.wavestore.com) feels that the design of the UK Pavilion was particularly strong this year and was happy with the level of visitors: “The many visitors who attended on all three days delivered one of the best shows for some time.” A key focus for Wavestore was the energy saving capabilities of its V6 VMS which automates the spin down of hard drives not engaged in active read and write processes. Paul King, Commercial Director at Elmdene (www.elmdene.co.uk) reports that switch mode power supplies delivering efficiency levels of up to 90% were a big draw at Intersec, with leads up by 20%: “There was a lot of attention being given to our EN54 STX power supplies, high specification CCTV power supplies and PoE solutions,” says King. Natalie Simpson, Marketing Manager, Synectics (www.synecticsuk.com) says that the company's team at Intersec saw significant interest in integrated solutions and the EX camera station range, including thermal imaging. Reflecting on the bottom-line business benefits, three-quarters said that they expect to obtain more orders thanks to Intersec Another company whose solutions fitted-in with the market push for integration was TDSi (www.tdsi.co.uk), thanks to its powerful Exgarde access control software and VUgardeCCTV video management software. By the second day of the show, Managing Director John Davies was already pointing to an upward trend in attendees, a fact reflected in the company's final figures which rose by a fifth. Helen Williams, Marketing Executive at Remsdaq (www.remsdaq.com) says that the company secured record visitor numbers from across the Middle East and Africa: “We anticipate significant new business based on our multi-award winning EntroWatch and EntroStar access control products and the brand new EntroPad proximity reader with its unique Arabic keypad.” Tony Smith, Major Accounts and Marketing Manager at Integrated Design Ltd (IDL), renowned for its Fastlane turnstile solutions (www.fastlaneturnstiles.com), is also upbeat after a steady increase in visitors over the past few years. He reckons that the show is a good way to move existing business forward: “People from projects in the Gulf were able to come to see us for technical training and to look at the products they had purchased.” A member company using Intersec to show the shape of things to come was IndigoVision (www.indigovision.com) in the form of its FrontLine body worn video. Paul Murphy the company's Head of Marketing feels there is tremendous potential for the technology: “It has come to the point where it is durable and lightweight enough, and can record for long enough, for deployment by front line staff.” Users could range from staff at airports to those who are public-facing in hotels."

BSIA appoints Elmdene Managing Director Ian Moore as Chairman of the Association’s dedicated Export Council
BSIA appoints Elmdene Managing Director Ian Moore as Chairman of the Association’s dedicated Export Council

A long-term contributor to the BSIA’s Export Council, Ian’s expertise continues to help new exporters gain a foothold in overseas markets Following the British Security Industry Association’s AGM, Elmdene Ltd’s Managing Director, Ian Moore, has been appointed Chairman of the Association’s dedicated Export Council. With an export career spanning 20 years, Ian has made a positive contribution to the international growth of a number of businesses cross-nationally; working in the UK, Taiwan, Dubai and Libya. As Managing Director at Elmdene, a large-scale manufacturer of electronic products, Ian has in-depth experience exporting worldwide. Most notably to Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Nordics, South Africa and the Middle East. Ian has also honed his thought leadership skills throughout his professional development; from teaching at the Royal Navy Engineering University near the start of his career to later lecturing at the National Police College in Taiwan. In 2003, Ian established Detector Technologies and oversaw the company’s growth from a start-up to an international business with offices in the UK, Australia, Dubai and South Africa in just six years. A long-term contributor to the BSIA’s Export Council, Ian’s expertise continues to help new exporters gain a foothold in overseas markets. In recognition of his ongoing involvement in the Council, Ian was also recently awarded the Chairman’s Award for Contribution to Exporting at the BSIA’s Annual Lunch. Ian is looking forward to his new role and is ambitious about the future of the Export Council. When asked what his main focus as Chairman over the next twelve months will be, he replied: “I am very keen to educate members through the Council of the opportunities and risks of exporting. There is a natural assumption that exporting should be the first strategy to growing business – this is not necessarily true. Only when the home market is near to saturation (unless there is an unquestioning opportunity) and they have the products and market acceptance, should they go down this route. “Many British companies have products that will only sell into regions that are discerning about quality, innovation, compliance etc. With the extra price tag that this normally brings (including the amortisation of self and third party approving) – they will not normally be competitive when it is purely about price. In addition I want to emphasise the value the Export Council can give to its members and prospective members.” The BSIA’s Export Council, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, is a forum which allows relationships between the UK's security industry and overseas buyers to be founded and cultivated, and acts as an invaluable port of call for overseas-based contacts interested in developing a relationship with a UK company as a partner, customer or distributor.

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