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.

Latest Paxton Access Limited news

Paxton unveils Paxton10 access control system that combines access events and video footage in one single system
Paxton unveils Paxton10 access control system that combines access events and video footage in one single system

Paxton Access Ltd. (Paxton Inc.) is excited to introduce Paxton10, the company’s most powerful system yet. The system combines access control, video, free Bluetooth smart credentials (with zero licence fees), feature-rich software and for the first time, Paxton10 cameras, all in one system. Paxton10 access control system Paxton’s Vice President Sales, Jonathan Lach, said “Using the latest technology to combine access events and video footage in one place, Paxton10 will simplify site management and security and offer customers something they’ve never seen before.” People really understand the need for a unified platform in the mid-market" Jonathan adds, “We believe it’s a game-changing system. From the feedback we have received so far, our installers are very excited about the direction we are going with Paxton10, particularly with the new technology. People really understand the need for a unified platform in the mid-market.” Easy installation and powerful system The innovative new product is available from Paxton’s approved distribution partners so customers can now start benefitting from their easy-to-install and most powerful system. Features of Paxton10 include: Access and video fully integrated on one, licence free platform. Free Paxton10 smart credentials (zero licence fees) – Bluetooth wireless technology allows smartphones, tablets, or smart watches to be used in place of traditional keys or electronic tokens. Remote management – It provides installers with the option to offer a full security management service to their clients. The software can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection. Multi-site management functionality allows a single system to span buildings in different cities, states or countries. Paxton10 cameras – A first for Paxton, embedded with software engineered specifically for Paxton10. Modular, single door system – Ease of install and flexibility, with distributed intelligence to increase reliability. Scalable from 1 to 1000 doors and up to 1000 Fully compatible with Paxton products, PaxLock wireless door handles and video door entry system. Migration path from Paxton’s flagship Net2 access control system. Supported by wide range of installer tutorial videos and software wizards. Integrates with fire and intruder alarms to simplify building management. Paxton10 Installer Training Paxton is inviting installers to sign up for virtual Paxton10 Installer Training, to help them get familiar with the new system and offer their customers something new. The in-depth course will cover everything needed to install, configure, and maintain a Paxton10 system. Installers can register for Paxton10 training on the Paxton website.

Paxton releases a new system by combining access control and video management in a single platform
Paxton releases a new system by combining access control and video management in a single platform

Paxton10, Paxton’s most powerful system yet, will launch on February 1. Paxton10 combines next generation access control and video management on a single platform with FREE Bluetooth® smart credentials (Zero licence fees), remote management functionality, licence free software and, for the first time - Paxton10 cameras. Delivering powerful features The launch follows a period of in-depth research, development and engagement with installers. Jonathan Lach, Paxton’s Vice President Sales, said: “Paxton10 was designed with ultimate simplicity in mind, utilising the latest technology to deliver powerful features, including the first ever cameras from Paxton.” “Anyone who has worked with Paxton knows we take feedback very seriously. It plays such an important part in product development and has helped shape Paxton10, our most powerful, most complete system to date.” Paxton released its first version of Paxton10 in the U.K. in September 2015, when it was installed across a variety of different sites with different needs. Video intercom solution We’ve incorporated their feedback and I can say that what we’ve achieved exceeds the original vision of Paxton10" Lach continued: “Since then we’ve been working closely with installers. We’ve incorporated their feedback and I can say that what we’ve achieved exceeds the original vision of Paxton10, and a lot more. We’ll be offering our U.S. customers something they’ve never seen before.” Other changes made as a result of customer feedback include compatibility with Paxton’s key systems – PaxLock Pro, wireless door handles, and Entry, video intercom solution. Some other exciting features include: Free Bluetooth® Smart Credentials (Zero licence fees) Use of a smartphone or smartwatch as an access token Feature-rich video management software Paxton10 cameras, making system set-up simple Third-party IP cameras also supported Free iOS and Android apps to support remote site management and site access Single point of management Lach said: “Our installers have told us they’re very excited about the direction we are going with Paxton10, particularly with the new technology. And people really understand the need for a unified platform in the mid-market.” This need is based on statistics that show access control and video make up two-thirds of the security market – but only one in 10 sites integrate the two systems. They want a single point of management, rather than disparate systems" Jonathan Lach went on to say: “People are becoming more demanding of their technology. They want a single point of management, rather than disparate systems, and they want to view and manage things on a hand-held device. New technology allows us to achieve these things but, as a manufacturer, we have a responsibility to make our technology as accessible and as simple as possible. We’re incredibly excited about the launch of Paxton10 in the U.S. and can’t wait to show customers what we’ve been working on.” Remote site management Be one of the first to see this new, dynamic system; join them for a free 45-minute webinar. Paxton will be showcasing Paxton10 during a series of webinars beginning January 18. Learn about: Simple, license free access and video Remote site management FREE Bluetooth® Smart Credentials (Zero licence fees) Plus! One will have an opportunity to win a limited edition Paxton10 backpack. Register now and get a chance to win a special Paxton10 backpack, full of exclusive items that one can use in their day-to-day, worth over $100.

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 recognise 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.

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