Trends in Electronic Locks

The electromechanical lock is not new. I installed battery operated motorized deadbolts and electronic locks way back in the 1980s. I remember a “key free” electromechanical knob and deadbolt lockset that was pretty amazing. To enter the...


The electromechanical lock is not new. I installed battery operated motorized deadbolts and electronic locks way back in the 1980s. I remember a “key free” electromechanical knob and deadbolt lockset that was pretty amazing. To enter the combination, the knob was rotated to the left and/or right. An LED would display the numbers as the code was being entered. When the correct combination was entered, both locks would unlock. I think the lock could be programmed to one of ten thousand possible combinations. There was key override for both locks. Power for the locks was 4 AA and one nine volt battery.

Since then significant improvements have occurred. Once lock manufacturers were able to practically motorize a mechanical lock mechanism, electromechanical locks became a viable product. Unlike the solenoid that is used to lock and unlock most electrified mechanical lock hardware, the motorized electromechanical lock hardware draws significantly less power. This allows electromechanical lock manufacturers to power their locks with batteries that can last for many thousands of operations. For example, the six AA batteries in the Securitron SABL® have been tested for over 100,000 cycles.

Most electromechanical locks are based on mechanical cylindrical locks, mortise locks and exit device platforms that have been tested according to ANSI/BHMA standards. For example, ANSI Grade 1 cylindrical locks are designed for commercial applications having met cycle requirements of 800,000. Grade 2 cylindrical locks are designed for light commercial, etc. applications having met cycle requirements of 400,000.

The electromechanical lock based on a Grade 1 lockset is designed to provide the highest possible operational levels. When choosing an electromechanical lock, make sure it is the correct operational grade for the application. For more information, contact ANSI or BHMA.

Schlage AD-Series electro-mechanical locks are designed to meet or exceed ANSI/BHMA 156.25 Grade 1 specifications. They are built using a plug-in modular electronic platform. The AD locks have changeable modules. A lock’s modules can be removed and different modules installed, reconfiguring the lock in order to migrate to new or different credential technology or functionality without having to replace the entire lock.

Omnilock, a product division of Stanley Works, offers the Quick Adapter Schlage (QASOM) and the Quick Adapter Exit Device Adapter (QAXOM). The QASOM system converts existing Schlage D-Series Grade one cylindrical locksets and AL-Series locks to an Omnilock compatible electromechanical lock. The QASOM can also convert a double cylinder leverset, such as the Schlage D-82PD using two Quick Adapters to become a code-in code-out lock. The QAXOM adapter is designed for Grade 1 Corbin Russwin, Precision, Von Duprin, Sargent, Yale, Arrow and Detex exit devices.

Although most electromechanical locks have a key override, their operational intent is to control access using some type of reader. There are keypad, mag-stripe, proximity, Smart Card and biometric readers built into the standalone electromechanical locks. With keypad readers, there is single user code entry and for higher security requirements, the Marks USA iQwik LITE has the option of double code entry. The lock can be set to require two User Codes to be entered before access is granted.

To make entering the User Code easier, the Arrow Lock Revolution and the Samsung EZON Digital Keypad Deadbolts are examples of touchscreen electromechanical locks.

Some electromechanical locks have more than one reader. For example, some of the Sargent Profile Series electromechanical locks are available with keypad and proximity readers. A Profile series lock equipped with keypad and proximity can be programmed to require both a keypad entered user code and a proximity card in order to gain access. This is known as dual credentials.

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