Electromechanical Lock Overview

Probably one of the most important features of an electromechanical lock is the capability of controlling access offering a choice of authorization credentials.


The development of the standalone, battery operated electromechanical lock evolved over many years and through interim products. The 1950s saw the first mechanical locks starting to be modified in order to remotely control access. Previously, a person had to insert an operating key into the lock in order to gain entry or someone inside the building had to physically open the door. During this time cylindrical and mortise locks were being equipped with solenoids to provide remote unlocking operation. A person could press a momentary button to power the solenoid and a locked door somewhere else would electrically unlock, permitting the knob or handle to retract the latch bolt. Solenoids require a significant amount of power to operate, requiring these locks to be wired.
The first applications for electrified locks were government facilities. The knowledge of these electrified lock began being disseminated and within a number of years, remote unlocking locks were being hand-crafted by progressive locksmiths. This continued into the 1980s, when lock manufacturers begin offering electrified locks as a standard order item. Today, electrified locks are available as Fail Secure and Fail Safe modes with additional features including REX and monitoring capabilities.
The first battery operated, self-contained, keypad programmable, electromechanical lock was introduced during the late 1980s offering access control for 250 users, clock (time schedules and holidays) and a hierarchy of users. Since then, electromechanical (EM)  locks continue to develop incorporating new features and capabilities.
EM locks are equipped with computerized electronics whose features are above and beyond the capabilities of an electrified mechanical lock. These access control locks are available wired and wireless. The EM lock features vary depending upon the manufacturer and/or the model.

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